Idlewild was founded in 1912 by white investors who thought a resort for black vacationers during the Jim Crow era could be a draw. They bought 2,700 acres around a few small lakes in Lake County, deep in the Lower Peninsula's northwestern woods just east of Lake Michigan, and promoted it as a black vacation resort. Idlewild is an unincorporated community in Yates Township.
The Casa Blanca Hotel was the biggest and the best hospitality venue within Idlewild. During the Jim Crow era not only vacationers but, musicians, singers, dancers, writers, political thinkers descended on Idlewild for a place to refresh, entertain, engage in sharing ideas. These included Aretha Franklin, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Della Reese, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jackie Wilson, Duke Ellington, W. E. B. Dubois, Charles Waddell Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, Dr. Charles Drew, and others. The Casa Blanc Hotel offered first class lodging and hospitality service to these notable guests.
By the 1960's when the Civil Rights Act passed, legal segregation had ended. Idlewild started to see a decline in summer residents. People started vacationing in new places they weren't able to before which resulted in the entertainers following. People moved, cottages became unmanned and the nightlife stopped.
In the last 5 years, Idlewild has seen a resurgence. Younger generations have been returning to Idlewild as place for camping, fishing and relaxation. Idlewild is starting to be filled with new businesses, music festivals and parties giving it a rebirth.
1st Neighbor is dedicated to the community of Idlewild and excited to be apart of the NEW BLACK EDEN. Outside of restoring the Casa Blanca, they have plans to work with the community on other projects that directly address the needs of the area.
You can contact 1st Neighbor at firstname.lastname@example.org