History of Lake Placid
The 1800s

Elba Iron & Steel Manufacturing Co. completes the ironworks facilities in Lake Placid, then known as "The Plains of Abraham." As a result, workers are attracted to the area and the population rises to about 300. In addition to agriculture, the is the main industry.


The ironworks facilities are shut down and an unusually cold summer ravishes the crops. Many of the people die or leave the establishment and the population drops to just seven people.


John Brown learns of Garrett Smith's Adirondack land grants to poor black men and proposes to relocate his family among the new settlers. Smith accepts the proposal and agrees to sell Brown a piece of property for $1 per acre. After his execution, his wife returns Brown's body to the farm. Since 1895, the farm has been owned by New York State. It is a popular tourist stop on the edge of Lake Placid.


Main Street makes its first appearance along "Joe's old cow path." Shortly thereafter, the first store is built across from the present-day Palace Theatre. 


Railroad service arrives in Lake Placid and the stagecoach era recedes into history.


Melvil Dewey, the inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, opens the Lake Placid Club. As leisure time increases in the late nineteenth century, the rich and famous are drawn to the fashionable Lake Placid. In 1906, winterized buildings open for year-round use. By 1914, Dewey has garnered the support of the community as he succeeds in creating the country's first winter resort. By 1923, through vision and true entrepreneurship, the Lake Placid club expands to 9,600 acres, with a staff of over 1,100. The club would serve for many years as the economic base of Lake Placid and enhance its reputation as a first-class resort village. 

The Early 1900s

Lake Placid becomes an incorporated village.


The telephone comes to town in and the lights come on in Lake Placid, after the town builds its own dam and electric plant. 


Lake Placid is chosen as the host town for the third Olympics in 1932; the first place in North America to host the Winter Olympic Games. One of the American heroes of the '32 Olympics, Lake Placid native Jack Shea, becomes the first person to win two gold medals in speed skating.


Voters in New York State approve construction of a major ski center on Whiteface Mountain.

The Late 1900s

Lake Placid hosts the Nordic Skiing World Championships - one of only three places outside Europe to host the event. This is the only time the event has been held in the United States in a non-Olympic year. 


A second ice rink is added to the arena to promote the town's strong figure skating program.


A children's pony club show is staged in Lake Placid. The following year, a full-fledged equestrian event takes place, which continues to the present day. The Lake Placid and I Love New York Horse Show kick off the summer season each year. 


Lake Placid becomes the third location to host two Winter Olympics. Today, Lake Placid is likely best known for these games, especially the "Miracle on Ice" hockey game when a group of American college students upset the heavily favored Soviet National hockey team. Team USA went on to win Gold by beating Finland. 


Shortly after the games, the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) is formed to mange and run all of the Olympic venues. One importnat legacy of the 1980 games has been Lake Placid's designation as the Eastern Olympic Training Center. 


In the late 80's, the Lake Placid Club is plagued by a series of fires. It is purchased by the Lussi family in the mid 1990s and incorporated into their hotel business. In 1998, what was left of the main building is demolished. If you look across Mirror Lake from our lobby, you can see the grassy lawn and rock wall where the building used to be. 


Lake Placid hosts its first IRONMAN competition. It consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. IRONMAN Lake Placid still takes place each year in July and brings international attention to the region. In addition, the old bobsled and luge track is torn down to build a new combination track that supports winter and summer sliding. Lake Placid is the National Headquarters for the US Bobsled & Skeleton Federation and the US Luge Association. 

The 2000s

Lake Placid hosts the inaugural ESPN Great Outdoor Games. ESPN likes the location so much that they host the games in Lake Placid again in 2001 and 2002.


Lake Placid native, Jack Shea, carries the Olympic Torch through Lake Placid in 2002. After his passing later that year, his grandson Jimmy Shea competes in the Olympics in Salt Lake City and wins Gold in skeleton in his grandfather's honor. 


The first Lake Placid Marathon event takes place and continues to grow annually. The Golden Arrow is proud to be the host hotel for this event.


Former governor of New York, George Pataki, pledges 20 million dollars to rebuild a portion of the Olympic arena.


The construction of the Conference Center at Lake Placid is finished and hosts its first meeting shortly thereafter. 


The inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Lake Placid takes place in September. This is a half IRONMAN race that consist of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run.


IRONMAN celebrates 20 consecutive years in Lake Placid. IRONMAN Lake Placid is the longest running North American IRONMAN event in the Continental US! 


The COVID19 pandemic hits the US and cases surge in New York State. The Adirondack region shuts down in an effort to minimize cases. Many local business are affected - the Golden Arrow temporarily closes their doors for the first time in their 46-year history. Restaurants can only offer take-out options.


The region starts to reopen and hotels start allowing guests to visit. Restaurants are allowed to serve seated guests at a 50% capacity. Major events are cancelled - including both horse shows, IRONMAN, and music series. 


Olympic Venues undergo construction and updates. The Ski Jumping Complex adds a Zipline that opened in July. A new mountain coaster is slated to open at the Olympic Sports Complex in the fall.