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IT'S OUR HISTORY: Explore Lake Placid’s history in poems

January 5, 2017
By CARLA EILO - Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society , Lake Placid News

This year, the Lake Placid-North Elba Historical Society is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Frances and Louise Brewster's gift of the train station.

This gift has given the Society the opportunity to preserve and present the community's history to residents and visitors.

The society has been writing and publishing newsletters for members just as long.

Article Photos

Lake Placid train station
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

In the summer 1968 edition, town/village historian Mary MacKenzie, who was the editor of the Placid Pioneer, wrote a small piece about two different poems that were inspired by our town and its beauty. In each poem, you can envision the locations that gave the authors so much joy.

"On the following pages appear two poems - one the purple prose of the middle 19th century, the other the imagistic style of the 1920's. Each in its individual way celebrates the beauty and uniqueness of North Elba.

"Each was written by a native son who was born and grew up in the town. The interesting fact is that their lives lie almost a century apart, yet their poems immediately reveal a common denominator, - a very deep, personal and exceptional love of native soil.

Dillon Osgood, the author of 'The Boundary of North Elba' was born in our township in 1819, the son of Iddo Osgood who migrated here about 1804. Dillon became our first postmaster in 1849. He was also a Congressional minister and preached on Sundays in the little red schoolhouse. He died here in 1859 at the age of 39. 'The Boundary of North Elba' was written to commemorate the setting off of North Elba from the Town of Keene in 1850. This, almost 120 years later, is its first publication.

J. Nash Williams, a grandson of pioneer Joseph Nash of 'Red House' fame, since schooldays has spent his life away from Lake Placid, mainly in Madison, Wisconsin. But Nash would be the first to say that his heart is still in the highlands. He returns at least once a year for fishing and visits with his family and the town. We are grateful to him for 'Second Best,' a fine bit of nostalgia written and published in his younger days."


Upcoming events

Please join us for our first Winter Lecture in the 2017 Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Cascade Inn with "Lake Placid Ski Trail Through History," presented by Tony Goodwin. Guests are encouraged to come early and enjoy dinner and cocktails prior to the event. For more information, please visit our website, We hope to see you there!


'The Boundary of North Elba'


From Placid's sparkling fountains,

By Whiteface's ancient side,

To where mid riven mountains

Ausable's waters glide

Through many a wildwood golden

When summer hues are seen

By highlands fair and olden

Along the line of Keene.

From hill to vale it changes,

By Edmonds Lake we wing

To where mid lurid ranges

Ausable's sources spring

'Tis there no sun-beams quiver

In dells both dark and deep

By springs of Hudson's river

Where avalanches leap.

From Keene's south peak so hoary

By Gothic's glowing spire,

Tahawas brow of glory

And kingly McIntyre.

Up Wallface heights ascending

The Indian pathway by

Where sky and cliff are blending

And mighty boulders lie.

By summits where still gushes

The Adirondack rills

Where bright Ausable rushes

Down the north-sloping hills

Yet onward where stream brothers

Pursue a westward track,

To Raquette's strand, while others

Join shady Saranac.

The Preston lakelets leaving,

Through forests grey and tall,

While Seward's crest upheaving

Peers grandly over all.

Still onward by state order,

By devious Ampersand,

By Franklin's lovely border

To woody St. Armand.

From Saranac's green valley,

By Ray's sequestered plain,

The ground of Red Man's Rally

When his the wide domain.

Again through woodlands wending

By granite cliffs once more,

Romantic heights descending

To Placid's tranquil shore.


'Second Best'



I'll never see

The sun go down again

From Hennessy's grand height,

Now that I am old;

Never again

Her shaggy peak again

To lie down


Never feel

The heart pound,

The blood race

Nor the water streaming down

my cheek;


I'll never watch the shadows


The brown ribbon of the lake

In one huge gulp,

Nor see

The tiny patch of red that


Our House

Blotted out,

Nor the drifts of snow

On the Sentinels

Glow like ropes of pearls.

But I can remember, and


Now that I've grown old.



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