Friday, June 4, 2010
Idlewild, the former "Black Eden"
Idlewild is a vacation and retirement community between Baldwin and Reed City in Lake County. It was one of only a few resorts in the country where African-Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property prior to 1964 when this discrimination became illegal. The headwaters of the Père Marquette River begin here and about half of the township is contained in the Manistee National Forest. Called the "Black Eden", from 1912 through the mid-60s, Idlewild was an active year-round community visited by well-known enertainers and professionals. At its peak it was the most popular resort in the Midwest when as many as 25,000 would come to Idlewild in summer to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, and roller skating. The Idlewild Music Festival runs July 8-10. We recommend visiting the Historical and Cultural Center.