VIEW| The Cottage, America’s greatest gin mill, circa 1960

The Cottage, the waterfront bar at Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake Inn, hides behind this red-sheeted sailboat in a postcard that dates to about 1960.

The Cottage, America’s greatest bar (read: our favorite hear at, is what I hope Heaven turns out to be. It’s the perfect spot for morning-after Bloodies, for lakeside happy-hour gin-and-tonics and late-night Scotches.

But before it was a bar, one that survived a fire in 2008 and celebrate its 33rd birthday, the center of Lake Placid’s action was a guest suite for its parent, the Mirror Lake Inn. In my years at the tiller of the Lake Placid News, the community’s weekly paper, I spent many long hours immersed in Olympic Village history and ephemera. I’ve sorted through reams of post cards, mostly from roughly 1885 to 1935, but certainly some from the 1950s and 1960s. Still I’d never seen this one.

When this photo was taken, around 1960, the Inn was still lovingly run by the Wikoff family. It was very much an old-fashioned, country sort of place. The structure that would become the Cottage would have been a swell little building with views across Mirror Lake of the sprawling Lake Placid Club complex and, beyond, the Great Range. The Club is long gone, of course, but the same views of the High Peaks can be had any day at the Cottage.

The photography of this card is striking. With its almost Technicolor feel, it simultaneously evokes the work of Slim Aarons and the Kodak Coloramas that once dominated Grand Central Terminal’s east gallery.

Terrific stuff.


2 Responses to “VIEW| The Cottage, America’s greatest gin mill, circa 1960”
  1. Clarke says:

    it’s quite amazing the build-up post this photo. What was rather serene, is now bordered by comercial monstrosities

  2. admin says:

    That’s a good point. The Condos that are between the Inn and the Lakeview Building at the Hilton would ruin this photo were it taken today. Plus there’s that other boathouse closer to to town.

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