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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

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Parking in the Air

Parking in the Air

GRHC - October 12th, 2011

Grand Rapids was one of the first cities of its size to embrace the idea of parking -in the air! - with the addition of an 11-floor parking garage in 1926, complete with uniformed attendants, chauffeur service, oil change and more.




In 1926 two Michigan cities had decided to solve their parking congestion problems by providing parking in the air. One of them was Detroit and the other Grand Rapids, being one of the first cities of its size in the country to take on this metropolitan idea.

The Grand Rapids Ramp Garage, located at the intersection of Ionia, Fulton and Louis streets, had eleven floors and a basement. An accessory department, cigar and candy counter were located on the first floor as well as a comfortable waiting room and rest rooms for both sexes.

The garage had a capacity of 500 cars for regular monthly customers, and was also able to accommodate transient parkers. Doors at the entrance and exit were operated by automatic trips placed in the runways, so when an automobile approached, the doors immediately swung open.

Uniformed attendants provided customers with several services such as wiping of windshields, oil changes, battery testing, keeping tires inflated, and gas tanks filled. All the service work on cars was done in the basement area, which was equipped with modern wash racks, oil change pit, repair department, tire department, and battery service station.

Uniformed chauffer service was provided for shopping, theaters, balls, dinners, or anything for which a chauffer was convenient. Chauffer service had never been attempted in Grand Rapids before, but the increasing number of calls showed that many were learning to appreciate that big-city service.

Full Details

TitleParking in the Air
KeywordsGlance at the Past, parking garage, parking, radio; history, Grand Rapids, parking in the air, historical commission
Pubdate StringOctober 12th, 2011

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