Three Pontiac homes with historic significance in a neighborhood created by General Motors for its employees 100 years ago could be saved from the wrecking ball with a little push from the community.
The GM Modern Housing Project is one of 20 finalists from 18 states vying for a share of a $2 million fund in the Partners in Preservation campaign. Grants from the fund will be distributed to support various projects, based on a public vote. Five votes a day can be cast until October 26. The project receiving the most votes will get the largest grant. The other finalists will receive lesser amounts.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and other local backers encourage Pontiac, county and state residents to vote for the GM project at VoteYourMainStreet.org.
“General Motors has a rich history in Pontiac and Oakland County, supported by generations of workers from Pontiac and beyond,” Patterson said. “Preserving the character of our historic neighborhoods is vital to the health of our cities and the county and make them inviting places to live.”
Between 1919 and 1926, GM built 261 homes on 61 acres near Joslyn and Perry in Pontiac. The homes were built in an assembly line fashion for company employees and their families. The homes featured brick or stucco exteriors, slate roofs, oak floors and windows and plaster interiors.
An open house is set for October 21 from 2-5 p.m. in Oakland Park, 500 E. Montcalm in Pontiac. Attendees can experience the historic neighborhood while meeting the residents who are driving its resurgence and preservation, said John Bry, a principal planner and coordinator of Main Street Oakland County.
“The GMMH project is part of an incredible grassroots effort, neighborhood by neighborhood, happening throughout Pontiac,” Bry said. “These funds will help restore three more homes in the GM Modern Housing historic district and continue to provide the needed impetus for more improvements.”
Funding for Partners in Preservations comes from American Express. Supporting partners include the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Delta, National Geographic and the National Main Street Center.
Partners in Preservation was created by the National Trust and American Express to engage the public in preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. Since inception in 2006, the program has committed more than $22 million in support of more than 200 sites.
Many local volunteers, businesses and municipal leaders are participating in Pontiac’s revitalization projects, including the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, Main Street Oakland County, Main Street Pontiac, the GM Modern Housing Neighborhood Association, the Michigan Historical Preservation Network and the city of Pontiac.