History


Welcome to Lake Placid!

History

History:
     The Village of Lake Placid was incorporated in 1900 and is located in the Town of North Elba in the Adirondack Mountains in the northwestern corner of Essex County, New York. As of the 2000 census, the village had a population of 2,638.

     Lake Placid was founded in the early 19th century to develop an iron ore mining operation. By 1840, the population of "North Elba" (four miles southeast of the present village near where the road to the Adirondack Log crosses the AuSable River) consisted of six families. In 1845, Gerrit Smith arrived in North Elba and not only bought a great deal of land around the village, but granted large tracts to former slaves, reforming the land law and rflecting his support of abolitionism. The abolitionist, John Brown, heard about Gerrit Smith's reforms, and left his anti-slavery activities in Kansas to buy 244 acres of land, which later became known as the "Freed Slave Utopian Experiment", Timbucto. Upon his execution in 1859, John Brown asked to be buried on his farm, which is preserved as the John Brown Farm State Historic Site.

     As leisure time increased in the late 19th Century, Lake Placid was discovered by the rich and famous that were drawn to the fashionable Lake Placid Club.  Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, designed what was then called "Placid Park Club" in 1895 and inspired the village to change its name to Lake Placid which became an incorporated village in 1900.  Dewey kept the club open through the winter in 1905 which aided the development of winter sports in the area.

     By 1921, the area could boast a ski jump, speed skating venue and ski association, and in 1929, Dr. Godfrey Dewey, Melvil's son, was able to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Lake Placid had the best winter sports facilities in the nation.  Lake Placid is now best known as the two-time site of the Winter Olympics (1932 and 1980).  Lake Placid, St. Moritz Switzerland and Innsbruck Austria are the only sites to have twice hosted the Winter Olympic Games.

     Native son and lifelong resident, Jack Shea, became the first person to win two gold medals when he doubled in speed skating at the 1932 Winter Olympics.  70 years later in 2002, his grandson, Lake Placidian Jim Shea, Jr., won a gold medal in skeleton at the Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.  In the United States, the village is especially remembered as the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics' USA-USSR hockey game, the so-called "Miracle on Ice" when a group of American college students and amateurs upset the heavily favored Soviet national ice hockey team 4-3 and two days later won the gold medal.  Another highpoint during the '80 Games was speed-skater Eric Heiden's performance, winning five gold medals.

     Lake Placid built its first golf course in 1898, one of the first in the United States, and has more golf courses than any other region in the Adirondacks. Many of its courses were designed by well-known golf course architects such as John Van Kleek, Seymour Dunn, Alexander H. Findlay, and Alister MacKenzie. Craig Wood, a native Lake Placidian, was a professional golfer who won 21 PGA tour titles including two major championships, the Masters and U.S. Open in 1941 (this was the first time someone had successfully captured the first two major championships of the year). In 1954, Lake Placid honored its native son by renaming the Lake Placid Golf & Country Club to the Craig Wood Golf Club.

     Catering to the tourist industry with world class resorts and hotels, outstanding dining experiences, and unique shopping opportunities along its picturesque Main Street, Lake Placid is a year-round tourist destination where they can explore the majestic Adirondack Mountains and lakes, participate in a wide variety of non-competitive and competitive sporting events and activities, and enjoy the performing arts.

Mayors:

Mayors of the Village of Lake Placid since its incorporation:


1900-1904         John Shea         
1904-1908         Byron R. Brewster           
1908-1910         John A. Stevens
1910-1914         Frank G. Walton 
1914-1916         James B. Hurley
1916-1917         Fred Dashnaw   
1917-1918         Frank Leonard   
1918-1922         Patrick J. Hennessy
1922-1924         Frederick Isham
1924-1925         Frank Leonard   
1925-1927         Frank Fay          
1927-1929         William Feek     
1929-1933         Martin Ryan       
1933-1941         George C. Owens           
1941-1949         Luke L. Perkins  
1949-1952         Ernest G. Dodds 
1952-1953         Harlan K. Hunkins
1953-10/27/57   George C. Owens           
11/4/57-3/18/58 Ernest H. Holt    
1958-1959         William J. Hurley            
1959-1993         Robert J. Peacock
1993-1995         Shirley W. Seney            
1995-2001         T. James Strack
2001-2005         Robert T. Politi   
2005-2009         Jamie Rogers    
2009-                Craig H. Randall

Chiefs of Police:

Chiefs of the Village of Lake Placid Police Department since its inception:
1926-1933   Thomas Black
1933-1942   Francis Canfield
1942-1950   John J. Shene
1951-1966   Lawrence McDonald
1966-1972   Charles J. Prasse
1972-1986   Horace D. Pratt
1986-1988   Peter P. Zelinski
1988-1989   Gerald L. Bruce
1989-2003   Michael L. Saulpaugh
2003-2005   Larry C. Straight
2005-2011   Scott J. Monroe
2011-          William P. Moore

 

(William Younger was the first police officer of the department)

Images:
View of Mirror Lake (and Main Street) 1885
Lake Placid Club - Founded 1895 by Melvil Dewey
A Moment in Time on Mirror Lake
1932 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony
1932 Olympic Winter Games Logo
Jack Shea, Gold Medalist, Speedskating, 1932 Winter Olympics
1980 Olympic Winter Games Logo
1980 Olympic Winter Games Miracle on Ice USA Hockey Team
Craig Wood, 1941 Masters & US Open Golf Champion
Lake Placid & Whiteface Mt. in their Winter Glory
View of Lake Placid from top of Whiteface Mt.
Aerial View of Main Street @ Mirror Lake Drive/Saranac Ave.
Main Street
Main Street Flowers
Main Street
John Brown Farm
John Brown Farm in Springtime
The Ski Jumps
Skating on the Olympic Oval, Main St.
Mt. VanHoevenberg Bobsleigh Run
An Autumn Morning Row on Mirror Lake
Ironman Lake Placid Staging Area on Olympic Oval, Main Street
A LPS Summer Concert in Mid's Park, Main St.
Lake Placid Conference Center & Olympic Arenas, Main St.
The Village Park
Village Park & Beach Overlooking Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake lives up to its name
Henry's Woods; A Community Preserve
Lake Placid with Whiteface Mt. in background

 

© 2017 Village Of Lake Placid Village, Inc., Essex County