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Parking Attendants

History

The profession of parking attendants dates to the early 20th century, when automobiles were first introduced to the public and started to grow in popularity. Most early automobiles needed to be parked indoors to protect them from various weather conditions, because they had leather seats and were open-topped. Parking garages in those days may have been in buildings where materials as well as horses were stored. As car designs and materials improved, people started to treat their vehicles better and parking garages were designed specifically for cars. In 1918, the first multistory parking garage was designed by architects William Holabird and Martin Roche for the Hotel La Salle in Chicago, Illinois. 

In the 1920s, mechanized and ramp garages were built to meet the increasing demand for parking spaces. By 1929, more than 23 million Americans had cars and finding parking spaces was becoming a problem. Mechanized garages featured multistories and car elevators. Drivers drove into the garages and left their cars with parking attendants, who then drove the cars onto the elevators and parked the cars on other floors. The "Double Helix" was also invented during this time, which is two spiral ramps in the parking garage, allowing for vehicles to enter and leave the building. According to an NPR article on parking garage history, some parking garages "offered whole levels just for women so they could feel safe in the structures. And others offered babysitting while drivers shopped."

After World War II, the parking business experienced dramatic growth. The economy had improved to the point where many families could afford to own two cars. There was disposable income so more people were shopping and spending money on leisure and entertainment, which meant more people were out and about driving their cars. The 1950s saw a great deal of parking garage construction and by the 1960s, many parking garages were structured beneath buildings. 

Today, there are many different types of venues that have parking structures, from hospitals, colleges, and corporate complexes, to sports arenas, parks, entertainment grounds, and more. Parking attendants who are skilled drivers with a clean driving record, have good customer service skills, and who are well versed in point-of-sale software continue to be needed by parking companies.