The History of Timpanogos Harley Davidson

The ultimate goal of building the new Timpanogos Harley-Davidson building was to memorialize Utah’s industrial history. Our country is rapidly losing it’s competitive edge because we no longer are a great producing nation, but great consuming nation. Timpanogos Harley-Davidson wanted to combine American industrial history with one of the greatest American companies, Harley-Davidson. This is the only all-American building, selling the great American motorcycle. This resort provides motorcyclists (and slider eaters) with opportunity to see the only remains (other than the huge slag pile across the street) of Geneva Steel- the economic engine of Utah for 50 years.

In approaching the front doors, you can see the foot impressions in the sidewalks of small children. You’re about to walk into a building that leaves a significantly smaller environmental footprint on Mother Earth by using primarily reclaimed, “green material” or “sustainable materials.” Over 70% of the building materials are reclaimed. History is preserved, a unique look is achieved, and Mother Nature is happy!

Mr. Willie G. Davidson and his family visited this new Harley-Davidson resort twice during construction. Mr. Davidson’s first remark as he walked the early stages of construction was “We are going to have to build cooler motorcycles.” On his second visit he exclaimed, “this is the most significant Harley-Davidson dealership in the world, there is nothing to compare it by.”

Parking lot light towers from an 1890’s bridge crane from 200 S 900 W in Salt Lake. The base or fill below the grounds (building and parking lot) is reclaimed or crushed concrete (mostly from the burned down truck stop that was once at this corner).

All the trusses in parts, showroom and lobby are from the same era and building. These trusses are from one of the original railroad buildings in Ogden. The trusses were built in the late 1870’s and were demolished in 1964. They were found in the bushes at the back of an old salvage yard where they had rested for over 40 years before being reclaimed for use in this building.
The main body of building was fabricated from trusses taken from the Salt Lake City Coca-Cola plant built in 1903 (the same year Harley-Davidson began building motorcycles). All the timbers you see in the ceilings and fixtures were harvested from the roofs and trusses of Geneva Steel buildings. Reclaiming these timbers literally save a forest from the land-fill. Demolition crews initially intended to crush the heavy steel beams for shipment to Korea, where they’d be melted down, formed into new “I-beams” and shipped back to the U.S. Think about the energy and pollutants generated by shipping millions of tons of steel by rail, then by sea, half-way across the world, coal-firing until molten steel, then shipping across the ocean back to the United States! Reclaimed timbers are far superior to new growth lumber you purchase at Home Depot.

Note the restored “Joe’s Spic and Span” neon sign near the kiosk. Located behind the old Provo Drug, Joes’ Spic and Span was a Provo landmark operated by brothers Joe and Ron. One could often find Steve Young dining at the lunch counter. Ironically, these two brothers and business partners were known for their dislike of one another. One could sit down for a plate of sausage gravy over biscuits, eat the entire meal, and never hear a word exchanged between the brothers.

On the second floor above the elevator, check out the marvelous Stinker Gas sign. The founder of Stinker Stations, Farris Lind began with a single station in 1936 in Twin Falls, Idaho. Farris built the company into a thriving enterprise. He was a large man, larger perhaps than life. “Fearless Farris” received a bad dose of polio vaccine and it put him into an iron lung. Farris laid in a chamber of steel, able to speak only as the iron lung forced air in or out. And from that entombed bed, Farris fearlessly built his corporate empire. His work provided food on the table for hundreds and hundreds of families.

Geneva Steel firehouse bricks were used to build the main center wall. Geneva was like a little city, with a firehouse, infirmary, carpenter and fabrication shops, and stores. The main wall vertical columns are from the circa 1880 Salt Lake City railroad round house, where the locomotives would roll in for service. The giant acorn-shaped lights along the center wall, dotted the railroad tracks behind the Steel plant (pheasant hunters shot-out half the lenses; replacement lenses have been unavailable for over 50 years).

Over the main motorcycle sales floor look up at the rare vintage Harley-Davidson bar-and-shield sign. Most of these were destroyed when the company changed advertising logos. When the Motor Company changed the logo, dealers were told to “toss the old ones.” The bar-and-shield was first used in 1910, and trademarked in 1911.

Scattered throughout the dealership you can see motorcycle history, beginning with a 1927 JD model. As primitive as this motorcycle looks, this bike represents 25 years of evolution for Harley-Davidson and ending with the 2003 Springer Softail. There is a 1963 Harley-Davidson Trike. A year later, Harley-Davidson would introduce the Servicar with an electric starter, that is popular with parking enforcement & police patrols. Notice how simi.ar the look & lines of this 45 year-old bike are to all the new shiny bikes (especially the front end/forks).

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