01.27.14

Curling Sweeps Back to Hoboken, New Jersey

Posted in curling, North American History at 8:44 pm by admin

This week Hoboken, New Jersey’s waterfront is hosting the “Hoboken Huddle,” billed as a food and fun-filled event for Super Bowl 2014 attendees, city residents, and anyone else interested in the event’s varied offerings.

Interestingly, curling, the centuries-old sport of the stone and broom serves as the Huddle’s featured attractions. Beyond the Super Bowl, curling enthusiasts hope that showcasing the sport at the Huddle will help promote public awareness of the somewhat obscure pursuit in the weeks leading up to 2014 Sochi Olympics, where it has been officially part of the winter Olympics program since the 1998 Nagano games.

Although curling and Hoboken, New Jersey may seem like a curious combination, in actuality, the sport and Hoboken share deep-rooted historical bonds. In fact, in the late 1800s, an enclosed rink on the corner of Grand and Twelfth Streets served as the home of the New York Thistle Curling Association, at the time one of the United States’ premier curling clubs.

On January 14, 1893, the New York Herald reported that the Thistle’s “old fashioned house warming” celebrating its “new club house adjoining the rink,” had attracted “fully four hundred curlers” the previous day. According to the Herald, highlights of the gala opening included a match comprised of curlers from “[a]ll the prominent clubs in the East,” including a contingent of “old-time curlers” who were purportedly “over seventy-five years of age”. After the match concluded, the festivities wrapped up with an evening dance. (“A Gala Time for Curlers,” New York Herald, January 14, 1893, 8).

The Hoboken rink, among the first in North America to install electric lights, also hosted a variety of skating events including a “national medal” match between the John o’ Groat and Empire Curling Clubs and the National Amateur Skating Association’s annual figure skating championship in January and February 1893 respectively (“The Thistles are Good Curlers;” “General Sporting Notes”).

Three years later, in January 1896, the New York Herald related that “curling ‘stanes’ [were once again] humming in every direction from early afternoon until nearly midnightat the Thistle Rink and provided its readers with the following account of the day’s activities:

During the afternoon a point competition was held between members of the Thistle Club. The prize, a handsome gold medal, was carried off after a spirited contest by Robert Lander, who retired from the rink with the creditable score of 20. In the evening a spirited match for a beef and greens dinner was played on rink No. 1 between members of the Excelsior Curling Club. Mr. Detrich’s team was victorious by a score of 17 to 8, and last night they partook of an old time Scotch dinner at the expense of Mr. Clayton’s team. There was also the annual match between the president’s and vice president’s team of the St. Andrew’s Club. The president’s team was victorious after a close contest, winning by a score of 10 to 6. On rink No. 3 a scrub match between members of the Thistle Club was held. It was hotly contested from start to finish, and won by Lander’s team, who turned in a score of 19” (“Curling at Hoboken. Robert Lander Won the Point Competition after a Hot Contest,” New York Herald, January 11, 1896, 11).

As the above historical snippets attest, the Hoboken Huddle marks a long overdue homecoming for a sport that played a role in Hoboken’s history more than a century ago.

References

“Curling at Hoboken. Robert Lander Won the Point Competition after a Hot Contest,” New York Herald, January 11, 1896, p. 11.

“General Sporting Notes,” New York Herald, January 30, 1892, p. 9.

Griffith, Janelle. “Super Bowl 2014 Fan Guide: Events in Hoboken.” NJ.com, January 8, 2014, updated January 14, 2014. http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/01/super_bowl_2014_hoboken_parties.html (accessed January 24, 2014).

“The Thistles are Good Curlers.” New York Herald, January 30, 1892, p. 9.

 

 

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