[HOME]    [HISTORY]    [FILM]    [MEDIA COVERAGE]    [PRESS INFO]    [FOLLOW US]

SMALL TOWN, BIG DREAMS

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.
NEXT: The Games Arrive >