The Scotch Plains, N.J. property was bought in 1921 by a group of Black investors known as the Progressive Realty Company, Inc. and became the first Black country club in the country. “The listing will further ensure that Shady Rest will remain an American landmark for perpetuity, says Scotch Plains Mayor Josh Losardo.
Shady Rest Golf Club in Scotch Plains, N.J. has secured a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, The Root reported. The very first Black country club in the country will now be considered a historical landmark with the National Park Service recognition.
Shady Rest, which sits in a predominantly white (currently and historically) city, was originally called The Westfield Golf Club and was bought in 1921 by a group of Black investors known as the Progressive Realty Company, Inc., The Root reported. The club was a recreational space for Black people who were not allowed membership to other private clubs due to segregation.
According to Preserve Shady Rest, the club became widely known and hosted some of the biggest icons including W.E.B DuBois, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington, The Root reported. Guests could play golf, ride horses, dine and listen to live music. In 1938 the property went into foreclosure and was given over to Scotch Plains Township.
Shady Rest is now listed among all the buildings, sites and districts across the nation worthy of preservation because of their significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture, The Root reported.
“We could not be more pleased,” said Scotch Plains Mayor Josh Losardo in a statement. “For a number of years, the volunteers of the Preserve Shady Rest Committee, chaired by Tom Donatelli, have been steadily working toward achieving this important designation. The listing will further ensure that Shady Rest will remain an American landmark for perpetuity, enjoyed for generations, protected from development and a living reminder of a dark era in this nation, when African Americans faced segregation.”
Much of the 1800s architecture had to be shaped up totaling to $1.1 million in rehabilitation, The Root reported. The historic features of the building were restored including the chimneys, ballroom, walls and fireplace. Councilman Matt Adams said renovations will continue but encourages people to come take a look and get a glimpse of the history.
“As we continue to renovate and expand recreational facilities town-wide, we hope many residents who have not yet visited Shady Rest take the opportunity to experience this local, and now nationally-listed, treasure,” said Adams.