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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Idlewild in Lake County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Island / The Flamingo Club

 
 
The Flamingo Club Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cameron Zwart, June 12, 2011
1. The Flamingo Club Marker
Inscription. (side one)

The Island

The Island, once accessible only by footbridges, was the center of life at Idlewild from the 1910s into the 1960s. Early advertisements for the resort described Island Park as having a beautiful bathing beach and a small "parlor" or clubhouse, on the east shore. Built in 1916, the parlor was the social hub. By 1923 the Idlewild Resort Company boasted in the Chicago Defender that the island had a dance pavilion, saddle horses, a new 62-room hotel, and a "cottage city" of 29 sleeping cottages. Locals called these "doghouses" due to their small size. During the 1930s and 1940s, entrepreneur Virgil Williams ran a hotel and nightclub here. Detroiter Phil Giles purchased them in the 1940s. For some 20 years Giles savvy marketing of Idlewild's nightlife drew audiences from the midwest and beyond.

(side two)

The Flamingo Club

Detroit hotelier Phil Giles opened the Flamingo Club in 1955. A 1956 Chicago Defender article reported it was classed with the top nighteries in the nation. As early as the 1920s, resorters had many options for evening activities, including card parties and dances. By the 1930s the Islands clubhouse had been renovated as the Idlewild Club Casino. During the next thirty years venues like the Paradise Club and El
The Flamingo Club Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cameron Zwart, June 12, 2011
2. The Flamingo Club Marker
Morocco featured top African American entertainers, including Sarah Vaughan, Jackie Wilson, and the Four Tops. Idlewild club scene in the 1960s, in part because the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provided equal access to employment and public places and expanded opportunities for black entertainers and audiences alike. The Flamingo closed by 1968.
 
Erected 2009 by Michigan Historical Commission-Michigan Historical Center. (Marker Number 2204.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. 43° 53.755′ N, 85° 46.919′ W. Marker is in Idlewild, Michigan, in Lake County. Marker is on Martin Luther King Avenue 0.1 miles west of Northrup Road, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1002 Martin Luther King Avenue, Idlewild MI 49642, United States of America.
 
Also see . . .
1. Idlewild Historic District. Center for Geographic Information (Submitted on May 16, 2012, by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan.) 

2. Idlewild. Lake County, Michigan (Submitted on May 16, 2012, by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan.) 

3. Idlewild. Yates Township (Submitted on May 16, 2012, by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan.) 

4. Historic Idlewild. Historic Idlewild (Submitted on May 16, 2012, by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan.) 
 
Categories. African Americans
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan. This page has been viewed 555 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photo of Side One. • Can you help?
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