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Idlewild in Lake County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Island / The Flamingo Club

 
 
The Island Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
1. The Island Marker
Inscription.  
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.

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.
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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 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.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: African Americans. In addition, it is included in the Michigan Historical Commission series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1916.
 
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. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1002 Martin Luther King Ave, Idlewild MI 49642, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Daniel Hale Williams / Williams House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Idlewild (approx. 0.6 miles away); Idlewild Lot Owners Association (approx.
The Flamingo Club Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cameron Zwart, June 12, 2011
2. The Flamingo Club Marker
0.6 miles away); Herman & Lela Wilson / Wilson House (approx. 0.7 miles away); Idlewild Times (approx. ¾ mile away); Lake County (approx. 3½ miles away); Brown Trout (approx. 4.2 miles away); Chase Veterans Memorial (approx. 7.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Idlewild.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Historic Idlewild. (Submitted on May 16, 2012.)
2. Idlewild. Lake County, Michigan (Submitted on May 16, 2012.) 
 
The Flamingo Club Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cameron Zwart, June 12, 2011
3. The Flamingo Club Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 16, 2012, by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan. This page has been viewed 1,804 times since then and 155 times this year. Last updated on September 29, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. Photos:   1. submitted on September 29, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan.   2, 3. submitted on May 16, 2012, by Cameron Zwart of Belding, Michigan. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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May. 27, 2024