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Rebirth of Idlewild

ALPENA, Mich. — Approximately 250 miles North of Detroit is a hidden gem called Idlewild.

Between the 1920’s and 40’s this resort served as a retreat for many affluent African Americans seeking solace outside of their segregated communities.  Idlewild’s nightspots hosted famous entertainers like Sammy Davis Jr., Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, and Aretha Franklin.

Museum Educator Douglas McCray said Idlewild still exists but after the walls of segregation began falling things changed.  He said it was no longer a sanctuary as many African Americans began exploring other options.

Blair Evans a spokesperson for Yates Township said they are working to nurture the old spirit of Idlewild.  Evans shared the progress they have made within the last several years and adds that they are working to renovate Morton’s hotel and Paradise Guest House.

He says there are big plans for Idlewild but it’s going to take some help from the younger generation to bring it to fruition.

Evans adds even though Idlewild was a sanctuary for African Americans,  it has always been a place welcoming to all.

For more information on this hidden gem, you can visit,