History of Curling

Many believe that Curling was invented in late medieval Scotland, exactly when and why is lost to history.
The original game was played with flat-bottomed river stones, and were not shaped in any way. 
Evidence that Curling existed in Scotland in the early 16th century was found when an old pond was drained at Dunblane, Scotland.  That stone was dated 1511, and a second was dated 1551.  The oldest written refrence is from Renfrewshire, Scotland, in 1541.
Kilsyth Curling Club claims to be the first in the worled, formed in 1716 and still in existence today.
In the early history of Curling, the rocks were simply flat-bottomed river stones that were sometimes notched or shaped; the thrower, unlike those of today, had little control over the stone, and relied more on luck than on skill and strategy.  The weight of each stone varied dramatically, and the game was played outdoors.
The Royal Caledonian Curling Club was formed in 1838.  Considered the mother club of Curling, what is now the World Curling Federation originated as a committee.
Along with the Scotts themselves, the sport spread to much of the rest of the world, with the most popularity in Canada (approximately 1.2 million of the world's 1.5 million Curlers are Canadian).
By 1830, Curling Clubs were established in the United States.
Curling stones began to be standardized in mid-19th century, and by the end of 1800's the game looked very much like the one we play today.
The sport continues to evolve today: our indoor ice is far more consistent, and "keen" ice is by far the norm, not the exception.  This has lead to changes in equipment (corn brooms to modern synthetics), to styles of play (the "take out" game and the "draw" game) and in the rules (the "free guard" rule) which all make the game more accessible and enjoyable.
Arena Curling began to gain in popularity with the 2002 Olympics.  Available year-round ice in Ice Skating and Hockey venues has fueled the growth in the U.S. since the 2010 Olympics.  Most of that growth is in places that are not known for Winter Sports: Florida, Texas, and Southern California.