Prior to the 18th Century the land which is now Kingussie lay at the head of an immense pine forest, hence the name Kingussie (pronounced King-you-sea derived from the Gaelic Ceann á Ghuibhsaich which means the head of the pine wood). During the last 200 years the forest has been progressively destroyed.
The original and main site of settlement in this area was at Ruthven on the opposite bank of the river Spey to Kingussie.
The Duke of Gordon decided to build a new village at Kingussie near the Parish church of St Columba built in 1792 to replace one at Ruthven . “The Duke of Gordon. ……will give every degree of encouragement to Tradesmen, Manufacturers and Shop-keepers who may be inclined to settle there.” ran an advertisement in four issues of the Aberdeen Journal from 21st of January 1799 to 11th February 1799. Attempts were made to establish tweed and linen textile manufacture making use of the local waterpower.
The opening of the Highland Railway in 1863 transformed Kingussie from a small hamlet into a prosperous town that steadily gained a reputation as a healthy, holiday resort. In 1867 the village became a Police Burgh, thus creating the only town in Badenoch.
1909 saw the construction of the United Free Church – the time when there was a breakaway movement from the Free Church and in 1932 the Catholic Church and house were built. 1909 also saw the opening of the Kingussie Post Office on Spey Street (it is now housed on High Street) and the Parish Church Hall (now the Iona Gallery).
No history of Kingussie would be complete without a mention of Am Fasgadh , the Highland Folk Museum. It is one of the most important of its kind in Scotland. Founded in Iona by Dr I F Grant who had with great foresight started a collection of artefacts used by our forebears. A decision was taken in 2008 to rehouse the artefacts at a purpose built building to be situated in the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore. www.highlandfolk.com
For an extended version of this historical record visit the Kingussie website.