Before there was Harley, there was this Scottish cottage.
Davidson Cottage is a historic home in Scotland, situated between the towns of Forfar and Brechin. It was the childhood home of William C. Davidson, who immigrated to America with his parents and siblings in 1858. If you’re a Harley-Davidson fan, you may know that it’s a historic place you can visit, and even stay in. What you may not know is that in April, 2021, this home is currently looking for a new owner.
It’s listed through the real estate company Savills, which is requesting offers over £320,000 (or $446,499) from parties with serious interest in purchasing the property. The cottage was fully restored between 2008 and 2012, after having fallen into a serious state of disrepair in the years immediately prior. The current owners are Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, who focused on restoring the cottage back to how it would have looked in 1858.
Initially, the owners wanted to preserve it as a site for Harley enthusiasts from all over the world to visit, and also planned to sell merchandise. By 2019, their plan evolved to include the ability for fans to book stays in the actual cottage. It has electricity and lights, but everything is cleverly tucked away out of view, in order to maintain that 1858 authenticity. There’s a separate building on the property, called an Amenity, that is a more modern dwelling. For example, it has an extremely modern kitchen and other conveniences for visitors to use during their stay. That building is also included in the sale.
Gallery: Davidson Cottage
Here’s the story, for those unfamiliar with the tale of how the Davidsons moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. William C. Davidson’s parents originally started out in this cottage, which was then called Netherton Cottage. They were Alexander “Sandy” Davidson and Margaret Davidson, and they lived here along with their six children, as well as two additional workers at the neighboring estate. Sandy worked at a local blacksmith shop, prior to the whole family decamping for America in 1858. Margaret had family who had already settled in and around the Milwaukee area, so that’s where they headed.
Sadly, the Davidsons’ 17-year-old son, Alexander, grew ill during the long ocean voyage. He died of “ship’s fever” (a euphemism for epidemic typhus) not long after the Davidsons arrived in America. The remaining family settled in Milwaukee, where Sandy became a carpenter for a local railroad company. Meanwhile, William C. continued to grow into adulthood, nurturing his passion for all things technical and analytical.
Later, William C’s three sons, Arthur, Walter, and William A., followed in his footsteps. For example, like a lot of kids, they rode bicycles. However, the trio also learned to maintain them—and much more crucially, started asking themselves “what if …?” and then tinkering to find out the answers.
Once Arthur’s childhood friend Bill Harley got involved, all the necessary ingredients were finally in place. Super encouraging, proud father William C. Davidson saw where his kids and their friend were going, and he then built the crew their very first Harley-Davidson workshop, the Shed.
The rest, as they say, is history. However, if Sandy and Margaret Davidson hadn’t made the momentous decision to leave Scotland in 1858, things might have turned out very differently. If you’re interested in owning a pretty significant part of the Davidson legacy, now’s your chance.