200@200 : September — Spirit of Competition
late 19th century
Curling Stone
The sport of curling, which dates back several centuries, has deep roots in Northeastern Indiana. When competing in curling, a contestant ever so carefully slides a large teakettle—like granite rock on an icy surface while teammates eagerly sweep away at the ice helping influence the stone as it comes to rest at a distant down—course target.

Local businessman John H. Bass favored cattle brought to his farm from Scotland, and, in the winter, several of the Scottish men who tended his cattle enjoyed playing their native game of curling on the ice of Bass Lake, helping to popularize the sport in Fort Wayne. On January 3, 1887, members of the Fort Wayne Curling Club gathered on the ice—crusted lake at Bass' Brookside mansion to compete for a "point medal." After a spirited match, John Kidd won the competition by one point.

Years later in 1891, a "bonspiel," or curling exhibition, was staged on that same lake which is part of the present—day campus of the University of Saint Francis. On Sunday, January 18, 1953, the Journal Gazette announced that memories of that "bonspiel" would be recalled at the Memorial Coliseum in an upcoming highlight during the Komets—Grand Rapids hockey game. According to the newspaper, curling was a popular activity in the Fort Wayne area in the latter part of the nineteenth century with regular matches played at Brookside and at the old Caledonia Curling Rink located at State Street and Spy Run Avenue.

The curling stone displayed here was purportedly part of the spirited curling competitions on the lake of John H. Bass's beautiful mansion, brought to Fort Wayne by Scottish immigrants around 1870.
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Curling StoneCurling Stone
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Bass Mansion, 1930sBass Mansion, 1930s