South Park Lofts - One of L.A.'s First Parking Garages

One of L.A.'s First Parking Garages

As the automobile took on a more prominent role in Los Angeles, traffic and parking became major problems for downtown businesses. In 1923, the Downtown Business Men's Association and Mayor George Cryer began advocating the construction of parking structures. Businessman Ken Stoakes took up the challenge and built an eight-story, 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) parking garage on Grand Avenue. Stoakes hired one of the city's most prominent architects, Claud Beelman. Beelman and Stoakes sought to create a structure that had continuity with the office buildings, hotels and department stores that lined Grand Avenue. Accordingly, Beelman designed a Beaux Arts edifice with windows and decorative details typical of other commercial buildings of the 1920s.

Stoakes' garage opened to much fanfare in 1924. Stoakes promoted the safety and security of his "fireproof garage." In an interview with the Los Angeles Times during the 1925 holiday shopping season, Stoakes said: "Parking along the curb downtown is bad enough at best. With the frantic attempt of thousands of Christmas shoppers to squeeze in the already available jammed parking space, it is almost suicidal to the appearance of any respectable-looking car."

Through the 1920s and 1930s, the garage was used by Bullock's department store, with uniformed attendants picking up and dropping off shoppers' cars. Shoppers could park two hours for free at Stoakes' structure with a $1 purchase at Bullocks.

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Famous quotes containing the word parking:

    That’s interesting. Sort of a private preserve for teenagers, huh? I suppose as adults we’re lucky to find a parking space.
    —Kenneth Langtry. Herbert L. Strock. Prof. Frankenstein (Whit Bissell)