Idlewild prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2012

Idlewild will be celebrating their Centennial (100 years), in 2012. The Idlewild Resort Company was founded in 1912.

To think that in 1863 the President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, “That on the first day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, hence forward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”

When the Civil War was ended and slaves were set free, the problem of racial prejudice in the United States was not solved. When the slaves were freed, few thought of returning to Africa. In many cases America had been home for their families for 200 years. Yet African Americans still did not enjoy full citizenship during reconstruction. Instead they were now systematically excluded in the clearest form of prejudice, based on race, so called “Jim Crow Laws” and “Black Codes” passed after the Civil War greatly restricted the movement of former slaves. Amendments to the Constitution attempted to do away with race or skin color as a condition of voting. “Separate, but equal” facilities, then permitted by the Supreme Court, effectively segregated black people from white. What long night of injustice and terror lay ahead.

Without secession and Civil War, it is virtually inconceivable that slavery would have been abolished during the 1860s. To think that Idlewild was founded 49 years after slavery was abolished.

The Idlewild Resort Company consisted of the following: William E. Sanders, President; Albert Flagaus, Secretary; Wilbur M. Lemon and his wife, Mayme Lemon; A. E. Wright and his wife, Modolin M. Weight; Erasteous G. Branch and his wife, Flora Branch and Adelbert Branch and his wife, Isabella Branch. The IRC was formed in 1912 and purchased land in Yates Township, Lake County. When the Idlewild Resort Company began building the resort on a large lake with an island in the northern portion of the lake, other land developers tried to gain ownership of the island. The island belonged to the federal government and the government land office in Washington D.C. had no record of their ownership. E.G. Branch built a cabin and homesteaded the island for three years, thus gaining title to the island which was made the central focus of the Island Resort. The Island was connected to the mainland by footbridges.

During this period, the Idlewild Resort Company purchased the land, made surveys, had maps drawn and plats recorded. The first plat covering blocks one through 96 of the plat of Idlewild was recorded with the Lake County Register of Deeds on Dec. 7, 1915. Thus the birth of the community of Idlewild. All of the plats of Idlewild totaled 412 blocks of lots.

The name Idlewild (Idyllwild) can be traced to ancient Greece. It is first mentioned by the Poet Homer. In one of his lesser known writings, he described a very fashionable spa for the Minoan elite that was located on an island in the Agean Sea.

In his description, he spoke of clear, blue water, cool shore lines, golden space that gave way to quiet meditation, flora unmatched by any known to man in the ancient world. and voluptuous hillsides that allowed one to see a pathway to the Gods.

This writing dates back to 783 B.C. and surely must have come to mind when the founders of the Idlewild Resort Community first developed the Plat of Idlewild in Yates Township, Lake County because phraseology used in their early advertising complimented Homer’s description of Idyllwild.