July 19 - First Parking Meters!

   Posted on July 19, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on July 19, 2011:

Is there any time left on the meter? 
Does it take credit cards? 
Does it take ONLY credit cards? 
I only have dimes and nickels! Do you have any quarters? 
Is it even working? 

Parking in big cities can be a difficult and expensive proposition. Often, we must choose between an expensive parking lot and street parking with parking meters that may or may not work. The joy of using a parking meter can include scrounging for the right amount—and the right kind—of coins, but nowadays many parking meters take credit cards. Still, we continue to have the joyous experience of keeping track of the time and running back to “feed the meter” before the time runs out. Of course, sometimes we lose track of time and get a parking ticket that is far more expensive than the day-rate at any parking lot. Oh, joy!

Well, it all began in 1935. A man named Carl C. McGee of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce traffic committee invented the parking meter, applied for a patent, and then installed the meters in the business district of downtown Oklahoma City.

From those beginnings we can see how reasonable parking meters really are. Before McGee's invention, the downtown workers parked on the streets. There their cars sat, at the curbs of all the streets of downtown, all day, every day. People who wanted to shop or bank downtown couldn't ever find a parking spot!

Which wasn't good for stores and banks and other downtown businesses. Which, ultimately, wasn't good for those downtown workers!

The parking meters saved some spots for shoppers and visitors. That meant that many workers who wanted to park all day long needed to find somewhere else to park, and, I presume, caused some enterprising people to start private parking lots as a business endeavor.

Odd, but true...Sad, but sweet...

Oklahoma resident Barbara Manire was very funny and enjoyed making people smile. She requested that, when she was gone, her children would bury her in the front row of the cemetery with an expired parking meter on her grave.

It wasn't the easiest request to fulfill, but Manire's son was able to purchase a parking meter on Ebay. He changed the expiration time on the meter to 64 years and attached the meter to his mother's headstone.

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