Lake Placid, NY, hosted both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. It is not only the home of the Miracle on Ice but the only place in the USA to have hosted a Winter Olympics twice.
Originally, the area where modern-day Lake Placid is located was called The Plains of Abraham, (not to be confused with the Plains of Abraham in Québec). It doesn’t seem to be known who came up with this name.
Later, in 1809, the Elba Iron Works were established creating industry in the area which lead to the town’s growth, and in 1849 a post office was established with the name North Elba.
The first use of the name Lake Placid for something other than a body of water appears to be in 1878 when a second post office was established with the name Lake Placid, and in 1900 the village of Lake Placid was incorporated.
Where does the name Lake Placid come from? It comes from the nearby lake, Lake Placid. And why is Lake Placid, the lake, called Lake Placid? I don’t know. The first mention of Lake Placid is on a map of Township 11, Old Military Track prepared by Stephen Thorn, State Surveyor, in 1804. At the time there were already settlers living in the area and we must assume that it was some of the first settlers in the area that named the lake. It seems that the name of the person who first named Lake Placid is lost to time, but we can guess that the lake is named for being a quiet and peaceful place.
For those of you hockey fans, here’s the last few minutes of the Miracle on Ice for you:
Thanks to Beverley P. Reid, Historian of the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society for her help in finding some of the information here, especially the origins of the name of the lake Lake Placid.