President Reagan: ‘Harley is back and standing tall’ – 14/31 iconic images

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President Reagan visited Springettsbury Township’s Harley-Davidson plant in 1987, the first of a series of chief executives to mug at the York County, Pa., plant. That’s Harley employee Eric Myers on the bike. Presidential visit No. 1: Mr. Reagan goes to Harley, Presidential visit No. 2: Clinton hugs Harley and Presidential visit No. 3: Bush makes like Bono.

Continuing the series of telling York County, Pa.’s, history through images: … .


In plain view: A popular Ronald Reagan received a warm reception during his visit to one of York County’s largest employers. “You cut the hours of work needed to make a motorcycle by one-third. You cut inventory by two-thirds. You tripled the number of defect-free machines you shipped. . . . You’re the only major motorcycle manufacturer in the world to have increased production last year. Like America, Harley is back and standing tall.”
Behind the scene: Harley-Davidson workers in York have gone on strike three times since 1969. Still, three U.S. presidents have visited the local Harley plant in the past 21 years to, among other things, seek a political advantage by linking up with the venerable American cycle company. Interestingly, political analyst Terry Madonna contrasted two presidential visits to Harley: In 1987, Ronald Reagan, a Republican free trader, visited and spoke about how well Harley resurged under protective tariffs. In 1999, Bill Clinton, a Democrat, visited and paid tribute to the company’s success in free trade.
Harley is a tangible reminder of the heavy manufacturing interests operating in huge plants and making large things that gave York industries international notoriety.
Further details: Two recommended titles about Harley: Rich Teerlink and Lee Ozley’s “More than a Motorcyle,” 2000; and Peter C. Reid’s “Well Made in America,” 1990. Also, click here for all of York Town Square’s Harley-Davidson’s posts from the start.
Posts in this series:
400 years ago, John Smith explored Chesapeake Bay – 1/31 iconic images
Declaration signer James Smith tops York County patriot list – 2/31 iconic images
Going to market a longtime York County pastime – 3/31 iconic images
William C. Goodridge: From slavery to success story – 4/31 iconic images

Rebs’ short York visit creates long memories – 5/31 iconic images
Artist Horace Bonham captured everyday life – 6/31 iconic images
York County farm vs. factory tension relieved in overnight raid – 7/31 iconic images
York County stood firmly behind Allies on all fronts in WW II – 8/31 iconic images
Downtown thrived in post-WW II York – 9/31 iconic images
After WWII success, Farquhar sells assets to out-of-town outfit – 10/31 iconic images.
Sears, York County Shopping Center in the middle of things – 11/31 iconic images
Three Mile Island emergency indelibly written into memories – 12/2 iconic images.
People of varying religious groups founded York County – 13/31 iconic images
President Reagan: ‘Harley is back and standing tall’ – 14/31 iconic images
York’s mayor: ‘We are no longer unprotected’ – 15/31 iconic images
Grange Hall represented past way of York County life – 16/31 iconic images.
York County Honors Choir product of proud moment – 17/31 iconic images.
Meeting of riot victims brought hope for racial accord – 18/31 iconic images.
Property rights foundational factor in Lauxmont dispute – 19/31 iconic images.
New baseball diamond serves as York cornerstone – 20/31 iconic images
Season 2 of York’s campaign to come back – 21-23 of 31 iconic images
York on knees as its men storm Normandy beaches – 24-25 of 31 iconic images
One image illustrates two long-neglected subjects in York area – 26-27 of 31 iconic images
Images explain changes in York County factories, farms – 28-29 of 31 iconic images
York County still home to unvarnished beauty – 30/31 iconic images
Latinos most recent migrant group to call York County home – 31/31 iconic images

To see the full series of iconic photos in a special York Daily Record/Sunday News publication, click here.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.

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