"We are always coming up with the emphatic facts of history in our private experience, and verifying them here. All history becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history; only biography." From 'Essay 1: History' by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

This new web site has been created by a 2013 Formation Committee to answer the question: "Who is, or was, Robert Dollar?

That question might be followed by another: "Why should I care who Robert Dollar is, or was?" Ralph Waldo Emerson (quoted above), was a contemporary of Robert Dollar, and in this instance Emerson points us towards the biography of Robert Dollar if we want to know about Falkirk of today, because during Falkirk's yesterdays Robert Dollar helped to create the town that you presently help to populate. Your Falkirk was Robert Dollar's Falkirk.

Okay, in case the purists yell at us, we admit that we don't know whether Emerson knew Dollar, but our point is that if you live or work in the Falkirk area of Stirlingshire, Scotland, then you have probably stumbled across one of the many gifts that Robert Dollar gave to Falkirk. If you have walked down the High Street and heard the sound of the bells ringing out tunes from the tower high above the Old Parish Church - the 'Faw Kirk' - then you have heard the sound of a gift from Robert Dollar. If you and or your children have ever walked or played in Dollar Park, then both you and your children enjoyed another gift that was given to the people of Falkirk by Robert Dollar. There are many other examples that could be cited, and yet, today almost no one seems to know anything about this philandthopic son of Falkirk, and that is sad.

The 2013 Formation Committee wants to bring his memory back to mind by the creation of a Robert Dollar Commemorative Association. Will you join us?

Return to the continuing slideshow at the top of this page

A Falkirk Bairn

Robert Dollar was born in Falkirk, Scotland on 20th March 1844. He was the son of William Dollar, a timber yard manager of a saw mill that was located on the canal and just off Graham's Road. His mother was Mary Melville and she died when Robert was nine. In 1848 he left Scotland for Canada where he began work at a very early age.

Although Robert Dollar began his own business enterprise in lumber, he began to concentrate upon building his own shipping line which eventually linked China and Japan by trade with North America. So strong were his links of friendship with the very top of the Chinese and Japanese governments, that Robert Dollar never dreamed that militarists would be able to take Japan into a second world war, especially since Japan had been an alley during WWI. Robert Dollar died in 1932, just as the clouds of a second world war began to form. Robert Dollar was a positive man; a creator of new ventures and a builder who tried to improve life for everyone following in his footsteps. To that end he also developed his own philanthropy which he shared with the people of Falkirk. When he died at the age of 88, his last home which he had named 'Falkirk' and located in San Rafael, California; was turned into a cultural center.

By January 2013, his memory had long since slipped from public memory in Falkirk, Scotland and no attempt was being made to honour this wonderful human being for all that he gave us. We remember people like Andrew Carnegie who gave Falkirk a library on Hope Street, but we forget that Robert Dollar began the first public library in Falkirk at the YMCA building on Newmarket Street. Andrew Carnegie and Robert Dollar were contemporaries who both remembered where they were born, but we have unfortunately only remembered Andrew Carnegie who was not even born in Falkirk. We had forgotten Robert Dollar who is a Falkirk bairn. The time has now come in 2013 to revive our memory of Robert Dollar - because he remembered Falkirk.