Amerikos lietuvių prekybos akcinė bendrovė (a trade joint-stock company of American Lithuanians, known as Amlitas) established in 1921, was considered to be one of the key players in the motorisation and transportation development of interwar Lithuania. The company started out by selling cars and tractors and their parts, as well as by providing repair services; however, later it expanded its activities and started assembling Amlit bicycles fitted for Lithuanian roads, also Ford cars, as well as buses for Kaunas city.
Company’s activities, which were already quite broad, did not stop there and in 1929 the company started building the first two-story car garage in Lithuania on the corner of Maironis and Kęstutis Streets, which, by the way, even if measured by one floor, was still the largest building of its kind nationwide. Designed according to the draft by architect Arnas Funkas, the building stood out because of its then modern architectural style – it was an interesting exception in Kaunas New Town, which was then obsessed with the quest for the “national style” and interpretations of historical architecture.
It is interesting to note that only one floor of the garage was built that year (1929). The second floor was added in 1932. Two solutions foreseen in the original draft were left unaccomplished – the side overlooking Maironis Street and the facade of the building were not plastered. The reason for this was probably the decision to change the purpose of the first floor in several years’ time – in 1939, under the reconstruction project of Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, it became a store for selling Mercedes-Benz cars.
Paulius Tautvydas Laurinaitis