Harley-Davidson bikers in pilgrimage to
(where the bike empire started)
Hundreds of Harley-Davidsons roared into Brechin, Scotland, today to celebrate a little piece of history entwined with the world famous motor company. Bike enthusiasts mingled with locals for the official opening of Alexander and Mary Davidson’s cottage in Aberlemn. The property was facing the prospect of being pulled down, but has now been fully restored.
Happy times: A biker in the centre of Brechin where the Harley-Davidson’s gathered as they celebrated the restoration of Arthur and Mary Davidson’s historic house
Celebrating history: Crowds assembled as the bikers showed off their Harley-Davidsons in Brechin
The couple left the tiny house in 1852 to head for the U.S., and had five children; Ann, Margaret, Alexander, William C and John. It was William C Davidson who fathered the three Davidson brothers, Arthur, Walter and William A, who co-founded the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, with William S Harley.
Harley, age 21, completed a blueprint drawing of an engine designed to fit into a bicycle back in 1901, and two years later he and Arthur Davidson made available to the public the first production Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The bike was built to be a racer, with a 3-1/8 inch bore and 3-1/2 inch stroke.
Job done: Enthusiasts and helpers outside the cottage that has safeguarded a little piece of history
Restored: Three Harley-Davidson enthusiasts have successfully rebuilt the home that is steeped in motor history
The factory in which they worked was a 10 x 15-foot wooden shed with the words ‘Harley-Davidson Motor Company’ crudely scrawled on the door. Arthur’s brother Walter later joined their efforts. In 1904 the first Harley-Davidson Dealer, C.H. Lang of Chicago, IL, opened for business and sold one of the first three production Harley-Davidson motorcycles ever made.
A H-D motorcycle won a 15-mile race in Chicago with a time of 19mins 02secs. In Milwaukee, the first full-time employee was hired in 1905
Pioneers: Founders of Harley-Davidson; William Davidson, Walter Davidson, Arthur Davidson and William Harley started ‘a small motorcycle company’ 97 years ago
Flashback: Alexander Davidson, pictured with his wife Mary, left Aberlemno in 1852 for America, and it was three of their grandchildren who made Harley-Davidson into a worldwide brand
In good shape: The restored ‘Serial No. 1’ motorcycle currently on display in the lobby of the Juneau Avenue building, in Milwaukee, was the first motorcycle sold to the public
The Davidsons went from a two to a three, when William A. Davidson, brother to Arthur and Walter Davidson, quit his job as tool foreman for the Milwaukee Road railroad and joined the Motor Company in 1907, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, Harley-Davidson sells heavyweight (over 750cc) motorcycles designed for cruising on highways and the company sustains a loyal brand community which keeps active through clubs, events, and a museum.
On the road: Harley’s passing a Pictish stone at Aberlemno heading to the gathering in Brechin via the Davidson family’s restored home