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African American resorts in Michigan recognized in national guide

Heritage Museum of Newaygo County

Two historic resorts in Michigan have been recognized in a national guidebook of African American cultural landmarks

The Idlewild Historic District near Baldwin in Lake County and Woodland Park in Newaygo County were highlighted in the guide from The Cultural Landscape Foundation, which focuses on 140 sites across the U.S. associated with African American culture.

” These are the only two Michigan sites that are currently listed so we’re thrilled to have that recognition for these communities.”

Julie Burrell is the Senior Director of the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership for the Right Place. She has been working with groups focused on growing the area’s economies, while preserving their unique histories and marking their significance in American culture. That includes buying and renovating significant properties and installing historic signage.

“So that way when you drove through Woodland Park, you know you’re there and you know why it’s so special.”

Idlewild founded in 1912 and Woodland Park in 1921 were resort communities that hosted a mix of black entertainers, intellectuals, religious and political leaders for rest and relaxation during the era of Jim Crow segregation.

“If any one of your listeners that have ties to Woodland Park or Idlewild that are interested in getting involved, I would welcome them to reach out to myself or Jodi Nichols and we’ll help connect them to the group.”

Newaygo County: Julie Burrell, burrellj@rightplace.org

Lake County: Jodi Nichols, nicholsj@rightplace.org

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