It’s the early 1900s and the founding of Webfoot is 100+ years away, but the automotive industry is booming. Thanks to the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 roadway infrastructure is evolving from horse and buggy pathways to a dependable system of roads. The Federal Highway Act of 1921 has established a framework for connectivity and cars are no longer a commodity for the rich, but are instead a common mode of transportation.
Suddenly, you have a car and your neighbor has a car, but you both still need somewhere to keep it.
Dude, where’s my car?
The French word “garer” means to protect and shelter, which is exactly what you, your neighbor, and everyone else wanted to do with their new cars. In the beginning, it seemed obvious for people to store their cars where they used to put carriages. However, the common problem of carriage houses also containing animals made the poorly-scented buildings less than ideal. The first model of privately owned Parking Garages popped up in response to this problem. However, similar to the issue we still have today in large cities, this was not viewed as a financially-viable or ideal location.
By the mid 1920s home buyers wanted their garages close and car-focused. Garages began to be incorporated into home design. Carriage houses were designed as sheds for cars (today’s detached garages), and drifted closer and closer to the primary living space of homes. Eventually, the attached garage came to be in the 1940s. By 1960, nearly 50% of a home’s square footage was devoted to the garage on average. Within this timeline, the look and feel of the garage morphed from a barn-style building with swinging doors to the automatic sliding door and concrete floors of the garages we see today.
From car shed to man cave
It didn’t take long for us all to forget that garages were originally for cars. Now that more than 79% of homes have garages, homeowners use those garages for new purposes, like junk storage, home workshops, and a general extension of their living space. We know garage bands (hey, The Who) and entrepreneurs (R.I.P. Steve Jobs) have thrived in garages proving the potential of these spaces time and time again. Today, if you have a garage you can have a home gym, a thriving workshop, a brewery, the hub of a small business, and more.