• Contribute to save a piece of Harley Davidson Heritage

The Davidson family cottage in Scotland needs to be saved

A small cottage in Scotland that once belonged to William S Davidson’s parents before they emigrated to America needs to be bought to save it from developers. Davidson Legacy Preservation is hoping to crowd-fund its preservation

Crowdfunding Effort Set Up To Save Piece of Harley Davidson history

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Harley Davidson is as American as apple pie and one of the most recognisable brands in the world. Did you know, however, that the parents of William S Davidson, co-founder of the iconic brand, lived in Scotland before emigrating to America in 1857?

They settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where father Alexander ’Sandy’ Davidson worked as a carpenter at the local railroad company. He and wife Margaret had five children, three boys and two girls.

Middle son William helped found a young Harley-Davidson by building the fist H-D workshop for his sons (Arthur, Walter and William) in 1903 and the rest is history.

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The cottage fell into disrepair before being restored by three H-D enthusiasts. Up for sale, it will be demolished unless money can be raised to save it.

Meanwhile, the cottage in Scotland remained, albeit in increasingly dilapidated form and was bought by H-D enthusiasts Mike Sinclair, Maggie Sherrit, and Keith Mackintosh in 2008. They restored the cottage to period specification and opened the doors in 2019 to Harley Davidson fans, where they could book it for weekend stays.

Then, as is becoming common, the global pandemic put too much of a financial burden on the enterprise and it was put on the market in 2021.

“The cottage was put up for sale as the current owners wish to retire but the only offers they have had have been from developers to knock it down and build new houses,” revealed Davidson Legacy Preservation group chair Nyree Aitken. “We as a community of bikers, do not want such a significant part of history to be lost.”

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William Harley and Arthur Davidson
Founders of the most famous motorcycle brand in the world.

This is where the Davidson Legacy Preservation group, a non-profit organisation, stepped in and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $610,000 to purchase the cottage and instal a manager to run and maintain it.

It might seem like a rather tenuous piece of Harley Davidson history, but you would have to argue that, without Margaret and ’Sandy’ Davidson, the whole history of America’s favourite motorcycle might be very different.

“He is pivotal to the story of the Davidson Legacy because he had the attributes of technical skill, an analytical mind, and an aptitude for problem-solving, “ Nyree added. “He didn’t know it then, but he had laid the foundations for an iconic, internationally recognised motorcycle-engineering phenomenon.”

To find out more about the Davidson Legacy Preservation group, click here

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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