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Municipal Parking Garage

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1946–1948, 1963–1964, Alex B. Mahood. South side of Scott St., east of intersection with Federal St.

This municipal parking garage, built to relieve downtown traffic by providing space for 800 automobiles, was one of Bluefield's proudest postwar achievements. Because of the sloping site, each of the four levels has on-grade egress. Construction is of reinforced concrete; mushroom columns spaced 32 feet on center support flat-slab decks. The first level has 12 feet of headroom to accommodate trucks as well as cars. A modicum of late Art Deco styling was employed at the corner entrance on Scott Street, where attendants were stationed to park cars.

The structure is said to be the third municipally owned garage in the nation, following those in Welch ( MD16) and San Francisco. Three years after its completion, it was still considered so innovative that larger cities from around the country sent representatives to inspect it. By 1954 some 1.5 million cars had been parked, and a nationally syndicated newspaper article praising the structure generated so many inquiries that the city published a special bulletin to answer them.

The garage was designed to support a planned municipal auditorium above the top deck. Instead, in 1963–1964, two additional parking decks were added. The garage still serves its original purpose.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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