We received this geography question about the Clinton River in Pontiac through our 4YI form, where you can ask us some questions about Michigan and / or Metro Detroit, and we’ll do our best to answer you.
“Will the Clinton River flow under Pontiac?” – Elizabeth Lyons-Neil
Yes, the Clinton River flows through the suburbs of Pontiac, but not under the entire city of Pontiac. On a map, you can see the river runs down the suburbs near Orchard Lake Road and Bagley Street (Clinton River Trail). About a mile east of Union Street and East Huron Street, the river rises again from underground – take a look:
Take a look at the Clinton River on a U.S. Geological Survey map here, which shows the course of the river below the Pontiac suburb and the underground part of Pontiac Creek:
A map showing the Clinton River and Pontiac Creek in Pontiac, Michigan (USGS)
According to the Clinton River Watershed Council, the main boat on the main branch of the Clinton River is found in the countryside of North Oakland County, northwest of Pontiac.
“Wetlands and cold water tributaries arise from within the Freedom, Brandon, and Springfield townships and flow through many villages, including Clarkston, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Sylvan Lake, Lake Angels, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills to the east, “Rochester, Shelby Township, Utica, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township and Mount Clemens,” – CRWCR.
It’s great, but why is the city running under Pontiac? It wasn’t always like this:
“Much of Pontiac’s initial success was near the Clinton River. The mills along the Nees River produced wood, flour, and millennia. The abundance of local wood and handicrafts made Pontiac a national leader in driving. In the late nineteenth century, these car manufacturers began making cars, trucks and buses. “- Pontiac city
This image from the city’s archives is an 1872 map of Pontiac, a town on the Clinton River suburbs:
This image shows an 1872 map of the suburbs of Pontiac as the Clinton River flows over the suburbs of Pontiac. (http://www.pontiac.mi.us/)
This next map, from 193, shows the river flowing through the suburb of Pontiac:
1872 Map showing Pontiac, Michigan (city of Pontiac)
And this map is from 193737:
1937 map showing Pontiac, Michigan (city of Pontiac)
“In the larger pipes, the Clinton River runs south under the Woodward Loop, just north of Mill St., just east of Huron St., and returns to the other side of the Woodward Loop on the north side. After a short time through an open concrete channel, the Clinton River continues its natural run throughout Mount Clemens and Lake St. Clair. “- Pontiac city
But why? According to a 2013 Oakland Press report, according to Oakland County, “this edge of the river was covered with concrete in 1966363 in an effort to prevent flooding.” In the report that you will read, there was a discussion about the “daylight” of the river. It doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon.
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