Building Description Harley Davidson Motorcycle Factory, Milwaukee Wisconsin
The Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company complex consists of two primary production/office buildings. Located at the intersection of North 38th Street and West Juneau Avenue, these buildings are examples of early twentieth century industrial architecture. Between North 37th and North 38th Streets along Juneau Avenue is a wedge shaped production/office building whose form was a result of the triangular shape of the site. Built in various stages between 1910 and 1913 (with a 1966 addition), this building represents the company's first major expansion of its production facilities when it was becoming a world leader in the manufacture of motorcycles. The building was constructed with a steel frame skeleton and encased with dark russet tapestry brick trimmed with stone. It is five stories high on a raised basement. The steel structural system is expressed in the brick piers and spandrels. Inset between the structural members are large, multi-light, double-hung windows. The exterior is almost void of any reference to an architectural style except for the corbelling, low parapet wall, and inset stone panels. To the west of this structure is a small, one-story storage building constructed in 1919.
The second building in this complex is across the street at the southwest corner of Juneau Avenue and 38th Street. Also built in stages between 1913 and 1926 (with a 1957 addition), it reflects the same type of construction methods, materials, and design as the previous one. It is six stories high and is L-plan in form. To the west of this structure are three, one-story, rectangular storage buildings, one constructed in 1920 and two built in 1947. Originally these structures represented Harley-Davidson's total office, research, production, warehousing, and shipping facility. In 1947 assembly production was moved to the Capitol Drive plant im suburban Wauwatosa. This site is now the location of the company's corporate headquarters, management offices, research and development, and parts and accessories.
The facility is located at the far western edge of the survey area along the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway spur in the upper Menomonee Valley. Originally, sited away from major development it is now surrounded by a residential neighborhood to the southeast, the Miller Brewing Company headquarters to the south, the Milwaukee County Transit System Cold Spring Car Barns to the northwest and a neighborhood shopping center to the northeast.