These days, whether you’re buying or renting a home, you’re probably expecting it to have a garage. The good news is, the odds are in your favor. Over 75% of detached homes have some sort of covered shelter for vehicles.
Though the sizes vary, and the it may or may not be attached to the house, a garage is a staple of the American home. But it wasn’t always. After all, cars have only been a part of every-day life for about 100 years.
So how did we get from garage-less homes to what we have today? Let’s take a look.
The Origin of Modern Garages
When cars first started arriving on the scene in the late 1800s and early 1900s, they were considered a luxury item. They were expensive and limited in capabilities. The country’s road systems were fairly undeveloped too.
Still, for those who could afford a car, they needed a place to keep them. After all, these early cars were far less protected from the elements. Some homeowners started repurposing their carriage houses, if they had one.
Others converted portions of larger carriage houses and barns to spaces that car owners could rent. These were essentially the first parking garages. The problem was, many of these carriage houses still contained live animals.
Also, they weren’t always the most accessible.
And when the Federal Road Act of 1916 and the Federal Highway Act of 1921 hit, carriage houses simply weren’t capable of keeping up with car demand. Motor vehicles were suddenly affordable for the masses, and everyone started buying one. Owners needed their own dedicated space to store their new car.
Thus, the garage was born.
Coined from the French word that means “to store”, garages were free standing shelters used to store cars. Initially, they weren’t much different from barns. They had swinging doors, and they did little to keep things warm.
The swinging doors were prone to breakage due to their size, weight, and constant use. Sliding doors were used by some, but in 1921, the overhead garage door was invented, setting the standard for future garages.
Electric garage door openers started appearing as early as 1926.
By that time, garages had already become an expectation for home buyers. Realtors found that it was one of the first things potential homebuyers asked about.
And the rest, is history. Garage architecture continued to evolve as homebuilders started incorporating them into the initial design of the home. Today, it’s impossible to imagine a world without cars, garages, overhead doors, and garage door springs.
It makes you wonder what things will look like 10 years from now.