Pontiac, industrial city (1990 pop. 71,166), seat of Oakland co., SE Mich., on the Clinton River; founded 1818 by promoters from Detroit, inc. as a city 1861. Industries developed early and expanded after the railroad came. Carriage making, important in the 1880s, gave way to the automobile industry and the manufacture of trucks, buses, and automotive parts. Pontiac still is an auto-manufacturing center, but on a much smaller scale since the decline of the U.S. auto industry in the 1970s and 80s. Chemicals, ferrous and nonferrous metals, wood products, and electrical equipment are also manufactured. The city was named for the Ottawa chief Pontiac, who is said to be buried nearby. The Silverdome sports and entertainment complex is there. Numerous state parks and several hundred lakes are in the area.
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