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OLYMPIC HISTORY: Scrapbook reveals Uihlein’s contribution to Lake Placid’s Olympic beginnings

March 19, 2015
By ALISON HAAS , Lake Placid News

Our staff at the Lake Placid Olympic Museum recently rediscovered a scrapbook dating from the 1910s to the 1920s, and we were fascinated by what it revealed.

The scrapbook was created by Henry Uihlein II, and we found it again in our archives while undergoing an inventory of the collections. This treasure reveals a new story of how Lake Placid became a mecca for winter sports.

More importantly to the public, it was recently digitized and uploaded to the New York Heritage Digital Collections website, newyorkheritage.org, and is now able to be browsed in its entirety.

Article Photos

International Amateur Ice Skating Championships, 440 Heat, 1920
(Photo by Lake Placid Olympic Museum)

As you flip through the pages of the book, it becomes evident that Henry Uihlein, a businessman, had a passion for speed skating and was a proud supporter of Lake Placid's area youth, including skater Charles Jewtraw, the 1924 Olympic champion. The gold medal Jewtraw won in the 500-meter race is currently on display in our museum.

History always gives credit to Godfrey Dewey, president of the 1932 Olympic Winter Games, but Henry should no longer be overlooked and is equally important to our story.

The album is a unique collection of beautiful black and white photographs, articles, and objects relating to the speed skating world around Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. When our staff first looked through the scrapbook, we were amazed to learn that largely through Henry Uihlein's efforts, Lake Placid gained world-wide recognition when Uihlein brought the village's first international event in 1920 when they hosted the International Outdoor Speed Skating Championships.

Funded by the Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation, our staff along with the Northern New York Library Network worked together to digitize the scrapbook to help preserve the contents found inside. This document provides a unique record of Lake Placid's history, and we are in the beginning stage of planning an exhibit to be installed in the spring of 2016. The exhibit will feature content found within the scrapbook and focus on the hard work and dedication of Lake Placid's winter sports pioneers and speed skating.

If you would like to learn more about this project and the stories of speed skating in Lake Placid, please visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum on Main Street. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 
 

 

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