Idlewild resident to show off community with bus tours

IDLEWILD — One Idlewild resident has worked hard and is now stepping up to showcase the vibrant history of Idlewild after years of planning.

Her name is Micala Evans and she began planning this venture 10 years ago. Now, she finally has the resources and know-how to get her idea off the ground by starting a business called "Historical Idlewild Tours and Services." Her company's primary goal: bus tours of historic Idlewild.

"I'm from the area and I wanted to give back and educate people about the community they live in," said Evans.

A Baldwin Community Schools graduate, Evans attended Ferris State University and began giving tours of Idlewild while she was there. Since then, she has delved deep into Idlewild's history and served on the Idlewild Oral History Research Project in 2008.

She funded most of the project herself, but she did receive some money from the Letman Development Group, a local organization that helps fund start-up projects such as Evans'.

Evans is planning to host these bus tours primarily during special events in Lake County. The first of these events will be the Blessing of the Bikes with tours running May 15 to 17. Each bus will hold about 15 people, with tickets costing $15 each. The tours will start and end in the parking lot formerly belonging to Jerry's Market in Baldwin (located at 215 N. Michigan Ave.) adjacent to St. Ann's Church. The tours will take place between noon and 5 p.m. and will last about one hour.

The tour will showcase a number of famous sites that helped form Idlewild's proud history, including the homes of the first female self-made millionaire (Madame C.J. Walker), novelist Charles W. Chesnutt and the Idlewild Lot Owners Association.

She also will be running tours of the Idlewild area throughout the summer during the Juneteenth Festival on Monday, June 20, the Fourth of July, the Idlewild Music Festival on July 10 to 12 and Trout-A-Rama from July 15 to19.

Evans said she is glad to finally see her dream come to fruition and hopes it will inspire others to explore the rich history of Idlewild.

"Idlewild has always inspired me to get an education, and I want to be able to give back to my community," said Evans. "I said to myself, this year I need to make it or break it. It's been a slow growing process over the years, because I have been working my way through school and developing my business on the side. This is a labor of love for me."

To register an available tour time slot or inquire further, people can call (231) 709-5724 or stop by the Historic Idlewild Tours and Services booth during the Blessing of the Bikes.