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


Idlewild Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
1. Idlewild Marker
Inscription.  Prior to 1964, segregationist policies limited African Americans’ options for where to spend vacation time. In 1915 white developers, Adelbert and Erastus Branch of White Cloud and Wilbur Lemon and Alvin Wright of Chicago, established a summer resort for blacks here, which they named Idlewild. Stores in magazines like Ebony, and advertisements in national newspapers such as the Chicago Defender promoted Idlewild as “The only place where Colored people get all they pay for and pay only for what they get.” The resort drew African American members of the middle and professional classes, as well as black intellectuals such as Charles Chesnutt. Idlewild grew to encompass roughly four square miles. During the early 1960s, summer holidays drew more than 25,000 people to Idlewild.

Beginning in 1915, African Americans from throughout the country, particularly the Midwest, came to Idlewild in the summer. During the early years the resort offered beaches, boating, and other typical summer diversions. By the 1920s and into the 1960s, however, Idlewild’s rousing nightlife lured swarms of visitors to the community to see elaborate
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floorshows and some of America’s most popular black entertainers. The Arthur Braggs Idlewild Revue toured the country during the off-season, spreading the Idlewild name. The 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act - comprehensive legislation that prohibits segregation - opened doors for blacks to stay at previously whites-only resorts. Idlewild’s heyday ended, but it remained the largest African American resort in the nation.
Erected 2009 by Michigan Historical Commission - Michigan Historical Center. (Marker Number S0713.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansParks & Recreational Areas. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1964.
Location. 43° 54.052′ N, 85° 46.353′ W. Marker is in Idlewild, Michigan, in Lake County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 10 and South Broadway Street, on the right when traveling east on U.S. 10. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6001 S Broadway St, Idlewild MI 49642, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Island / The Flamingo Club (approx. 0.6 miles away); Daniel Hale Williams / Williams House (approx. 0.8 miles away); Idlewild Times (approx. 0.9 miles
Idlewild Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
2. Idlewild Marker
away); Idlewild Lot Owners Association (approx. one mile away); Herman & Lela Wilson / Wilson House (approx. 1.3 miles away); Lake County (approx. 3.9 miles away); Brown Trout (approx. 4.7 miles away); Chase Veterans Memorial (approx. 6.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Idlewild.
Idlewild Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
3. Idlewild Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 29, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. This page has been viewed 219 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 29, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photo of marker in context with its surroundings. • Can you help?

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Feb. 23, 2024