The Society decided to purchase a tract of land three miles (5 km) square to be surveyed into a city plot. The group sent out to purchase the land was told to keep in mind a healthful climate, fertile soil, good water, ample timber, and a location near a navigable river and a railroad, if possible. Purchase of such a site was made in July 1857. The tract, containing 4,152 acres (16. 80 km2), was laid out in 392 town blocks with 7,328 building lots and 294 garden lots.