The first Black Country Club becomes a historical monument


(Original caption) One year old, with some 200 members and doing well, was the world’s only Negro Country Club, the ‘Shady Rest’, in Westfield, New Jersey, as seen in this photo. Originally the country club was the Westridge Country Club. There was a nine-hole golf course and a spacious clubhouse. Not only did it have all-black members, but it was a unique club. An influential citizen said recently (after it opened) of Westfield: “Went there on the 4th of July to see what kind of place they run. They had a large crowd, but it was orderly and well mannered. There was no booze and no gambling, and not much noise. How many country clubs can you report, “no booze and no gambling?” Incidentally, the first citizen is white and a real estate dealer, and suburban real estate dealers are not naturally inclined to welcome a co’

The National Park Service has added Shady Rest Golf and Country Club to a listing on the National Register of Historical placesaccording The very first black country club in the entire country will now be considered a historic event landmarkLike each historically Black construction site.

Scotch Plains is a predominantly white region (currently and historically) city in New Jersey, home to magnificent grand homes and posh golf clubs. In all my years living next to town, I would never have thought a black country club existed there.

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Shady Rest was originally a property called The Westfield Golf Club which was bought in 1921 by a group of blacks investors known as the Progressive Realty Company, Inc. The club was a recreational space for black people who were not permitted membership to other private clubs due to segregation. According Preserve shaded restthe club has become widely known and has hosted some of our greatest icons including WEB DuBois, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington.

You can play golf, ride horses, dine and listen to live music. Unfortunately, in 1938, the property was seized and turned over to the Township of Scotch Plains.

Read more about its preservation from Patch:

Located at 820 Jerusalem Road in Scotch Plains, Shady Rest is now considered a national landmark. It is listed among all buildings, sites, and neighborhoods nationwide worth preserving because of their importance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering, and culture.

“We couldn’t be happier,” Scotch Plains Mayor Josh Losardo said in a statement. “For several years, the volunteers of the Preserve Shady Rest Committee, chaired by Tom Donatelli, have worked tirelessly to obtain this important designation. The listing will further ensure that Shady Rest will remain an American landmark in perpetuity, enjoyed for generations, protected from development, and a living reminder of a dark time in this nation when African Americans faced segregation.

Much of the 1800s architecture had to be remodeled for a total of $1.1 million in rehabilitation, the report said. The historic features of the building have been restored, including the fireplaces, ballroom, walls and fireplace. Councilman Matt Adams said renovations will continue, but encourages people to come take a look and get a glimpse of history.

“As we continue to renovate and expand recreation facilities throughout the city, we hope that many residents who have yet to visit Shady Rest will take the opportunity to experience this local, and now nationally listed, treasure. “, said Adams via Patch.

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