Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

A vibrant eastside neighborhood rich in history, culture, food and entertainment

Walking Tours

West of Westcott

Stop #39

Lancaster Ave at Clarendon St

  • Built: ca. 1920s
  • Architect: Unknown
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Garages evolved out of carriage houses, and in the late years of the 19th century cars often shared space with horse-drawn buggies of all sorts. For the well-to-do, large separate carriage houses were the norm, set behind residential buildings, so the transformation to large self-standing garages with a loft above for the driver  was not a stretch. These first garages were often quite opulent, since owners or their drivers had to be their own mechanics and often needed to tank- up right at home. Only later, when the car became not a thing of luxury and dalliance, but a mass-produced necessity requiring convenience, economy and speed, did garage designs become more standardized, and new technologies, specifically to aid the garage were developed. Even in streetcar suburbs when public transportation was the norm for getting to town (where everyone worked) and back, cars were also part of the local landscape, but many “trolley houses” had no garages, and this was especially true for 2- family flats and other apartment buildings.

New houses from the 1920s came with small garages, but home owners could add garages if they had the space. Lumber yards and building catalogs featured all types of garage models, allowing for one car or more. Few families would have more than one car, so that parking on the street in a residential neighborhood was not common. In the case of this garage, it probably served owners from multiple properties.