The sport of curling, well-known to most in our area even if one has never yelled “Sweep!”, captured the world’s attention during the Olympic Winter Games in February 2014. Curling clubs in such unlikely places as Palm Beach, Florida, and Bakersfield, California, have organized in the past couple of years. People have added new words to their vocabularies, words such as “bonspiel” and “hammer”. Now, in the depth of winter, is the high season of curling for participants and spectators.
Curling developed in the early 1500s in Scotland. It has long been called “the roaring game” for the sound the curling stone makes as it travels over the “pebble” – the droplets of water that are applied to the game’s sheet of ice.
For many years, Joe and I drove to Stratford, Ontario, each summer or fall to attend the brilliant theatre festival there. Soon after we would cross from Port Huron, Michigan, into southern Ontario, we would pass through the pretty little village of Ailsa Craig. We wondered about that name. Then one year I ran across it in an article about curling. It turns out that the founder of the Ontario village of Ailsa Craig, a member of the Craig family, named the village for the family’s namesake island off Scotland’s coast. The granite quarries on that island produce most of the “official” curling stones in the world. (The others came from a Welsh quarry.) It takes a special type of granite to become a curling stone.
Canada is a hotbed for curling. It is from our good neighbor to the north that we in the northern tier states inherited our love of curling. There’s even a romantic-comedy movie called “Men with Brooms”, directed, written by and starring one of Canada’s favorite actors, Paul Gross, about a curling team that reunites after a decade apart.
Hibbing has a long history with curling, dating back to North Hibbing. Our current Memorial Building, built in the 1930s, included the Curling Club from the beginning. Curling, from 1969 to 1977, was sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League. Hibbing High School’s boys’ team won the state title numerous times in those years. Mr. John Coshingnano, who taught business classes, was the long-time successful coach of the program.
The following article comes from the Hibbing Daily Tribune on December 7, 1918, just a month after the First World War had ended. Plans are beginning for the town of Hibbing to move south. But at least some residents had their minds on other things – namely, curling.
~ Mary Palcich Keyes
Curlers Slow to get Started
Few curlers have thus far registered their names with the games committee and in order to get the preliminary games under way, the “rock pushers” are asked to sign up immediately.
The first rink to register is the Hawley rink composed of Ledeaux, Posten, Belanger, and Hawley.
Ice making is now the sole object of Richard Giffin who has been named ice-maker for this year. Mr. Giffin hopes to have the ice in shape for curling either Monday or Tuesday.
The President-Vice-President curling games will be started Tuesday if sufficient entries are in.
The following article appeared as an editorial in the Hibbing Daily Tribune on January 26, 1967. It appeared alongside another editorial which celebrated the diversity of recreational opportunities in Hibbing. It reminded readers that, “It is a proven fact that a strong recreation and parks program, along with adequate parks and playgrounds facilities to support such a program, is essential to the health, growth, and success of any community.” The editorial goes on to encourage all of Hibbing’s leadership groups to continue to support the recreation programs with adequate funding.
The sport of curling has made a comeback in Hibbing this winter. Interest has returned to where it was a few years ago and for many years before that. There are more than 50 new members in the Hibbing Curling Club this year, bringing the membership back again beyond the 300 mark.
It has been fortunate for neighboring curling clubs in Buhl and Chisholm that Hibbing experienced the revival in the “roarin’ game” or else their bonspiels this month might have been hurting. Fifteen of the 32 entries in the Chisholm bonspiel were from Hibbing. A similar situation existed for the Buhl event.
It’s Hibbing’s turn this weekend to host a bonspiel, the Dunbar Memorial. It begins tonight and continues through Sunday with a field of 48.
Some of the best rinks in northern Minnesota will be competing in the Dunbar bonspiel, along with dozens of club or “booster” rinks. Some very excellent curling is assured.
While the Dunbar is being curled in Hibbing, the best of the women curlers in Minnesota will be competing in Chisholm.
So the curling enthusiasts will have plenty to stay busy with this weekend!
The following items are taken from the Hibbing Daily Tribune or the Mesabi Ore, which are on microfilm at the Hibbing Public Library and/or Iron Range Resource Center at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.
Aug. 14, 1958
The march of time waits for no one. Can you imagine that from a faculty of 75 members in the Hibbing High School in 1938 only twelve are on the faculty now? Can you realize that 65 % of the staff of the school at the present time are men?
July 1, 1964
More than 500 people attended the performance of the Rochester Ballet Company at the Hibbing High School auditorium, sponsored by Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. The company of 33, under the direction of Bernard Johnson, presented a program of three ballets.
Jan. 13, 1967
From Bert Ackerson’s column:
The Tribune received a telephone call Wednesday from somebody at Central Laundry. That “somebody” had found some false teeth in front of the laundry building. So, if you’re missing your false teeth, a telephone call to Central Laundry will enable you to eat again.
Nov. 26, 1979
The Drama Club is presenting the play “Look Homeward, Angel” on Nov. 29,30, and Dec. 1, in the high school auditorium. The play is based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Wolfe, and takes place in North Carolina in the fall of 1916.