Harry L. Dipple was the founder of what is today known as Southside Harley-Davidson. Originally a bicycle dealer and manufacturer since 1895, it wasn’t until 1908 that Harry Dipple decided to expand into motorcycles by becoming a Harley-Davidson dealer. He moved from his original location on 338 Massachusetts Ave. to 528 since more space was needed to accommodate for the addition of motorcycles and eased out of bicycle manufacturing to focus on his new acquisition.
Though he was no racer with fame to pull in customers like some dealerships of the day, Dipple was skilled in customer service. His personal understanding of bicycles and intense study of motorcycles helped him in being attentive to his customers needs. He did it so well that several periodicals of the day picked up on it and wrote about his sales capabilities and promotion of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Dipple not only sold motorcycles to the general public but he also brokered sales to commercial businesses and even helped outfit the motorcycles to suit, furthering motorcycles into commercial use. From 1908 to 1919 Harry L. Dipple ran his Harley-Davidson dealership and trained what would become one of the region’s best dealers/sellers, Ernest Hughes.
Ernest eventually bought out Dipple and kept selling Harley-Davidson motorcycles before expanding into Ace motorcycles and becoming a regional sales representative for them. John Morgan, who is mentioned on the Southside Harley-Davidson website was at the time a motorcycle repair mechanic whose shop was located in 701 S. Meridian St. and it wasn’t until 1922 that he decided to expand into becoming a dealership himself. He finalized a deal with Ernest Hughes and expanded his shop to accommodate for the sales of Ace motorcycles.
It wasn’t long after that initial deal that Morgan became the owner of the Harley-Davidson dealership and the rest they say is history.