Lake Placid

Photo by Cliff (flickr)

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 Qu├ębec). 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.

Hell's Gate

The water at Hell's Gate, BC
The rapids from the airtram. Photo by Gregory Melle, (flickr)

Hell’s Gate is a narrowing in the Fraser River, in British Columbia. The Fraser is a very large river, and by the time it reaches Hell’s Gate, a few hundred kilometers from its mouth, there is a lot of water flowing through the river, 200 million gallons per minute at high water. With all of this water flowing through the river, the Fraser Canyon narrows so that the river is only 110 feet, (35 meters), wide, creating an incredible whitewater attraction that is nearly impassable by water.

It was first discovered by Simon Fraser who wrote in his journal “surely this is the gate of hell” hence the name Hell’s Gate. Today you can ride an airtram out over Hell’s Gate and see the power of the water for yourself.

Scuzzy Creek

When looking for information about Spuzzum, I ran across this photo of the sign for the Scuzzy Creek Forest Service Road in British Columbia.

The entrance to the Scuzzy Creek Forest Service Road
Photo by Robert Park

Scuzzy Creek is a creek in British Columbia that joins the Fraser River just upstream of Hell’s Gate. From some extensive Googling, and from its general location, it appears that Scuzzy Creek was panned for gold during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.

I have found two very different versions of the origins of the name Scuzzy Creek. This web page says that Scuzzy, (or the word it may come from, Scaucy – also the name of the Indian Reserve right beside Scuzzy Creek), means jump or jumping, so Scuzzy Creek is probably named after its waterfalls. However, it may also be that Scuzzy Creek was named after the sternwheeler Skuzzy, the first steamwheeler to successfully navigate through Hells Gate.

Update May 23, 2011: Jasmine asked for a map. This appears to be the mouth of Scuzzy Creek.