City celebrates 150 years

This year, the city of Pontiac is celebrating 150 years of history. The Pontiac Sesquicentennial Planning Committee has met weekly since April of last year to arrange celebratory events for the sesquicentennial anniversary of the incorporation of the city of Pontiac.

Pontiac was first settled in 1818 and became the county seat (administrative center for the county) in 1820. It was not incorporated as a city, however, until March 15, 1861.

In commemoration of this incorporation, the planning committee is holding a yearlong celebration, beginning with the City of Pontiac’s 150th Birthday Kick-Off event at the Historic Crofoot in downtown Pontiac on March 15.

Tickets for the kick-off event are available for $10 to the general public, or for $150 for the VIP reception. To purchase tickets, visit

City councilman George Williams said this is an opportunity to celebrate everything that Pontiac has accomplished in the past 150 years.

“Pontiac was the center hub for auto manufacturing,” Williams said. “General Motors at one time had three working plants here. There were approximately 27,000 jobs at those three.”

Beyond the automobile industry, Williams said the city has always had a large service industry and is home to several prominent people, including professional basketball players and Olympic athletes.

“We have a number of things to celebrate and that’s why I feel it necessary for us to participate in the 150 year celebration,” Williams said.

Other events throughout the year in conjunction with the anniversary include a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 15 to welcome several new businesses to the downtown area, a carnival during Mother’s Day weekend, a vintage outdoor festival on June 18 and Hawk Fest in October.

The Michigan Agricultural State Fair, which was formerly the Michigan State Fair, is being held at the Pontiac Silverdome this year and Williams hopes that may also branch into downtown Pontiac as part of the anniversary celebration.

Williams and Dawnaree Demrose, president of the Pontiac Regional Chamber of Commerce, both hope that the sesquicentennial events bring to light the positive aspects of the city.

“Pontiac has been through a lot, and there are a lot of positive things happening in the city,” Demrose said. “You only hear the bad news, so this will be a chance for the good news to be highlighted. This community is full of passion, hard work and dedication.”

Williams agrees that this is an ideal way to call attention to the positives in Pontiac.