Thursday, July 7, 2011

Parking Skyscraper

In March 1921, the Standard Motor Accessories and Garage Corporation of New Orleans proposed a nine-story parking skyscraper above Canal Street. Architect Rathbone De Buys (c. 1874-1960) drafted plans for the structure, which were published in The Times-Picayune on March 13th (above). The need for off-street parking was becoming a pressing concern. In 1917, hotel and other business owners were charging exorbitant fees for the privilege to park on city streets adjacent to their properties. In August of that year, the City Commissioners announced a hearing for the purpose of developing a municipal parking ordinance. Increasing legal restrictions led to the establishment of private "motor stations" that offered vehicular storage as well as lubrication and upholstering services.

Recommended reading: John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle. Lots of Parking: Land Use in a Car Culture. U of Virginia P, 2005. Available in Tulane University's Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.

Image above: "What about your Automobile?" The Times-Picayune 13 March 1921 Section 4, page 10.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Emile Weil's Cadillac

In 1916, New Orleans architect Emile Weil (1878-1945) purchased a new Cadillac Type 55 seven-seater touring car equipped with Kelly-Springfield wire wheel tires. Cadillac introduced the model in August 1916, listing it for $2250. By October 1916, The Times-Picayune ran an advertisement featuring Weil's new acquisition photographed along St. Charles Avenue (above). The wire wheel tires were available for an additional cost through Kelly-Springfield's local distributor, Southern Hardware & Woodstock Company, which posted the ad.

At the time, Weil and his wife Marie lived in the former Isidore Newman mansion, designed by Thomas Sully (1885-1939) and located at 3607 St. Charles. The couple inherited the property upon the death of Marie's mother, Mrs. Isidore Newman. Not long after Marie's death in 1931, Weil sold the building, and moved to a smaller residence on Versailles Boulevard. The St. Charles Avenue property changed hands again before becoming the Tulane Medical School Phi Chi Fraternity house in 1947. Despite efforts to save the building, the structure was razed in 1970. Drawings for the building are maintained in the Southeastern Architectural Archive's Thomas Sully Collection.