The modern garage is a far cry from the converted carriage house in which the first automobiles were housed. As a matter of fact, garages over the years have evolved from an external necessity to an important part of our homes. And if you add a garage door screen such as the Lifestyle Garage Door Screens that we offer here at AAA Sun Control, then your garage can serve as added living space to your home.

From necessary┬ástorage spaces to outright man caves, the following is an infographic that takes a look at the “history of the garage.”

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The History Of The Garage

The History of the Garage

The modern garage is a far cry from the converted carriage house in which the first automobiles were housed. As a matter of fact, garages over the years have evolved from an external necessity to an important part of our homes.

The Modern Garage

The word Garage comes from “Garer” which is French for “to shelter.”

There are over 82 million homes with a garage in the U.S. That’s over 1 garage for every car built in the world last year. In fact, 17% of new single-family homes sold in the U.S. had a 3+ car garage, with 34% of those in the Midwest.

Percent of Houses With a Garage

  • 1960’s and older – 68%
  • 1970’s – 59%
  • 1980’s – 62%
  • 1990’s – 71%
  • 2000-2004 – 77%
  • 2005-2009 – 79%

Fun fact: 71% of homeowners use their garage as the main entry to their house. The front door is replaced by the garage door.

How did the garage come to be such an important part of the home? It started, of course, with the car.

Converting the Old to Fit the New

At first, cars were a luxury item that not many could afford. Converted carriage houses once used for horses, carriages, and tack, were common for car storage. Sears Roebuck also started selling portable garages in 1908.

The 1920’s: The Birth of the Home Garage

Cars really took off after the passing of the Federal Road Act in 1916 and the Federal Highway Act in 1921. To keep their cars closer, people began to incorporate garages into their home design.

Early garages looked like carriage houses attached to the home, with gabled roof and masonry. Later garages were integrated into the design of the home.

In 1921, the overhead garage door was developed by C.G. Johnson. In 1926, Johnson invented the automatic garage door opener.

“Real estate men testify that the first question asked by the prospective buyer is about the garage. The house without a garage is a slow seller.”

“Confessions of an Automobilist” – Atlantic Monthly, June 1925

The Home Garage in Post-War America

The prosperity of the late 40’s and 50’s lead to more (and bigger) cars. The garage expanded with them.

  • 1941: Garages attached to houses, with entry into the house, begin to appear.
  • 1967: February issue of Homes and Gardens runs “From Carport to Family Room.”
  • 1970: Automatic garage door openers finally become popular.

In a 1,000 sq. ft. house, the percent of space devoted to car storage was:

  • 1915: 8%
  • 1930: 15%
  • 1940: 38%
  • 1960: 45% (that’s almost half the house)

How Technology Has Changed Things

In the early days, a barn door carport was a chilly (but covered) place to feed animals and hand-crank the car the start in the morning.

Later, the garage became a workspace for carpentry or auto repair, but other than storing the car, stockpiling non-perishables and household products was its key function.

Fun fact: with the advent of the electric guitar and modern rock and roll, the garage band founds its place.

Today, we have luxuries like remote garage door openers and heated garages, and can even start our cars with our smart phones. The garage is no longer just a place to store unused items and keep our animals – technology has made it an additional room in our homes, and a pretty cozy one at that!

Going Beyond Cars: What Else Are Garages Used For?

Storage: More than half of homeowners use their garage for storage.

Expansion: As the cost of real estate rises, the garage has become valuable extended square footage. Cars are often left outdoors in favor of a gym, playroom, or craft areas.

Practice: Famous bands that started in garages include Nirvana, The Beatles, and Metallica.

Entrepreneurship: Companies that started in garages include Apple, Hewlett-Packard, The Walt Disney Company, and Google.

Over 1 in 2 homeowners want a garage that their neighbors envy. With such a long history, the garage should be celebrated.

Is yours worth bragging about? And if it is, consider adding a garage door screen such as the Lifestyle Garage Door Screen to not only take advantage of the extra living space, but the outside weather when it is pleasant.