Helping You to Find the Best Assisted Living Homes in Pontiac, MI
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Serving Pontiac, MI
Facts about Pontiac, MI
Pontiac is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, located near Metro Detroit. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 59,515. It is the county seat of Oakland County, and about 12 miles (19 km) north and slightly west of the Detroit city limits.
Founded in 1818, Pontiac is notably the first European-American organized settlement of a town within the interior of Michigan, with the exception of Dearborn, Michigan, which is in close proximity to Detroit. It was named after Pontiac, a war chief of the Ottawa people, who had occupied that area before the European settlers. The city achieved its widest reputation for its General Motors automobile manufacturing plants of the 20th century, which were the basis of its economy and contributed to the wealth of the region. These included Fisher Body, Pontiac East Assembly (a.k.a. Truck & Coach/Bus), which manufactured GMC products, and the Pontiac Motor Division. In the city's heyday, this was the primary automobile assembly plant where the famed Pontiac cars were produced, and was named after the city (the Pontiac name was discontinued by General Motors in 2010). The city of Pontiac also was home to Oakland Motor Car Company, which was acquired by General Motors in 1909.
The city built the Pontiac Silverdome, the stadium that hosted the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL) from 1975 until 2001, when the team returned to downtown Detroit. Super Bowl XVI was played at the Silverdome in 1982. The stadium was demolished in 2017.
Early European expeditions into the land north of Detroit described the area as having "extreme sterility and barrenness". Developments and exploration were soon to prove that report false.
The first European-American settlers arrived in what is now the city of Pontiac in 1818. Two years later the fledgling settlement was designated as the county seat for Oakland County. The Pontiac Company, consisting of 15 members and chaired by Solomon Sibley of Detroit, comprised the first landowners in Pontiac. Sibley, along with Stephen Mack and Shubael Conant, Pontiac Company members, also formed the partnership Mack, Conant & Sibley to develop a town. Solomon and his wife Sarah Sibley largely financed construction of the first buildings. While Solomon was the first chair of the Pontiac Company, for two years Sarah Sibley was the most active as the go-between with settlers at Pontiac. Solomon Sibley was constantly traveling as a Territorial Congressman and later a Territorial Supreme Court judge.
In the 1820s Elizabeth Denison, an unmarried, free black woman, worked for the Sibleys. They helped her buy land in Pontiac in 1825. Stephen Mack, agent for the Pontiac Company, signed the deed at the request of the Sibleys, conveying 48.5 acres to Elizabeth Denison. She is believed to be the first black woman to purchase land in the new territory of Michigan.
In 1837 Pontiac became a village, the same year that Michigan gained statehood. The town had been named after the noted Ottawa Indian war chief who had his headquarters in the area decades before, during the resistance to European-American encroachment. Founded on the Clinton River, Pontiac was Michigan's first inland settlement. Rivers were critical to settlements as transportation ways, in addition to providing water and, later, power.
The village was incorporated by the legislature as a city in 1861. From the beginning, Pontiac's central location served it well. It attracted professional people, including doctors and lawyers, and soon became a center of industry. Woolen and grist mills made use of the Clinton River as a power source.
Abundant natural resources led to the establishment of several carriage manufacturing companies, all of which were thriving at the turn of the 20th century. At that time, the first self-propelled vehicles were introduced. Pontiac quickly became a capital of the new automotive industry. Throughout the 1920s and 30's, Pontiac had tremendous growth in its population and size as tens of thousands of prospective autoworkers moved here from the South to work in its GM auto assembly plants at Pontiac Assembly. African Americans came in the Great Migration, seeking work, education, and the chance to vote and escape the oppression of Jim Crow in the South.