Our History

Read stories and details on the creation of the Seminole Hills subdivision; those who established farms here and how these tracts of land were developed into the Seminole Hills subdivision.

History of Seminole Hills
From the time the first settlers set foot in what would become the City of Pontiac to the sale of the Roberts Farm. Click here to read the story of how the land changed hands to become the Seminole Hills subdivision.

Seminole Hills Sign This is Seminole Hills! This sign was placed in front of the Etta Roberts farmhouse and buildings on Orchard Lake Road, which was between Voorheis and E. Iroquois. Click on the below image (color added) and you can still see the barns. This picture is taken Orchard Lake Road just before it gets to the Voorheis intersection.

 

Excerpts from Historical Survey

Click here to read from the 1987 Historical and Architectural Survey which helped establish Seminole Hills as a historic district.

Click on one of the below images to view advertisements for Seminole Hills in the 1920's.

seminole hills ads

click to enlargeFrom a population of 9,769 in 1900, Pontiac gained nearly five thousand new residents in 1910 (click chart on the right for poplulation trends). Large tracts of farmland were sold in the region, and by 1916 The Pontiac Daily Press regularly advertised the sale of farmland and auctions of livestock and equipment. Three years later, the Press announced a housing shortage in the city, and the lots of Seminole Hills were put on the market to satisfy this need.

An April 1920 Pontiac Daily Press advertisement stated:  "Expanding Cities Need Plenty of Homes For Their Citizens.  Pontiac Has Need of 3000 Homes This Year . . . This growing city has expanded beyond it's pre-war facilities for factories, stores, office buildings, homes and apartment houses."

 

Historic Aerial Photos - Early aerial views of Seminole Hills (click to enlarge). The winter-time picture on the left (sorry, larger image is not available) is taken from south of Telegraph Rd. looking north. The intersection of Orchard Lake Rd. and Telegraph is in the lower left-hand corner. The Eastern Michigan Insane Asylum (Clinton Valley) is on top. Very little has been done on Ottawa Dr. and the Robert's farmhouse is still standing. The second picture is taken a little later (more houses on Ottawa Dr.), looking east from Ottawa Dr. Unfortunately, it only shows the northeast section of Seminole Hills. The original Pontiac General Hospital can be seen on the lower left corner and you can follow Huron to the High School. What was to become Goldner Walsh Nursery is in the lower right-hand corner on Orchard Lake Rd. The large manufacturing facility further up on Orchard Lake Rd. is the Beaudette factory which built most of the bodies for the Ford Model T until it was sold to GM and became part of Fisher Body.
The last 1940 is actually multiple aerial photographs combined into one picture. Some of the highlights include: how few houses have been built on Ottawa, the Roberts' farm is still standing along with some of the outbuildings, how many trees in the right of way for each home.

Seminole Hills Aerial - click to enlargeSeminole Hills Aerial - click to enlarge

Click here to read a short biographical sketch of Judge Michael E. Crofoot, a historic figure in Pontiac's history and one of the first developers of the property that became Seminole Hills. This is taken from the "Personal Sketches" portion of "The History of Oakland County," published in the early 1910's.
 

Louis B. Ward in front of his home at 415 Iroquois Road circa 1930s.

HISTORIC FAMILY PHOTOS

Do you have any family photos that show Seminole Hills from 40, 50 60+ years ago? Share them here!

Below are some pictures from the 1940s of a house on Cherokee. (click on pictures to view slideshow)

Cherokee House 1940s

Below are some pictures of the Percy Newman home on West Iroquois taken in the 1920s. Claude was the Fire Chief for the City of Pontiac.

This house below on Oneida Street, located between Menomonee and Orchard Lake Road, was built by 1929. The first owner was George D. Travis and his wife, Minnie. George was the owner of Reo Sales and Service for cars and trucks located at 27 W. Pike Street. Before moving to his new house, George lived on Williams Street in 1922, with his first wife, Estella. By 1935, Arthur P. Sweet, resided in the house, when he was a chemistry teacher at Pontiac High School, after receiving his degrees at University of Michigan and Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti.

Harold B. Euler was the next owner, when he moved in the house by 1937 with his wife, Genevieve, and their family. As a banker, Harold had a downtown office in the old Community National Bank of Pontiac building at 30 N. Saginaw. In the late 1930s, Genevieve had her own small shop, Donna Lo Studio, in the Riker Building on Huron Street, where she sold toilettes and beauty products. After the war, Harold continued to work as a tax consultant and provided trust service in his office on Saginaw Street. In the early 50s, Harold became the secretary and treasurer for Pontiac Federal Savings & Loan Association at 16 E. Lawrence. But he later returned to private practice in an office on the fourth floor of the Community National Bank Building in 1953.

A year later, Harold, his wife, and their two kids, Richard and Diane moved to Ottawa Drive. By 1956, Doctor Robert Lyons moved into the house with his family. Eventually, he sold the property to the current owner in the early 1960s, when the family moved to Pontiac from Milwaukee. Since the head of the household accepted a job as a Park Planner with the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority in downtown Detroit.

howdy neighborHowdy Neighbor! was a 1957 publication sent out to new residents on behalf of the city of Pontiac. Click on the picture to look at the cover and one of the pages describing "Pontiac Today."

 

 

photo by Edward R. NobelTitled "Huddled whispers 'midst wintry solitude," this picture shows three Seminole Hills eighth graders on the way to Washington Jr. High School after an unexpected snow storm in November 1975. It was taken by Edward R. Nobel and published in the Oakland Press. Click picture to enlarge.

During the 1990's the Indian Hills Signal was published for residents of Indian Hills and Seminole Hills Subdivisions. Click here to read some samples of the newsletter.