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Seminole Hills is an officially designated historic district with the State of Michigan. Located in Pontiac Michigan, Seminole Hills is bordered by Huron Street, Voorheis Road and Orchard Lake Road.
The following has been excerpted from the Detroit News Metro Oakland County Edition, “Symbol of Past Grandeur has Starring Role in City’s Future,” by Eric Freedman, December 8, 1994.
“People don’t know what they have had here,” says Mary Parkes, who discovered the [Seminole Hills neighborhood] 12 years ago, moved in and started selling homes as a real estate agent.
“These houses were built mostly in the 1920s, and you couldn’t duplicate the craftsmanship today for a half a million dollars. . . . It’s still a secret to most people, but that’s because most people tend to overlook Pontiac.”. . . “It had the aura of history,” she says. “It had the sort of small-town-in-the-city feel that so many people say they want. It’s about as safe as any neighborhood can be, because half of the city and court officials in Pontiac live there and the criminals know it.
“It just needs the right kind of marketing. You just dress up these old homes a little bit, and they’re irresistible. You get a historic district designation like we did, and from there it’s up, up, up.
“I wasn’t looking to live in a historic neighborhood. But it reminded me so much of the area I’d grown up in St. Louis, and I knew what the economic history had been here.”
I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that historic preservation is the key element in the city’s turnaround, says Richard Hawn, of Pontiac’s Community Development.
“A lot of people say that Seminole Hills looks like Birmingham,” Hawn says. “Well, a few years ago, it was a stand-in for Birmingham in a movie that Alex Karras was shooting. I guess they didn’t want the bother down there.”
In real life, as in the movies, some stand-ins, eventually, get to be stars.
*The film alluded to in the article is Word of Honor (1981). Starring Karl Malden and produced by former Detroit Lion turned actor Alex Karras, Word of Honor marked the film debut of John Malkovich. A home featured in the film is on West Iroquois Street.