The Shady Rest was the first African-American-owned golf and country club in the United States. It was also the home course to the first American-born professional golfer ever to play the U.S. Open, John Matthew Shippen (1879–1968).
In the mid-1700s, the Ephraim Tucker Farmhouse was built on a thirty-one-acre plot of rural landscape just outside of Westfield. In the early 1800s, John Locey purchased this property. It later become the George B. Osborn Tavern. In the late 1800s, the property was sold to the Westfield Golf Club and converted to a 9-hole golf course, with the main farmhouse serving as the clubhouse.
During this time, a close-knit community of African Americans lived on both sides of the golf course. These residents created a path across the golf course to visit friends and relatives living in the area. During this time of segregation, African Americans were not allowed membership at this white country club. In 1921, a group of prominent African-American investors known as the Progressive Reality Company, Inc., purchased the former Westfield Golf Club and created the Shady Rest Golf and Country Club. This club was established to provide recreation and entertainment for all ages. Activities included golf, tennis, horseback riding, skeet shooting, and a dining room, where club members hosted famous people such as W.E.B. DuBois, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Althea Gibson and others.
Operated by the Township of Scotch Plains, with tours provided by the Preserve Shady Rest Committee
For Hours & Tours by Appointment: 908-322-6700, Recreation Department, http://preserveshadyrest.org & firstname.lastname@example.org