Henry Patterson purchased Topeka Harley-Davidson® in March of 1949 from Dutch Myers. Henry (Pat) moved his wife, Leola, and their two young boys, Larry and Dennis, along with all of their possessions, in one car and motorcycle trailer from Grand Junction, Colorado to Topeka in order to take over the dealership. Pat endured many hardships in his first few years of business. Within a year of taking over at 305 Kansas Avenue, the Throop Hotel, next to his store, caught fire and collapsed on top of his building and ruined the structure. He was forced to move across the street temporarily before finding a new location at 2410 W 6th on the edge of town.
Just after the move, he found himself and his store in 3 feet of water when Topeka's largest flood in history swept through in 1951. He persevered and continued with his business and his dream through many difficult decades. After working for many years in the store by himself or with one employee, Pat was happy and surprised when his son, Dennis, joined him in the business in the mid '70s. It was perfect timing for Pat, as the Japanese motorcycles were taking a stranglehold on the market. Denny's new energy helped save the business from a sure demise. In the late 1980s, Pat's grandson (Denny's nephew), Mike, entered into the business to make it three generations of Pattersons managing the store.
With the resurgence of Harley-Davidson®, the Topeka store jumped on for the ride and began to grow at a rapid pace. In 1990, the 6th Street store had served its purpose and more room was needed. The Pattersons and their five member team moved to 600 NW Hwy 24, north of town, to a building that was so much bigger they didn't know what to do with all of the space. As Harley-Davidson® bikes continued to become more popular, two expansions, tripling the size of this store in six years, were needed to keep up with the growth. 1999 was an epic year for T H-D®. The store celebrated 50 years in business with a gala event held at the Kansas Expocentre and included over 700 friends of the store and Harley-Davidson® Chief Executive Officer, Rich Teerlink. Rich gave a tribute to Pat's 72 years of Harley-Davidson® dedication. Less than a week after the event, Pat succumbed to a fight with cancer, but he had persevered one last time by reaching his goal of 50 years in the business.
"Motorcycles have always been dramatic. They are not for everybody and never will be. This is a product that people can take to an extreme as a means of self-expression."
Willie G. Davidson
In the year 2000, Topeka H-D® made a major relocation to the current facility at 21st and Topeka Blvd. The building was constructed in 1935 and had housed the Shawnee County Maintenance Department and then Willie C's Restaurant. The renovation allowed THD® to incorporate a restaurant (Henry's Grill) and a museum (Yesterdays) into the dealership at the new location. This unique combination has created a destination and enjoyable stopping point for motorcyclists and visitors alike.
At Historic Harley-Davidson® we're not just proud Harley-Davidson® dealers, we're also riders. So we know the freedom and adventure you'll find with the right motorcycle. We serve the Topeka, Kansas area, offering the best in new and pre-owned bikes. Our friendly and knowledgeable sales, financing, service and parts departments are prepared to make sure your experience is outstanding, from assisting while you're making your choice to ongoing maintenance and customization. At Historic Harley-Davidson®, we value the opportunity to create a long-term relationship with our customers, and we do that by making sure to exceed your expectations.
Historic Harley-Davidson® is conveniently located near the areas of Wakarusa, Grantville, Meriden and Clinton.
Call us today at (785) 234-6174 and find out how our team can help you find the Harley-Davidson® you've been looking for! We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.