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Thread: Motorcycle dealers in Hartford, Wi. pre-1914

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Motorcycle dealers in Hartford, Wi. pre-1914

    Few if any people know there were 2 motorcycle dealers in Hartford, Wi. pre 1914. They were the Walter Jordan agency who sold Excelsior motorcycles in 1913 and Walter & Wittig agency who sold Comet and Indian in 1911.

    Walter & Wittig were at 18 Lovers La. which is now Union St. just off Main St. and Walter Jordan was at 220 S. Main St. just down the street from where I grew up at 315 S. Main St. Never knew this until I was in my 40's. And nobody in Hartford remembered it all including the families of Walter Jordan or the Walter or Wittig families when I contacted them.

    All the buildings and bikes are long gone. When I walked to school in the 1950's we always walked past an old building once owned by Walter Jordan which was on Rural St. next to the Rubicon river. It was abandoned but locked up. Believe me if it was open we would have explored. Parked out back was an original horse drawn wood fired steam fire engine pumper. And it wasn't in bad shape. Of course we climbed all over it. Years later I would find out that inside the building was supposed to be a really old motorcycle. The old fire engine is now on somebodies front lawn near Holy Hill. Restored. Who knows what happened to the ,motorcycle.

    The ads I found in the Hartford Times newspaper. The Sanborn map shows the location of the Walter & Wittig garage and I was lucky enough to find a photograph the the Walter & Wittig garage at the Hartford History room. The garage is where the car is parked. Notice the roads were dirt and there are more horses than cars.

    Walter & Wittig sold quite a few Comet motorcycles in the Hartford area according to the Wisconsin motorcycle registration but by 1911 I believe Comet was out of business. This is the only ad for a Comet motorcycle I ever found for 1911. My guess Walter & Wittig had a few left over Comets from 1910. The Comet ad was from April.

    In the 1990's I found out that Frank Kenzler and his wife lived in Hartford for a long time. Frank Kenzler is the Kenzler from Perry Mack's Kenzler-Waverley motorcycle which was in Cambridge, Wi. in 1911. It was only talked about and none were ever built. Unfortunately I never knew this until a couple years after Mrs. Kenzler had died in Hartford. I can only imagine sitting down with Frank Kenzler and his wife and talking about Perry.

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