The Waltham Curling Club, founded in 1884, is the oldest curling club in Illinois. Located in the tiny village of Triumph near I-39 and just north of I-80 in LaSalle County, the Waltham Curling Club offers fun for the entire family. The club offers leagues for men, women, and children ages 8 and up. They provide group opportunities to learn to curl, and new members are welcome, with or without curling experience. The curling season runs from early November through late March.
The indoor facility in Triumph includes three lanes of groomed ice. Curling involves sliding a 42-pound polished granite stone down a 150-foot lane on a two-inch sheet of ice. Other members of the team, called sweepers, then use brooms to try and warm the ice and change the direction the stone is heading. The target is the center of a bullseye, or button, and the team closest to the button wins that end. Each team throws eight stones per end (like a baseball inning). Curling is generally referred to as ‘shuffleboard on ice’, although it involves more strategy and can be called ‘chess on ice’ as well.
In addition to being accommodating to men, women and children of all ages, memberships at Waltham are incredibly reasonable at just over $200. The sport is known for its ‘socializing,’ and postgame activities with a cold drink are commonplace. In fact, the club offers a ‘Mug Club’ membership, where members are entitled to a personalized drinking mug and beer refills for under $200 for an entire season.
Curling is a sport where all members of a family, young and old, can compete at the same level. Curling clubs in the Chicago area are private and can cost thousands of dollars per year, making Waltham even more unique and available to everyone.
The beginnings of the Waltham Curling Club are traced to immigrants from Scotland that brought the sport of curling to Waltham Township in the mid-1800s. Curling began outdoors on local ponds and standing water in farm fields frozen by winter weather. The club was established in 1884 by John Currie of Scotland. The club moved to Triumph in 1937, with curling still taking place on natural ice. The ice field was covered by a lean-to shelter and an old chicken house was used as the clubroom. The present building in Triumph was erected in 1940, and the use of artificial ice indoors began in 1954. The sport experiences a boom every four years during the Winter Olympics as television viewers become fascinated by the sport and want to try it out.