Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce
Accommodation Listing For Idlewild
Idlewild, located in rural northwestern Michigan, holds
a special place in the nation's segregated history. For
many years, this "Black Eden" was one of only a few
resorts in the country where African-Americans could
vacation and purchase property. From 1912 through the
mid-1960s, Idlewild was an active year-round community
and was visited by well-known entertainers and
professionals from throughout the country. At its peak
it was the most popular resort in the Midwest and as
many as 25,000 would come to Idlewild in the height of
the summer season to enjoy camping, swimming, boating,
fishing, hunting, horseback riding, roller skating and
night-time entertainment. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act
opened up other resorts to African-Americans, Idlewild's
boomtown period subsided but the community continues to
be an important place for vacationers and retirees.
Idlewild also holds special meaning as a place for
younger generations of African-Americans seeking to
learn about their heritage.
The Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce was founded in the summer of 2000 by businessman John O. Meeks for the purpose of promoting existing local businesses and for attracting newer ones to the Lake County, Michigan area.