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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

 

Property Name Knightley's Parking Garage
Reference Number 16000707
State KS
County Sedgwick
Town Wichita
Street Address 303 S. Broadway
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 10/11/2016
Areas of Significance TRANSPORTATION, COMMERCE, ARCHITECTURE
Link to full file http://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/16000707.pdf
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Knightley's Parking Garage built at 303 S. Broadway in downtown Wichita in 1949 is nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A in the areas of Commerce and Transportation and Criterion C under Architecture. The arrival of the automobile in the first decade of the 20th century played a significant role in Wichita's growth. By 1923 one in five Wichita residents owned an auto, making downtown congestion and parking top concerns for city leaders. With its diversified, industrial economy Wichita weathered the Great Depression and WWII and following the war, its population returned to wartime highs and the city nearly doubled in size. The post-war growth heightened the struggle between needing cars to bring people to shop and work downtown without overburdening city streets. Local oilman D.R. Lauck saw that the multi-level parking garage could address the challenge of congestion by removing parked vehicles from busy streets and making efficient use of downtown real estate. Upon opening in March 1950, Knightley's Parking Garage was proclaimed as a civic and commercial asset to Wichita, providing a much-needed service to downtown businesses and customers: the ability to park and shop or work in close proximity to the destination. The garage is a rare surviving example of a post-war, privately-owned and attendant-operated garage, in contrast to self-park garages that became dominant in the 1950s. A dual-function facility, the garage also served as home to the offices of Lauck Oil Company for more than twenty-five years; the garage was managed by Lauck's son-in-law, John H. Knightley until the late 1970s. Knightley's Garage is also significant under Criterion C as an excellent representative of the multi-story parking garage, a unique Modern building type characterized by its open-air design, its concrete construction, and its minimalist exposed skeletal structure distinguished by horizontal banding. The garage featured parking on the roof deck, a new novelty for the city. Other distinguishing features were its twin spiral ramps, integral flared canopies at the perimeter rail, and the fourstory neon "Parking" sign on the Broadway facade. Incorporating the latest advances in concrete construction, Wichita's largest parking garage (at the time of construction) reflects the convergence of architecture and engineering in a modern building form. It represents the work of established Wichita architects Overend and Boucher, structural engineer George Hartwell, and contractors Hahner Foreman, local firms who all contributed to the city's mid-century development.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria