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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What? More Curling Stones Lost in WWII

We published an article in March 2013 about the apparent loss of curling stones destined for The Detroit Curling Club.  We tried to prove that this old story at The Club was more fiction than truth.  You can read that story by ClickingHere.

On December 20, 2014 a member of the Wausau Curling Club posted a comment to the above article:  “Interesting, a similar story has floated around the Wausau Curling Club only that we lost stones destined for Wausau... maybe somebody lost some somewhere... but who?”   This person suggested that we read the History of the Wausau Curling Club House, Hack and Hog Line published in 1986, page 19: 

…”Some stories claim that America’s entry into the war was hastened by the sinking of an English freighter carrying a full load of Scotch whiskey and a set of matched curling stones destined for Wausau.  Unfortunately, we cannot verify this because the minutes of the years when this alleged to have happened are missing.  It makes a nice story, however, and we will do nothing to debunk it.”

On page 20 a story about a new facility continues: …”With 4 sheets of ice available…something had to be done about stones.  Thirty-two pairs were ordered at the end of 1946, and the club started a “stone fund”.   … The new stones arrived in time to start play in 1948.”

Seems strange that the club lost stones before the war and then raised money and ordered a new set long after the war.  So, we did a little investigating in old issues of The North American Curling News.  The February 1, 1947 issue contained a very detailed article New Quarters of Wausau Curling Club by Lee Duncan, Secy.  We will reprint some of the article below.
“The club’s new quarters are in Marathon Park.  The building was designed by Ing Horgen city park supervisor, and Charles Symmons, president of Marathon county agricultural society.  Both men are directors of the curling club. 

“In 1946 President Plier and others began to mull over the problem of what to do with an increasing membership particularly when the supply of available curling stones was diminishing rapidly.  Individual members had seen the alleged advantage of owning their own stones and had bought up all unclaimed stones and were purchasing new stones as rapidly as they were received.  Members began removing the handles from the stones and locked them in boxes, thus denying new members the privilege of playing the game.

“President Plier conceived a plan whereby the individuals owning stones would lend them to the curling club until such a time as 32 matched sets could be obtained… The membership voted to purchase all available stones.  As a result the club now has 32 pairs of stones allocated to the four sheets of ice, matched as well as possible…the stones are numbered as to position…”

A second article from the January 1, 1949 issue declares:  Jealous?  Wausau Curlers Inspect Matched Stones.  “…members are shown inspecting their 32 new sets of matched stones – ordered two years ago.  The club, boasting 160 curlers and four sheets of natural ice is pointing to record year.”
We apologize to those who would prefer to believe the old stories, but this myth-buster feels that the Scotch stone sinking sub never existed…though we would really like to find out if there is another club out there with a similar story.

Best of curling to all,
Angus MacTavish

1 comment:

  1. Bill Hunter from Kay's of Scotland has reported from across the Pond that he, too, has heard a similar story but that it was during WWI and not WWII. also, that the ship was a cruise liner and not a cargo ship. .....,,more to come