Before air conditioning, anyone with means fled the hot cities for cooler mountain or beach resorts. Those began as white-only preserves, but, just as the Catskills became the destination for Jewish families, Idlewild in northeastern Michigan welcomed African-Americans. Idlewild was jokingly said to be the place for "idle men & wild women." During the summers, more than 25,000 people visited the area. Some built summer homes, including prominent figures like Madam CJ Walker and WEB DuBois.
The daughter of Madam C.J. Walker, A'lelia Walker was the "it" girl of the Harlem Renaissance. The arts patron, who lived in a villa on the Hudson River, loved expensive cars and jewelry. Her legendary salons included the sparkling literati of the thriving 1920s black arts movement, including many gays and lesbians, as well as wealthy whites who trekked uptown.