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

Idlewild Times

A History of Excitement

— Founded 1912 —

 
 
Idlewild Times Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
1. Idlewild Times Marker
Inscription.  Idlewild: A Black Eden

Legalized racial segregation and Jim Crow laws in the United States led to the growth of Idlewild. In 1912, Idlewild was one of the only places in the nation where blacks could own land and vacation. It quickly became a black resort town, known as the 'Black Eden' of Michigan, Many bought land sight-unseen in what was marketed as an "utopia". Many new land-owners capitalized on the growing tourism; all of the business in Idlewild were owned by blacks.

Idlewild's appeal was increased by its natural beauty and activities such as camping, swimming, boating, fishing. hunting, horseback riding, roller skating and night-time entertainment. Several black entertainers including Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis Jr., The Four Tops, Dinah Washington and Louis Armstrong vacationed and performed in Idlewild, drawing large crowds of both black and white fans that sat side by side in the same clubs.

Almost ironically, the 1964 Civil Rights Act that led to desegregation and integration caused this 'Black Eden' and other similar resort towns to decline. Today, Idlewild is a small town compared to its hayday,
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but residents and visitors of all races still remember the great entertainers they came to see in this busy resort town and the excitement of Idlewild.
 
Erected by Lake County Enterprise Community and FiveCAP, Inc.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1912.
 
Location. 43° 53.243′ N, 85° 46.373′ W. Marker is in Idlewild, Michigan, in Lake County. Marker is on Hickory Boulevard near South Broadway Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7025 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. Idlewild Lot Owners Association (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Island / The Flamingo Club (approx. ¾ mile away); Daniel Hale Williams / Williams House (approx. 0.8 miles away); Idlewild (approx. 0.9 miles away); Herman & Lela Wilson / Wilson House (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lake County (approx. 4 miles away); Brown Trout (approx. 4.2 miles away); Chase Veterans Memorial (approx. 6.8 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.
 
Idlewild Times Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
2. Idlewild Times Marker
Idlewild Times Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
3. Idlewild Times Marker
Inset photo (top right) caption: The Post Office & Gas Station
Idlewild Times Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
4. Idlewild Times Marker
Inset photos captions:
Second from top: Idlewild Clubhouse Dining Room Middle: Louis Armstrong & Friends Enjoying Lake Idlewild
Idlewild Times Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, September 28, 2021
5. Idlewild Times Marker
Marker located at the Idlewild Historic & Cultural Center
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 3, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. This page has been viewed 162 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 3, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 29, 2024