NEW YORK MILLS — Everything has a story.
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Harley Davidson Inc. turns 115 years old this year, and the local dealership, Harley-Davidson of Utica, has amassed a small collection of motorcycles for a display that includes bikes from the 1920s to 1990s. The display ends at 4 p.m. Saturday at 4870 Commercial Drive.
Service Manager Shane Gatto pointed to a 1923 J-Model Harley Davidson that graces the showroom floor. “It’s all original in terms of condition which makes it unique,” he said.
“Just to see something with original paint. That’s incredible,” Gatto added, pointing out natural sun bleaching of the paint and original leather seat.
For staff at the dealership, the corporate milestone is more than paint and preservation.
“This is our heritage,” Gatto said, “Some of these bikes are why we are here today. … Some have seen war. If they could talk …”
But there is more to learn about the motorcycle brand. The dealership said there is some tied to Harley Davidson dealerships in the area.
At one time, there was a Harley Davidson dealer at the corner of Washington and Columbia streets in Utica and owned by Arthur Ferriss, they said. In the early 1900s, the dealership sponsored off-road motorcycle hill climbs in the area.
On a temporary wall at Utica Harley is a wall mural sized reproduction of a photo from 1915 taken Utica that shows Utica man who participated in, and won, a hill climb.
And he is posing with a motorcycle that is similar structurally to the J-Model currently in the display.