Stiles Tourist Home

Known Name(s)

Stiles Tourist Home


821 Corgie St. Cape May, NJ

Establishment Type(s)

Tourist Home

Physical Status


Detailed History

Stiles was a tourist home at 821 Corgie Street listed from 1952 to 1964. The two-and-a-half story frame house survives but has been rehabilitated and expanded in recent years. It is a summer home for a Woodstown, NJ family. Corgie Street has been referred to as a “sandwich community” by the African American historical program in Cape May. The street is isolated from the main area of African American habitation in the city, “sandwiched” between historically White blocks. In 1900, seven Black and four White families resided on the 800 block of Corgie Street, while the 700 and 900 blocks were totally White. From 1910 to 1940, Corgie Street was totally African American, while the other blocks remained solidly White. Leon and Eva Stiles resided at 823 Corgie Street in 1940 with their five children, all born in Maryland. They had been living there for at least five years. The tourist home was not their only source of income: Leon was a laborer for a WPA jetty building project and also worked as a gardener. Eva took in laundry. Their oldest child, a daughter Tracy was a 27-year old chambermaid, though she possessed four years of college. Next door at #821 lived a widow named Jane Pinkett who had her own dressmaking business. One family, named Bose or Boze, has lived on this street over three generations, newly arrived from Maryland in 1900 and living at #821. The Green Book listed three tourist homes on this street. Mrs. S. Giles’ place at 806 Corgie is gone, but besides Stiles’ at #821, the De Griff Hotel at #830 also survives. Its predecessor may be Bryan Villa, a boarding house run by Noah and Gussie Bryan in 1910 and 1920 at this address. The De Griff was the longest-running of all, from 1938 to 1964. It is now a private home, much remodeled. In 1980, the street was still a predominantly African American neighborhood. The enormous growth of real estate values in Cape May since then has resulted in some families selling out, but a few families remain in this enclave of African American enterprises. (Sources: Federal Census, Cape May, 1900-1940; Insurance Maps of Cape May, New Jersey (New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1890, 1909); personal communication with Jeffrey Hebron, Center for Community Arts tour guide; personal communication with Trudi Hathaway, owner of 821 Corgie Street.)

Related Issues