From woodshed to red-brick behemoth in ten short years
By Mitch Boehm
Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson
We’ve all heard the stories of how Harley-Davidson began life in 1903 in a Milwaukee woodshed on the site of what is now the headquarters of Miller Brewing Company. But with motorcycle production set to jump from around 1000 units in 1909 to nearly 30,000 by 1920, the Motor Company’s industrial digs had to change, and in a big way.
That ‘big way’ ended up being the legendary Juneau Avenue headquarters, which stands proudly today as a testament to Harley’s history and industrial fortitude over the last 117 years. Actual motorcycle production ceased at the site back in 1973, but the Juneau Ave. headquarters remains the nerve center of the company to this day.
A recently discovered cache of photographs and architectural drawings – including plans for the original Juneau Ave. facility – are part of a gotta-see exhibit called ‘Building a Milwaukee Icon’ that opened earlier this month at the Harley-Davison Museum. Since getting there might present a bit of a challenge to most of you, we wanted to share a few of the fascinating photos from the exhibit to give you a feel for what was happening on the ground 110 years ago at the corner of Juneau Ave. and 37th Street. Enjoy!
A walk through the Harley-Davidson Museum is a walk through the history of America. With an unrivaled collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and memorabilia, a 20-acre, park-like campus, and a calendar full of activities, the H-D Museum is one of Milwaukee’s top tourist destinations for visitors from around the globe. A visit to the H-D Museum is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Make your plans to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum at H-DMuseum.com.