The Oakland History Center at Pine Grove is a 5 acre campus located north of downtown Pontiac on Cesar Chavez Avenue. We are just south of the former Wisner Elementary, now home to Lee Contracting. “Pine Grove” is the name given to the property by its most prominent owner, Moses Wisner.
The History Center is the home of the Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society, which has been in existence since 1874 and headquartered at Pine Grove, the former estate of Governor Moses Wisner, since 1945.
Today, Pine Grove consists of 4 1/2 acres of land, the Wisner mansion and several out-buildings, including a summer kitchen, outhouse, smokehouse and root cellar. In addition to the outbuildings, there is the Drayton Plains One Room School House and the Carriage House, which is home to the Research Library, office and the Pioneer Museum.
Group tours of six or more may be arranged by contacting us to schedule an appointment. See our Hours, Location and Tours page for more information. Visitors may also tour Pine Grove during special events, such as our Summer Social or Victorian Christmas celebrations and at smaller celebrations throughout the year.
When Moses Wisner arrived in Pontiac in 1844 to establish a law practice with his brother, he purchased 29 acres of land and built a house. Over the next 18 years expanded the property to over 190 acres and greatly improved the house into the impressive mansion we see today.
In 1965 the Drayton Plains school was donated by the Coats family to the society and relocated here. It was originally located near Monroe and Sashabaw Roads in Waterford. It originally occupied the land where the current Drayton Plains School sits today, and in 1920 was moved across Sashabaw to what is now the parking lot of the Coats funeral home. While on its original site, the building served as a school, and from around 1920 into the 1960s was a church. The society has returned the building to its original appearance.
The society maintains a collection of 19th and early 20th century objects, including exhibits on ice harvesting, farm life, and memorabilia. This collection is located on the ground floor of our carriage house. This is also the home of the Oakland County Genealogical Society’s collection of research materials and local family history.
Our research library, located in the Carriage House, consists of a large number of books, maps and other resources. The library is open to the public but has a closed-stacks policy – no browsing. We think its the best local history resource for Oakland County with a large archive room, collections of maps, early documents and manuscripts, yearbooks, and other research materials.
The Oakland History Center maintains partnerships, some official and some not-so-official, with local historical groups and organizations, including the new Pontiac Transportation Museum, Oakland University and Meadowbrook Hall, the Erebus Oddities Museum, and many local historical societies and museums.