600. Flamingo Club

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Idlewild, MI

The Flamingo Club

The Flamingo Club was built in 1949 by entrepreneur Phil Giles and originally called the “Phil Giles Flamingo Bar.” It would later take its place among several local entertainment venues in Idlewild including the Paradise Club, the Club El Morocco and the Idlewild Club House apparently stimulating the pleasure of “club-hopping” as fun-loving people made the circuit. He was an entertainment promoter focusing on local and regional performers with most of the entertainers coming from Grand Rapids and Detroit. His entertainment bill included the Flamingo Dancers, comedians, singers and shake dancers. Alberta Adams known as “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues” was a popular vocalist who performed here. Joe Louis was among the frequent notables who enjoyed the Flamingo Club. Giles sought to influence a cultural identity for the entertainment venues in Idlewild. At its peak Ebony magazine provided valuable coverage for his club and Idlewild. His club was located on Williams Island across from Lake Idlewild. Giles came from Detroit but was a community builder and Phil Giles Enterprise constructed a hotel and restaurants and a boat ride concession stand. He served in leadership roles as Yates Township supervisor and president of the Idlewild African-American Chamber of Commerce.