It was 1889, also the year in which Hamilton Park first became a challenge for two-legged thoroughbreds, staging the Scottish cross country championships.
The Lanarkshire racecourse carved a treasured niche in athletics, hosting the first international match (which became the world championships) in 1903, and the 1952 world event. Only seven times in the 40 years to 1968 was the Scottish championships staged elsewhere.
But now, after a 45-year absence, cross country returns to its roots, with the West District Relay Championships being staged there today. More than 600 athletes from 57 clubs will be involved.
The venue has been graced by some of the greatest names in endurance athletics. Alf Shrubb (11 world track records at Ibrox) won the first cross country international race in 1903, when the course led through the grounds of the Duke's palace. The 1952 winner was Alain Mimoun, 1956 Olympic marathon champion. Jimmy Flockhart of Shettleston (today's organisers) - a rare Scottish winner of the international championship - was twice a national winner there in the 1930s. The 1950 Empire Games six-mile silver medallist Andy Forbes was another champion there, as was 1966 Empire Games marathon gold medallist Jim Alder and 1964 Olympian Fergus Murray.
Senior champion last time the Scottish was held at Hamilton 45 years ago was Lachie Stewart, Commonwealth 10,000m champion in. "It holds a special place in my heart," says Stewart who will present today's medals. He won the Scottish boys' championship there in 1958 - the only time his father saw him win. "I was 15 at the time."
Ian McCafferty was another iconic Scot to cut his teeth there - youth crown and two junior titles - though the event had moved on before he took senior gold. McCafferty, who claimed 5000m silver behind Ian Stewart in a memorable tartan one-two at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, was one of the greatest Scottish talents ever to lace up a spike.
McCafferty and Stewart rate Hamilton one of the great international venues, and hope today's revival is just a start. It has been a long time coming. An attempt was made to bring the world event back to Hamilton in 2003 to mark the sport's centenary - the 1903 course was still available. The late Brian Goodwin, secretary of the Scottish cross country body, was thwarted on cost grounds a decade ago and did not live to see the event come to Edinburgh in 2008. Yet it was he who inspired the world race's return to Scotland, in Holyrood Park.
Coincidentally, Goodwin's brother, Billy, won youth and junior titles at Hamilton in the 1950s.
McCafferty's junior victory at the 1964 International cross country in Dublin was by one of the widest margins ever, 25 seconds. He was the first home Scot to break four minutes for the mile, leading the Stewart brothers, Ian and Peter, inside four minutes with a Scottish record of 3min 56.8sec on cinders.
When Stewart and McCafferty did that Commonwealth one-two, they beat world record holder Ron Clarke and Olympic 1500m champion Kip Keino, running the third and fourth fastest times ever, but the 1972 Olympics were a disaster, as McCafferty acknowledged this week. "I felt my energy had run right out my body. I'd never had that feeling before, and it had to happen in the Olympics. I'm not saying I could have won in Munich, but I thought I could take a medal." He finished 11th, 24 seconds outside his best.
McCafferty considers breaking the four-minute mile barrier on just a year's training for the distance as his greatest achievement. "That was something special."
Without doubt the Games remains a bitter disappointment, underpinned by the fact that he has not sought tickets for Glasgow 2014. "My video of the race is packed away. I have only watched it twice. I should have won. I think about it, and people stop me in the street, the doctor's surgery, and that race is brought up. 'You could have won it.' Everybody says that to me. But I didn't, and that's it.
"I gave up, maybe 30 metres from the line. I should have kept going. I might have won it. I don't know. If it had been run the following week it might have been a different story. But it's history now."
Maybe, yet his time 43 years ago is still the Scottish native record, best in Scotland by a Scot, as are Jim Alder's marathon time and Lachie Stewart's 10k time that week in July .
"It does not say much, does it?" says McCafferty, by way of commentary on those since their era. "We had to do a full-time job, and did not have the shoes or technology available now."
He got into the sport by accident. "Somebody asked me to go along to Motherwell YMCA and in my first full season I won everything on cross country and road. I wasn't interested in track at that time. I loved cross country. The first time I went to Hamilton I looked at that racecourse, and was taken aback, but it was one of the best venues I ever ran at - world championships, everything. I'd run the national championships there every year."
He was offered a scholarship at Kentucky University where world 1500m record holder Jim Ryun was a student. "Sometimes I regret not taking that up, but that's in the past."
So disappointed at the Olympic experience, he quit aged 28 and turned professional. He was immediately banned from amateur athletics. "I tried the pros for the experience, not the money," he says, "though I was well paid. That lasted just a year. I was just trying to wind down from the hectic time I'd had."
He jogged until he damaged his back, aged 46. "I was a driver and took a patient into casualty at Law hospital - a big heavy guy. He slipped and I tried to catch him. I had physio for six months, then loads of X-rays. I wondered why so many. They told me after it was all clear that they thought I might have had a tumour."
Now 69, and retired, most recently from charity work, he and his wife, Betty, have five Yorkshire terriers, and 50 years after his first national title, at Hamilton, he says: "I would still give a helping hand if scottishathletics wanted."
For all his knowledge, the sport has never approached him, Alder, or Stewart, to do any coaching. "I think that's to the sport's disadvantage. I don't say we'd be the greatest coaches, but the knowledge absorbed travelling the world, I am sure we could have passed on a lot."