Given our town’s many historical links with the USA, it is somewhat frustrating that so many visitors from there don’t make it past Edinburgh. When they do venture over the Forth, they very rarely make it to our town.
(The fact that Dunfermline isn’t even sign posted is a separate source of frustration best kept for another day.)
Most are familiar with the story of Andrew Carnegie, our most famous son. Heading to America at the age of 12 and becoming the richest person in the world. Less well known are the stories of General John Forbes and John Reid.
Forbes was born in Pittencrieff House, ‘the big Orange Hoose in The Glen’, in 1707. His occupation of the French outpost of Fort Dequense during the French Indian War is what he is most famous for. That fort became the settlement of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Quite ironic that Carnegie would emigrate to Pennsylvania almost a century later.
John Reid’s story is less dramatic but as significant. He was born in Dunfermline in 1840, and emigrated to Yonkers in New York. History credits Reid as being the ‘father of American Golf’. When Robert Lockhart (founder of Dunfermline Golf Club) sent Reid a set of golf clubs, he created a course with 3 holes each around 100 yards long. The rest as they say is history.
Dunfermline’s prominence in the world’s linen industry forged strong business connections with many countries. The one with the United States was so strong that there was even an American Consulate in town. This can be seen today at the top of Buffies Brae.
Perhaps it’s time that we started promoting our town more to visitors from America, especially now that things are beginning to open up again.
Just my tuppence worth!