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Idlewild's Rich Heritage


Imagine the plaintive wail of an alto saxophone.  The soulful warble of a soaring soprano voice.  The throaty growl of big band brass.

Those are the sounds that once filled the air in Idlewild, an idyllic, verdant western Michigan community located 69 miles northeast of Grand Rapids.

For four decades after its establishment in 1912, Idlewild was a rural retreat for African Americans seeking a bit of rest and relaxation outside the confines of their segregated communities.  They enjoyed Idlewild’s natural beauty and year-round sporting activities, as well as some of the best musical entertainment west of New York City.  Famous entertainers like Sammy Davis Jr., Sarah Vaughn, Della Reese, the Four Tops and others were regulars at Idlewild’s once-thriving nightspots.

This cultural gem is now poised to become an economic treasure for visionary business persons and entrepreneurs. Idlewild is just one of the communities that make up Lake County, federally designated as an Enterprise Community. Through this designation, federal funds will be used to improve the local infrastructure, create business opportunities and promote tourism.  The business opportunities are practically limitless, making historic Idlewild and its environment the ideal site for your new company headquarters, branch office, retail store, franchise, plant or warehouse facility.