There’s Nowhere Quite Like the American Garage

The multi-use garage is a symbol of many different things to suburban Americans.

Garages have become a status symbol of modern suburban America.
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The first American home with a garage was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908 — the same year Ford unveiled the Model T.

Since then, the garage has become a central part of modern America, where “modernism and suburban values collide with unexpected power,” Atlas Obscura reported.

“We think about it as this weird tumor that was attached to the house,” the authors of the new book, Garage, Olivia Erlanger and Luis Ortega Govela, told the site. “It’s the first time the machine (the car) is given a room to sleep in.”

In it’s simplest form, the garage is a windowless room with one enormous door that blocks out the world and, conversely, opens a room of the house to it more so than any other. But over the years, the garage has become closely linked with American suburban life. It is considered an important asset when determining a home’s value in a post-Great Depression world.

The garage has evolved into a storage room and, according to the authors, “a space where the inhabitant could set his own rules and ways of being.”

A tour of America’s most iconic garages would include the El Diablo house where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak invented the personal computer and the garage from the movie American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey works out and smokes weed, to name a few, to emphasize the garage’s importance to a nuclear family’s life and its significance in modern culture, Govela said.

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