The Civil War years saw Buffalo’s Scottish population taking national pride in the ancestral sport of curling.
In 1867, Buffalo’s Caledonian Curling Club joined the Grand National Curling Club of America – then North America’s “major league” for curling. Buffalonian David Bell served as the league’s first president.
Traditional Scots bonspiels were held on frozen lochs. The Buffalo versions were held on the lake in Delaware Park. Ontario teams from Toronto, Hamilton and Brantford regularly made the trip to Buffalo for matches.
By 1884, there were more than 70 members of the local Caledonian club, including notable names like William Sydney Wicks – partner with E.B. Green in storied Buffalo architectural firm Green & Wicks.
The matches moved inside in 1886, when the Caledonian Curling Club built their own rink at the corner of Ellicott and North streets. It was the largest covered ice rink in the city at the turn of the century and hosted other curling clubs as well as hockey teams from UB and Iroqouis, Central and Masten Park high schools.
By the 1910s, curling began to fall out of favor in Buffalo, and many of the earliest ties to North America’s first highly skilled players and teams were forgotten.