A Complete History of Broomstones
Written by Elmer Osgood Cappers
In 1911, the Boston area introduced perhaps the greatest change to the sport of curling: for the first time in the world, a curling match was played on artificial ice made JUST for curling. The match was at the Boston Arena on St. Botoph Street, played on January 18. The first match was open to the public. There are records from the Boston area curling matches dated as early as 1835. The pond in the Boston Public Garden, Spot Pond, Fresh Pond (Cambridge), Chandler's Pond (yea Chandler) and Franklin Field all hosted regular outdoor curling matches on the frozen surfaces. Records from the hardy group included comments such as "Skip fell through the ice today but was rescued." Or "Thermometer at zero and a gale was blowing. Skip lost an ear." Or "Saturday snow. Sunday heavy snow."
The first recorded visit of Scottish curlers in the Boston area was January 1938 (they took a detour from their tour of Canada). Eight matches were played at The Country Club (TCC) in Brookline. TCC won five of the eight matches. Stone count was TCC 91, Scotsmen 72. Scotsmen established a parent organization, the Grand Caledonian Curling Club in 1838, designed to standardize equipment, rules, regulations, and conduct of play. The Grand Caledonian Club was ordained in 1843, to royal stature by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Curling had been played at Brae Burn since 1898, on a pond on the club grounds. Curling lapsed at Brae Burn when indoor ice was built at the annex of the Boston Arena. When the public arena on St. Botolph burned in 1918, The Country Club put two unused stables together and continues to this day to enjoy indoor curling.
In the early 1950's TCC established a local golf outing, inviting golfers from Wellesley, Brae Burn and Weston Country Clubs to a Summer Four Ball tournament - a very popular and well attended event. At one of those outings, the TCC Ladies encouraged the other country club Ladies to join them for the curling season. Brae Burn was re-instituted as part of the Grand National in 1952, and rented ice from TCC on Sunday night for mixed curling. Brae Burn built a rink in 1960. Wellesley Curling Club was formed within the Wellesley Country Club and rented ice time from TCC on Monday nights. Weston Curling Club formed in 1960 and rented another night,. In early 1967, when Wellesley and Weston Country Clubs denied petitions for curling facilities, the leaders decided to affiliate in the construction and operation of a new three-sheet curling rink in Wayland.
While affiliating, the clubs "planned to maintain their individual identities and separate organizations, including finances. Curling rink use would be divided equitably to permit each club full scale curling activities from internal curling to bonspiels."
The facility was chartered in Massachusetts as Broomstones, Inc. and the size of the proposed rink expanded to four sheets. On November 2, 1968, the Broomstones facility was dedicated. Use of the ice by the two curling clubs was heavy, with a large combined membership:
Family members over 35: 219
Family members under 35: 100
Single members over 35 95
Single members under 35 60
During the 1970's, all of the curling clubs in the Boston area experienced declines in membership. In 1978, the Board at Brae Burn Country Club decided to close down their three sheet facility. In 1978 Brae Burn became the third club affiliated with Broomstones, Inc.
This was a national affiliation, and the transition was smooth. For at least 20 years, the three clubs competed in mixed, men's, and ladies bonspiels, as well as inter-club friendlies. There was the men's metropolitan League, which also included The Country Club and Winchester Country Club. To this day, curlers whose home ice is Broomstones, Inc. will compete both in the USA and Canada under the Brae Burn , Wellesley, or Weston Curling Club. Internally, all curlers on Rice Road thought of themselves as Broomstones members. Application was successfully made to the Grand National to establish a fourth affiliated curling club called Broomstones Curling Club. In 1992, Broomstones became more than purely a facility. The curling program in Wayland, from membership drives to ice time was fully amalgamated.
Today, all curlers at Broomstones, including provisionals pay dues to Broomstones, Inc. Full members have the option of joining any or all of the internal clubs associated with Broomstones. Membership entitles the individual to represent that club at external bonspiels, GNCC sponsored events, and national play downs. Individual club affiliations are disregarded for intra-club events.