CULTURAL

UNDER 10 MILES

LOCATION

Idlewild
Exact Location:
Lake County- Closest access from the trail is 7.5 miles via 76th St. and back streets. Easiest access is off US 10, three miles east of Baldwin.
 
Idlewild interpretive sign
Idlewild interpretive sign- the village was known as Black Eden (photo by jhy)
The village of Idlewild was founded in 1912. Black middle-class Americans were banned from all-white resorts, and until desegregation in 1964, this was the most popular black resort in the Midwest.

Night clubs, gaming facilities, the centrally located lake, and surrounding forests made it an ideal vacation spot. Many notable black musicians performed there including Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Della Reese, Aretha Franklin, and many more.

After desegregation, the village slid into decline, but community effort is bringing back the charming nature and cultural heritage. Most of the cottages are tiny, with many in disrepair, but each year a few more are being restored or torn down if they are beyond saving. There is an ongoing effort to save the Flamingo Club building.

In 2013 a two-mile loop walk around the lake was added. This is mostly on streets, but many interpretive signs allow people to learn about notable African-Americans who vacationed in Idlewild and identify their summer homes.

Idlewild Park
Idlewild Park has parking and lake access in a beautiful setting. (photo by jhy)
The Idlewild Jazz Festival is held each year in August. Jazz, blues and soul music are featured, along with movies and workshops.

The Historic Cultural Center includes a museum and rooms large enough to accomodate a convention.

Also see Lake County

Sources:
Historic Idlewild
Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce
personal experience


Main Index     MI Lower Peninsula Index


The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4600 miles long, spanning seven states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association


8/7/17
MILP-La7
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