The Evolution of Parking Garages throughout History

While parking garages have been around for many years, they didn’t always look the way they do now. In fact, parking garages have gone through a considerable evolution. The parking garages of today often have cutting-edge automated technology, which is a far cry from the simplified parking garages that first emerged in the early 1900s. Parking indoors was a bigger concern in those times because the cars were simplistic and lacked closed tops and weatherproofing. If you’re interested in learning about the evolution of parking garages throughout history, you’re in the right place. Here’s a brief look at how these multi-level parking lots evolved into what they are today.

The Earliest Parking Garages

The first-ever recorded parking garage came about in 1918. It was built for the Hotel La Salle in Chicago, even though the building itself was several blocks away. While the historic structure was able to survive the hotel’s demolition in 1976, it was put to rest in 2005. It was a multi-story parking garage—the first of its kind. While indoor parking certainly existed before, multi-story garages weren’t around. The earliest parking garages weren’t concerned with pleasing aesthetics or safety. Instead, they were solely focused on keeping vehicles out of the elements. They also featured parking attendees. Motorists wouldn’t drive to an individual parking spot as they do today. They would hand off their vehicle to the attendee, who would take care of the rest.

Parking Garages With Ramps

Around the 1950s, parking garages began to expand. They featured ramps that allowed motorists to park their cars themselves. The earlier models featured lifts and turntables to position cars. Each story had a ramp connecting it, making it possible to drive to an open spot on any level. Safety became more of a concern for these garages. That’s when they began to incorporate lighting, stairwells, and elevators.

Modern Parking Garages

In today’s age, parking garages are safe, convenient, and sometimes visually pleasing. Much more care goes into the look and feel of each parking garage. Some garages make use of innovative advancements in automation, such as robot valets or puzzle lift parking systems. These are similar to the old turntable style of parking garages, but they’re entirely automated.

That’s the basic breakdown of the evolution of parking garages throughout history. Few people realize that parking garages have gone through so many drastic changes. They began as a simple solution to keeping cars out of the rain, and they’re now modern marvels of technology.

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