Ashley Motor Court

Front view of the Ashley Motor Court.

Front view of the Ashley Motor Court, from a postcard advertising the business's lodgings and amenities.

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Two photographs of the interior of the Ashley Motor Court. The top image shows the lobby and the bottom image shows a room with two beds.

Interior photographs of the Ashley Motor Court's lobby and lodgings.

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Map of roads surrounding the Ashley Motor Court and how to reach the business.

Map of the roads surrounding the Ashley Motor Court, with the location of the business identified. From the back of a AAA membership advertisement for the site.

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Known Name(s)

Ashley Motor Court (Primary)
Ashley Motel (Secondary)


U. S. Rt. 59, Nanuet Rockland, NY (Primary) (1963, 1964, 1966)
(Spring Valley Exit 14 Spring Valley, NY) (Secondary)

Establishment Type(s)

Motel, Motor Court

Physical Status



This single-story building was a commercial structure in a commercial district, set back from a major road. The building consisted of a central two-story structure, with two long single-story wings extending to create an obtuse angle, when seen from above. The first floor was set low to the ground to allow cars to drive up to the door of each individual room. Each wing had seven doors and windows, with each pair presumably leading to a separate room. The flat roof of each wing overhung to create a covered porch, supported by vertical posts. The central two-story structure had four second-story windows, with an awning over each pair. The central structure had a gable roof, with a large sign that read “MOTEL” rising above the edges of the gable.

Detailed History

The Ashley Motor Court was initially advertised to AAA members as having 30 (later 32) luxurious rooms, wall to wall carpeting, ceramic baths, free television, a coffee shop, and individually controlled air conditioning and heating. African Americans were not allowed to join AAA during the Jim Crow era, so the Ashley Motor Court presumably served a white clientele in its early years. The Negro Motorist Green Book was created to give a similar travel guide for African Americans as the ones provided by AAA, which advertised the Ashley Motor Court. In 1958, the Ashley Motor Court was well known in the area and was purchased by Mr. And Mrs. James Kurima, New York City restaurateurs. The Motor Court was located close to Birchwood, the Black section of Spring Valley and a frequent stop for famous Black performers on the Chitlin’ Circuit. It is likely that this Black tourism to the area inspired the change away from its previous status as a white-only establishment. By 1963, the Ashley Motor Court was included in the Green Book, and the Kurimas owned the property throughout the period during with the motel was listed in the Green Book.

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