The start of curling in Milwaukee

Scottish immigrants started curling on frozen Milwaukee rivers in the early 1840's.  The Milwaukee Curling Club was formed in 1845 and remains the oldest curling club in continuous existence in the USA today.  Early games played on the Milwaukee River used flatirons in lieu of curling stones.  Wood blocks were also used until sufficient quantities of stones were imported.

Matches between the Milwaukee and Chicago curling clubs were conducted as early as 1878.  A group of curlers on the west side of Milwaukee curled in a dance hall when the dance floor was flooded in cold weather and those on the East Side of Milwaukee curled in a roller rink during the 1890's.

At the turn of the century, curlers built a three sheet curling shed in Riverside Park.  It wasn't until the 1940's that artificial ice was formed and this was the impetuous for the start of the Wauwatosa Curling Club.  Natural ice required strength to throw the stones the length of the sheet so with the introduction of artificial ice, this traditional “gentleman's sport” gradually added women to its participants by the late 1940's.  The nation's first mixed (men and women) bonspiel was held in 1951 at the Milwaukee Club.

Riverside Park served as the site of the Milwaukee club house until arsons burned it down (along with other neighborhood buildings) in 1968.  The club then built a four sheet facility at Ozaukee Country Club with a thirty year lease.  After extending the lease for several years, they built a new five sheet facility on the Ozaukee County Fairgrounds in 2013.  Today, there are four curling clubs in the greater Milwaukee Area—Racine, Kettle Moraine (in the Delafield area), Wauwatosa (in Milwaukee's Hart Park) and Milwaukee (in Cedarburg).

Curling clubs are currently located throughout the nation and range from a two-sheet metal shed to hockey arenas to large dedicated curling facilities.  Since the sport became a winter Olympic game, public interest has significantly increased and participation is at an all-time high.

Curling is regarded as a lifetime sport because participants range from youth to seniors.