Who was the first valet parking attendant?

Sometimes, not even Wikipedia can help. 

I’m writing a screenplay.  It’s set in 1973.  There’s a scene in front of a hotel, in which the characters wait in a valet parking line.  I stop for a moment.

Was there valet parking in 1973?  Did they call it “valet parking”?

Wikipedia, source of so much information, only has this to say: 

Valet parking is a parking service offered by some restaurants, stores, and other businesses. In contrast to “self-parking,” where customers find parking on their own, customers’ vehicles are parked for them by a person called a valet. This service either requires a fee to be paid by the customer or is offered free of charge by the establishment.

A valet is usually an employee of the establishment, or an employee of a third party valet service. When there is a fee it is usually either a flat amount or a fee based on how long the car is parked. It is customary to tip the valet who actually parks the car. In some restaurants the fee for parking is usually part of the tip that is given to the valet.Some cars come with an additional key known as a valet key that starts the ignition and opens the drivers side door but prevents the valet from gaining access to valuables that are located in the trunk or the glove box.

Valet parking is most often offered (and is most useful) in urban areas, where parking is scarce, though some upscale businesses offer valet parking as an optional service even though self-parking may be readily available. For example, in wealthy suburban areas like California‘s Silicon Valley, some hospitals (like Stanford University Medical Center) offer valet parking for the convenience of patients and their visitors.

But who thought of it? Wikipedia is silent.



2 thoughts on “Who was the first valet parking attendant?

  1. Hi John – Nice blog. Just found it today from Roderick. Herb Citrin once told me that he coined the phrase ” Valet Parking” when he worked for Lawry’s 50 years ago. He soon grew it into a successful business (www.valetparkingservice.com). Not sure if he came up with the idea, but perhaps Lawry’s did. Hope all is well.

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