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I live in Madison Wisconsin but I work out of a small town about 15 minute from here called Cambridge. My folks live there in a 100 year old church that we renovated into there home. It's one of the nicest buildings I've seen if I do say so myself! My Pop and I are general carpenters(which means that we can do about anything) and as I said we work out of Cambridge. There are about 1200 people in town but a lot of people from Illinois own cottages on the lake in town called Lake Ripley so there is always work for us around town.

Anyway, I went to the Subway restaurant for lunch today. I got my lunch and a paper and not three minutes after I sat down an old timer walked up to me and asked if that was my Harley parked outside(funny how you can always pick out the riders!) and I told him it was. I was expecting to hear a nice bike! or some story about the bike he used to have, but no, he went on to tell me something entirely different.

This is what he told me:
The Davidson family(of Harley-Davidson) owned a cottage on Lake Ripley. They would come from Milwaukee(probably an hour and a half from Cambridge to Milwaukee in those days) and have a little R&R. When the second generation(I'm calling the sons of the original Davidson brothers that started HD the second generation) grew and started coming to Cambridge on there own, the old timer that told me this story was around 12 years old. He would walk along the shore and sneak around the fence that divided the Davidson land from the local bible camp and go into their boat house where there sat a Cris-Craft boat. The boat house was never locked so whenever he felt like drooling he could sneak in and look at this boat.

Anyway, when second generation Davidson boys were still quite young, the family became friends with a local guy named Ole Evinrude. Even though the Davidsons were quite well off and Ole was poor they were all good friends. Ole used to row his boat across the lake with his girlfriend. Being a friend of the Dividsons paid off because he got a motor from them and stuck it on his boat with some sort of prop so he wouldn't have to row all over the lake. It worked so well he decided to start a business doing this and thus became the first boat motor and Evinrude Motors.

This is the shortened version of what he told me. He thinks the boat house is still there so I'm going to do a little snooping myself and see. It might be the same house too. He went on to tell me more history of Cambridge but it's not as interesting.

Cambridge is also the home town of Nascar driver Matt Kenseth. I'm not a Nascar fan but it's neat to go by his house every day. Matt built a fan club for the town because they were using one part of a little strip mall and it had grown too small. It's neat to see all of his old cars from when he was racing at the local Jefferson Speedway and the other local tracks. There is also one of his Nascar cars there and his old suits and ALL of his trophies from highscool racing through today. Although he has others, HD gave him a bike for being a big part of Wisconsin and that bike sits on the floor at his fan club. Matt is a big time HD fan so he's cool in my book. Matt's wife is also from Cambridge and used to work at the local hardware store with an fellow that still works there. From what he tells me she is the stereotypical blond! She woked there for months before she realized the the nuts and blots were aranged from smallest to biggest!

So that's your history lesson for today. There WILL be a test on Friday so study up!
 

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Very cool indeed. One of my old HD books references Evinrude. Here is a quote from that book.
... In January 1901, four engines were ready to be fitted on the frames of entirely classical bicycles. Their carburation was far from satisfactory, because a system for regulating the fuel supply was still to be found. Since starting is always difficult, thier business remained modes both in terms of equipment and financial support, but they were determined to imporve. In order to obtain the money needed for research, Arthur Davidson found an additional job and, in doing so, met another enjineer, Ole Evenrude, who specialized in boat engines and would help in the development of certain parts. ...

Harley Davidson by A.Saladini and P. Szymezak
 

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I haven't seen your bird.
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Originally posted by hdmarsh77
This is the shortened version of what he told me. He thinks the boat house is still there so I'm going to do a little snooping myself and see. It might be the same house too.
Great Wisconsin small-town tale, guy! Tell you what, I'll check with some of my historic preservation buds at the State Historical Society and see if they have any records about the house and/or the boat house. It could have been nominated to the National Register for its connection to the Davidson family.
 

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I love stories about history, that is very interesting.
My Grandmother used to tell about her Uncle Bill that was in the Civil War as a horse tender, he tended General Ulysses Grant's horse. She would tell how he told her many times that after an active day on the battlefield the horse would be frothing all over and it would take an hour of walking and wiping down to calm the beast.
My Grandfather told me many times how his father, my Great Grandfather, had met Wild Bill Hickock on several occasions and how he marveled at his shooting prowess as Bill would demonstrate upon request. My Great Grandfathers niece married Wild Bill's nephew.
My Grandmother was a direct descendent of Sarah Putnam, one of the girls that testified in the Salem witch trials.

This stuff is so cool to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MadCity said:
Great Wisconsin small-town tale, guy! Tell you what, I'll check with some of my historic preservation buds at the State Historical Society and see if they have any records about the house and/or the boat house. It could have been nominated to the National Register for its connection to the Davidson family.

I'd appreciate that, Mad! I'd rather know for certain if it's the same place before I go knockin' on someone's door.:thanks:

Knock knock
Can I help you?
Yeah, uh, ya got any old Harleys layin' around this place? I heard someone kinda famous used to live here and they were into bikes.
:roflback:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
sthorp said:
This stuff is so cool to me.

You and me both. The past is what has made everyone and everything what it is today. It's cool to see how everything fits together. I reccomend to all to have your family history traced. Chances are your related to some interesting characters! It'd be great if I was in the Harley or Davidson family tree.
 

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Hey, hdmarsh, if you get any more specifics on the precise location of the property, please let me know.
 

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I was retelling your story to my wife last night, whose father is a retired design engineer for Evinrude and knew Ole pretty well.

She said, "oh yeah, everybody knew he got his start building outboards because he didn't like rowing across the lake", so I'll bet there's some ground truth in your story. Didn't know he started with a Harley engine, though.

Before I got wrecked, I rode through Cambridge every month on my way to Mad-Town from the Beer City. A much nicer ride on Hwys 18 & 12 than I-94. I usually stop at the Shell station at the 12 / 18 junction for gas, a quick whizz and a donut. Nice town.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
MadCity said:
Hey, hdmarsh, if you get any more specifics on the precise location of the property, please let me know.

Sorry, Mad. I going to try to get more info to help you out but today is hectic! I'll let you know when (or if) I find anything. This could get interesting!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
eprenzlow said:
I was retelling your story to my wife last night, whose father is a retired design engineer for Evinrude and knew Ole pretty well.

She said, "oh yeah, everybody knew he got his start building outboards because he didn't like rowing across the lake", so I'll bet there's some ground truth in your story. Didn't know he started with a Harley engine, though.

Before I got wrecked, I rode through Cambridge every month on my way to Mad-Town from the Beer City. A much nicer ride on Hwys 18 & 12 than I-94. I usually stop at the Shell station at the 12 / 18 junction for gas, a quick whizz and a donut. Nice town.

I guess I'm not certain that it was an HD motor. That part contradicts jockeyshift's exerpt, which is probably more factual than an old timer's memory!
 

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Ok boys and well girl, did you know that Westconsin is known for making cheese? Yup, that's right...Take the tour, and find a Supper club for dinner. Do people from "yaa heydar" ever go over 55 mph?

Thorns (Ex FIB)

J/K...Thanks for sharing the story.
 

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Thorns said:
Do people from "yaa heydar" ever go over 55 mph?

Thorns (Ex FIB)
Sure do, every time we're in pursuit of some FIB traveling at the speed of heat up the freeway. +SMSH+ :spank:

I love those 20+ over the limit cites!!!
 
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