Few People Know Oklahoma Was Home To The First Parking Meter In America
If you’ve ever been frustrated by searching for parking and worrying about getting a ticket, you can thank Oklahoma City for introducing the world’s first parking meter in 1935. That’s right, Oklahoma was the birthplace of the parking meter, and it all started with a man named Carl C. Magee. Keep reading to learn more about this cool piece of Oklahoma
Magee was a journalist and inventor who had grown tired of the chaotic parking situation in downtown Oklahoma City.
The streets were filled with cars, and there was no regulation or organization to keep them from blocking traffic or taking up valuable space. He proposed the idea of a parking meter to the city council as a way to create order and generate revenue for the city.
The council was skeptical at first, but Magee persisted, and after some convincing, they agreed to try out his invention.
On July 16, 1935, the first parking meter was installed at the corner of First Street and Robinson Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City.
It was a simple device, resembling a large metal post with a coin slot and a dial that would display the amount of time purchased.
After several failed attempts at finding a solution, he settled on the idea of charging drivers for their parking time with small coins dropped into a “park-o-meter”.
The response from the public was mixed. Some saw the parking meter as a nuisance, while others welcomed it as a way to ensure a parking spot when they needed it.
But despite the initial backlash, the parking meter quickly caught on, and cities across the country began installing their own versions.
The success of the parking meter didn't just benefit drivers looking for a spot to park. It also provided a significant source of revenue for cities.
In its first year, Oklahoma City's parking meters generated $3,541, which was used to fund the police department's new radio system. Other cities soon followed suit, and the parking meter became a ubiquitous part of the urban landscape.
Today, the parking meter has undergone many changes and upgrades, but its basic design and function remain the same.
The next time you find yourself feeding coins into a parking meter, take a moment to appreciate the history behind this ubiquitous invention. And remember, it all started in Oklahoma City, where a journalist and inventor named Carl C. Magee saw a problem and came up with a solution that changed the world.
Check out this video by
OETA to learn more about the world’s first parking meter:
You can also visit the
Oklahoma Historical Society website.
Did you know about this invention that’s part of Oklahoma’s history? I’d say this is a pretty interesting story!
The parking meter wasn’t the only thing invented in Oklahoma. Check out our previous article: “
Some People Don’t Know These 9 Things Came From Oklahoma” to learn about some other cool inventions that came from the Sooner State.
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