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Popular Mechanics: Duluth adopts system of community garages

Popular Mechanics 1921 Duluth Community Garages

According to this very vague story from the November 1921 issue of Popular Mechanics, Duluth may have been at the forefront of developing community garages. What happened? One of the garages shown in the magazine still exists today in the Morgan Park neighborhood.

The text:

Community garages have been introduced in Duluth, Minn., which show some decided advantages over the usual individual garage. With the aid of good architecture and landscape gardening the structures add to the appearance of the neighborhood, and back yards are left free for gardens and playgrounds. A saving is made in the cost of constructing buildings and driveways and the heating problem is simplified. A single plant heats all the rooms most economically and all rooms are kept at a minimum temperature of 40 degrees even in the severest winter weather. There is a solid wall between each group of four rooms. This not only serves to keep the whole building from becoming chilled if one tenant leaves his door open too long, but also confines any fire which might get started. The other partitions are of concrete to a height of 3 ft. and of galvanized-wire netting the rest of the way to the ceiling. The construction is of hollow concrete blocks, metal lath, and cement plaster.

12 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

Popular-Mechanics-1921

Morgan Park Garage

The first one does look like a match. That's 89th Avenue West and Concord Street in Morgan Park for those keeping score at home. Interesting that the doors weren't there originally and the landscape was built up to the line on the wall where the paint stops.

waferdog

about 3 years ago

I believe that you can you see the round facility at the location I indicated in this aerial photo from 1948.

Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

Morgan Park 1948 aerial

There does appear to have been something at 85th Avenue West and Beverly Street that fits the shape of the arched garages with interior court.

waferdog

about 3 years ago

This picture from 1931 may be even clearer.

Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

Morgan Park aerial 1931

Indeed, the details are crisper in the 1931 image.

GTR

about 3 years ago

Interesting! Never heard of that idea. I did used to wish there were still locker plants, communal type freezers to store your extra roasts, etc. No need to buy an energy-hog freezer!

waferdog

about 3 years ago

First location today.

GTR

about 3 years ago

Google Books has some relevant pages in Morgan Park: Duluth, U.S. Steel, and the Forging of a Company Town by Arnold Robert Alanen. Page 178 is best (not sure how to link this). Apparently there were eventually 13 such community garages, and in 1917 1/4 of the 350 families owned an automobile. Private garages were not allowed until the 1950s.

Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

I think that's a complete solve on this one. The map confirms the previously mentioned locations, and shows the third at 90th Avenue West between Falcon and Grace streets.

Excellent work, Waferdog!

mnqueenb

about 1 year ago

So what about the ones on Edward St.? They are still standing but not on the map. Also, there has been a lot of construction going on where the roundabout one would have been. I am pretty sure that whole area is clear at the moment. I coached softball for the past 6 years at the field by the round ones location, and I am absolutely positive they were tearing trees and a fence down in that area. Unless I am looking at the map upside down...but I am sure I am not.

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