History Buffs Come Forth

The history of self-storage takes many twists and turns, but it may ultimately be rooted in Pakston 2600 B.C.

Amy Campbell, Senior Editor

December 31, 2008

2 Min Read
History Buffs Come Forth

Who discovered self-storage? The answer will vary depending on who you ask. Several companies have laid claim to being the first on the planet to offer storage units. Many people I've personally spoken to over the years have staked their own claim to pioneering self-storage in a particular locale, state or even the world.

Curious, I typed "pioneers of self-storage" into the search function of Inside Self-Storage. The results page listed 127 references to industry names pioneering self-storage around the globe, from Australasia, Canada, Europe to every nook in North America.

In a similar Google search, I landed a great interpretation by Paul Darden, who wrote an article titled the "History of Self-Storage." He traces the industry back in a variety of patterns, indicating that moving companies like Bekins, Minneapolis Van Lines and Weimar Storage  offered personal storage in the 1920s, perhaps the first to do so in the United States. Darden lists several men as being the first to build individual facilities before 1970, with Public Storage anchoring the multi-facility industry in 1972 when it began erecting sites in California.

But that's only recent history.  According to Darden's article, industry veteran Buzz Victor, who founded the Self Storage Association, learned of the Chinese storing belongings in public underground storage pits thousands of years ago.

Just yesterday, I came across a lengthy article tracing the history of human civilization to Mehrgahr, Pakistan. The archaeological site, which has been researched thoroughly for decades, has indicated the people there had built numerous mud-brick structures that were most likely used to store belongings while residents traveled seasonally. Researchers estimate the storage units were constructed in 2600 B.C.

I know the only readers who've made it this far into the blog have to be completely bored or history buffs. If you're of the latter distinction, I urge you to share any historic bits and pieces about the industry that you've uncovered with the rest of us. I'm curious. Are you?

Finally, before closing, I wish you all, no matter how long you've been in the industry or who you choose to believe was the first to plant the self-storage flag for the good of all civilization, the happiest and most prosperous of New Years!


About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Senior Editor, Inside Self Storage

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter
ISS is the most comprehensive source for self-storage news, feature stories, videos and more.

You May Also Like