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The Poindexter Artist Residency

Built in 1950 by Catherine and Frank Poindexter the restored Residence and Motel will host artists once again.

My name is Lydia Marie Hicks and I am working with and for the community of Idlewild in a collective and long-standing effort to restore Idlewild. Idlewild is a historically black resort town that was founded in 1912. It was known as Black Eden and it is just that. Some people say that it was abandoned after Civil Rights were won but that is not true. Black Eden was never abandoned; it just needed to be hidden to protect itself. I was able to purchase my first home here in 2020. The property has a residential house, a cabana and a motel in the backyard. It sits on 3/4 of an acre close to Paradise lake and across the street from an amazing bog. I’m seeking funding to complete the restoration of my roof.

My house is the historic Poindexter Motel and Residence. I’ve gotten to talk with Randall Poindexter whose family built my entire block. Randall’s uncle was a local builder who not only built The Poindexter but all the other houses on my block and many around town. I want to do this house justice and make it shine again. Randall informed me that Little Richard, The Supremes and many of the dancers stayed in this humble little motel. Eventually, it will become the place to hang again, it will be off-grid with community gardens and guided foraging opportunities. I’ve gotten a surprising amount done on my own in the last year, but I don’t have the skills or funds to do the roof myself the way I’d like.

photo of Randall and his mom, Catherine, in front of the motel, from the 1960 Idlewild yearbook

I want to care for this house so that I can invite artists and scientists who want to experience Idlewild for themselves. Creatives who need rest, a place to create, and community.

A lot is written about Idlewild in its ‘hay day’ but I’ve been taken by Idlewild’s early history when people just wanted a safe place to be together. In this early film from 1919, you can see even back then Idlewild had a town poet.

If you are interested in following along or contributing, please follow these links and share:

Thank you so much for reading! - lydia

Please consider visiting Idlewild and sharing if you know of anyone interested in getting involved. I have also created an instagram page: @blackeden_idlewild

and a facebook page for the garden club: Lela Wilson's Idlewild Garden Club

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