There is that beer commercial with the most interesting man, and I think If Saginaw has a building that is the most interesting, it has to be the building on the corner of Water and Genesee. It has gargoyle-like eagles adorning the top of the building, and Lions with shields along the outside next to the windows, standing like sentries protecting whatever may be inside. I am asked about this building all the time, and when I tell someone it’s a parking garage they usually tell me, “ no I am talking about the building with the eagles on it” and yes that is a parking garage.
According to Wikipedia, the first parking garage was built in Chicago in 1918 and was demolished in 2005. The building was built in the 1910’s and started out as a 3 story indoor Ford dealer called Hubbell Ford Auto Sales. It had an elevator for raising and lowering the cars from floor to floor. In the early 20’s the dealership was destroyed by fire and had moved to a new location, the structure was heavily damaged and in the late 1920’s work began to convert it into a hotel. The upper floors were added, you can see the changes in the color of bricks, and the eagles were moved to the top of the new floors. The great depression hit, and the work was never completed.
Throughout the 30’s and 40’s the building sat empty, and by the 1950’s William Boyer had purchased it and it became Boyer’s Inside Auto Park. His daughter commented on one of my posts, and said When the circus came to Saginaw they would use it to house the circus animals, and would walk them down Water Street to the Old Saginaw Auditorium to perform.
In the late 50’s or early 60’s Leo Kahan, who owned a clothing store on Water Street which moved to the building on Genesee, ( which was just recently demolished )purchased the old parking garage. Kahan then sold the building in 2008, and is now owned by the Saginaw River Development LLC. I am not sure what the plans are with the building, but I am thinking it has to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, parking structure still standing in the United States.
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