The First Winter Resort

The history of the Winter Olympics in America begins in the tiny village of Lake Placid in upstate New York. In the summer of 1895 a New York librarian named Melville Dewey, famous as the creator of the Dewey Decimal System for classifying books, establishes a private club for academics called the Lake Placid Club. In 1904, Dewey, a winter sports enthusiast, leaves his club open for the winter season and provides his guests with toboggans and new-fangled skis – and America's first winter resort is born.

The next year the Club begins building winter sports facilities, including a ski jump and skating rink, and soon Meville's son Godfrey takes charge of the venues. By 1927 Lake Placid is such a winter sports capital that the U.S. Olympic Committee asks the Lake Placid Club to make a bid to host the Third Olympic Winter Games.

But to host the Olympics, Lake Placid still needs a bobsled run – so Godfrey convinces the New York State legislature to fund a bobsled track, then heads off to Lausanne, Switzerland, to make his pitch to the International Olympic Committee. And when no other city can make as strong a case, the IOC awards Lake Placid the 1932 Olympic Winter Games, bringing the Winter Olympics to the United States for the first time.
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