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About Pat’s 30 Acres

Sixty five years ago, After World War II, The returning veterans were hired by local Labor, Carpenter, Electrical, Construction and Plumber Unions. Most of them lived in the Belmar area. Some of them would stop by a local bar in Belmar called Pats Tavern.

The owner of the tavern was a man from Newark, NJ named Pat Joyce. The veterans became close friends with Pat Joyce. The men would bring their wives to the tavern for steak and lobster on Saturday nights. They wanted to play cards and have a club. The men would play in the rear of the tavern for a short time.

One of the men went to look around for a site where they could possibly build a building and play cards. They found that land on West Hurley Pond Road in Wall Township. A retired man from New York lived in the woods on the property. He lived in a small wooden house. He had food and supplies dropped off at the end of his driveway. His building was next to a natural spring, which he used for water, on the property. He made an agreement with the man who offered to buy the property. The agreement was that he would sell 4 acres of the property with life rights.

The man went back to Pats Tavern and told the other men of the property. They agreed and a short time later the man died. The property next to the newly purchased property went up for sale. The men told Pat Joyce owner of the Tavern of the property, who was in Florida at the time. Pat Joyce told the men to go to Belmar Savings Bank and get the money needed. The men did and purchased both lots, which equaled 29.6 Acres. The club became Pat Joyce Holding Company.

There was no road in so the few men cut down trees and made a roadway. The property had some open areas and they would use that area for an old fashion clam bake to raise money for taxes and other expenses. The original owners were mostly blue collar union members. They still wanted a place to play cards and spend time in the woods. They built the clubhouse all by themselves. Each did what they could and gave their own time.

They had a few clam bakes over the next few years. They played cards in the clubhouse and spent time to maintain the site. They built a covered area for their cooking and picnic area. Next few years some of the “Pats Guys” had friends that wanted to use the area for parties. They rented it out a few times and realized that it was generating more money used to pay taxes and to keep the clubhouse functioning smoothly.

The unions would then come to rent the picnic area out for work parties. The members would work the parties. They would do the prep work before the party and cook the food during the party.  They had many requests for new members. The original owners then decided to break it up and call them “Pat Joyce Association”, which was separate from the original owners. In order to be an Associate member, you had to be voted in. Prior to be voted in you had to prove that you really wanted to be a member by maintaining the site on your own. This meant cleaning, Cooking and keeping the property in working order.

This practice continues today 65 years later. All members do not get paid for working. Being a member at Pats 30 Acres is a commitment. Hard work and dedication from its members is what keeps Pats 30 Acres still operating.

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