JANUARY 28, 1922

The last class of the sixth annual season consisted of thirty men with a variety of backgrounds; dealers, repairmen, prospective dealers, and motorcycle police officers. Harley-Davidson first instituted teaching courses in 1917. Production in 1917 was devoted to the military and the Motor Company developed the Quartermasters School to teach military personnel how to fix their machines in the field. Immediately recognizing the value of the classes the Motor Company continued the classes, which was then referred to as the Harley-Davidson Service School. The Service School was a success and adjusted to needs of the company throughout history, even including managerial and sales classes. During WWII the focus again turned to military training and back to the Service School when the war ended. The name “Service School” lasted into the late 1990s when training efforts were consolidated into the Harley-Davidson University (HDU). Over the years the school has trained dealers, technicians, employees, and others in nearly every topic related to Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The image shown is of the last class of the 1922 season, the sixth year of Harley-Davidson Motorcycle instruction.

Harley-Davidson Service School

The Harley-Davidson Service School concluded its last class of the season, marking six successful years of the school.

JANUARY 21, 2004

From this date the entire project from start to finish took four years to complete. The twenty acre parcel of land at 6th and Canal Streets was purchased from the City of Milwaukee in March of 2005. The ground breaking ceremony took place on June 1, 2006 with H-D racer Scott Parker breaking ground by dropping the clutch on a Sportster XL 883R. The first steel arrived on December 21, 2006 and was used to create the skeletons of the buildings. The brickwork for the South wall was started in April of 2007. When completed the South wall consisted of approximately 20, 800 grey and black glazed bricks to create the large “Harley-Davidson.” The massive illuminated Bar & Shield sign took about six months to complete. The Poblocki Sign Company of West Allis, Wisconsin started building the mammoth sign on November 13, 2007 and it was completed and installed in March of 2008. The sign is 22 feet 8 inches wide, 22 feet 8 inches deep, and 17 feet 6 inches high. It weighs nearly 23,000 pounds and hangs in one of the 80 foot towers near the entrance of the museum building. The Harley-Davidson Museum opened on July 12, 2008 shortly before the 105th Anniversary celebration.

The Museum is home to permanent and temporary exhibits that tell the history of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and show how American history, the history of technology and the evolution of industrial design are just some of the elements that have made the company what it is today.

new museum

Harley-Davidson announced its proposal to develop the site at 6th and Canal Streets for their new museum.

JANUARY 20, 1917

On January 20, 1917, Arthur Davidson and his wife, Clara, left on a business trip for Australia and New Zealand in an effort to grow international sales. Arthur Davidson was the general sales manager for Harley-Davidson. In addition to building a strong domestic dealer network, he traveled to recruit international dealers. He first traveled abroad in 1915, traveling to England and Scotland. He and his wife traveled several times over the course of two decades. According to their passport, their trip in 1917 also included Tasmania and Pago Pago, the capitol of the American Samoa.

Arthur Davidson and his wife

Arthur Davidson and his wife, Clara, left on a business trip for Australia and New Zealand in an effort to grow international sales.

JANUARY 18, 1953

The race which measured 58.4 miles was entirely coated with an inch of ice due to a sleet storm the night before. Earl managed to finish the course which ran through woods, marshes, and ice covered rutted roads with a score of 976 points with his Harley-Davidson Model 165. Robinson and his wife, Dot, were Harley-Davidson dealers in Detroit and were both experienced riders who participated in many races and endurance runs. Dot Robinson was also co-founder of the women’s motorcycle club; The Motor Maids.

In the image Earl and Dot Robinson stand in front of a row of 1955 Harley-Davidson Big Twins outside of their Detroit, Michigan Dealership.

Earl Robinson

Earl Robinson, riding a Harley-Davidson Model 165, won top honors in the January Reliability Run held by the Thunderbird Club of Detroit, Michigan.

JANUARY 16, 1921

This was Hogg’s second attempt at the feat, his first was in 1918 and that trip ended within three miles of the Colorado River when he ran out of food, smashed his back tire, and was washed out by heavy thunderstorms. His 1921 trip, a success, took Hogg’s four days to complete. He left Peach Springs at 10 a.m. on the morning of January 13 and returned on the evening of January 16.

Hogg said of the trip, “It was a wonderful trip, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. At the same time I wouldn’t advise any solo rider to try it as a pleasure jaunt. It’s too hard a trip, and is a much harder job for a machine than most riders would care to subject their mounts to. If one has enough lead in his breeches, and doesn’t care about how much he ‘dings’ his machine – then a solo trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is well worth while. My trip to the bottom of the canyon, however, does prove that our present day motorcycles are built to stand up under service that is harder than the average rider can stand. We never touched a tool to the little Sport Model on the entire trip, and we finished the climb out of the canyon with the same Los Angeles tires which brought the machine to Arizona. I believe that the trip in and out of the Grand Canyon is one of the most severe tests to which a motorcycle has ever been subjected, and it goes without saying that machine which will stand up under such punishment is a pretty good machine for the average buyer to invest his money in when he wants reliable consistent service under conditions of ordinary use and for touring. A motorcycle that will take a man to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and bring him out again ought to take a man just about any place he ever wants to go. If economy means anything to the prospective buyer of automotive transportation, it is well to reflect that the descent and ascent of the Grand Canyon was made with a little less than two and a half gallons of gasoline and with only two quarts of lubricating oil.” Now, that’s a trip!

John Edwin Hogg

John Edwin Hogg, on a Harley-Davidson Sport Model, completed the first successful trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

JANUARY 12, 1913

The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company built a large sign on top of their powerhouse that read, “‘The Electric Co.’ Electric Power is Best Ask Harley-Davidson.” The sign was 68 feet long and 40 feet high with an arrow 70 feet long and blinked every three seconds. The Milwaukee Free Press published an article on January 12th about the Harley-Davidson company and how its four founders “built up in Milwaukee, one of its most important industries.” At the time, Harley-Davidson was the largest individual user of gas and electric in the city of Milwaukee.


Harley-Davidson was the largest individual user of gas and electric in the city of Milwaukee.

JANUARY 8, 1934

As cinder track racing gained popularity across the country and many people were rebuilding Harley-Davidson’s for cinder tracks the Motor Company decided it was time to fulfill requests to make a special model for short track racing. The News Bulletin announcement of the release of the new CAC racer stated “The short track racers we are offering are the result of much study and actual trial by our racing department. Extensive tests were conducted on the West Coast on actual tracks with outstanding short track racing stars and in competition with the best of the foreign machines. Our experimental machines came through every test with flying colors. Improvements incorporated as a result of these trials will make these new racing models even better in power and performance.”

In 1934, 20 trial CAC motorcycles and 5 spare engines were developed by the factory race department, with the guidance of famed racer Joe Petrali to compete on the speedway circuit. Only a small number of these have known to survive as most were “used up” on the track. The Harley-Davidson Archives recently acquired one of these rare machines and it is now on display in the Museum.


Harley-Davidson introduced the CAC, a short track cinder racer.

JANUARY 4, 1920

Not only did Walker win first place, Harley-Davidson swept the race winning the first four places in front of 25,000 spectators at Ascot Park. Walker took first, Ralph Hepburn took second, Red Parkhurst won third, and fourth place went to Fred Ludlow; all on Harley-Davidsons! Walker’s time was 77 minutes, 42 and 3/5 seconds. This time was the fastest ever made on a one-mile track for 100 miles. He averaged a speed of 77¼ miles per hour and his time included two tire changes! The image shows the start of the race.

Otto Walker

Otto Walker won the 100-Mile Ascot Championship Race at Ascot Park in Los Angeles, California.