About the SOA
The SOA was founded in 1893 for the purpose of preserving the quality of the Lake shores and water, while keeping the Lake safe for transportation and pleasure. The history of the Association is long, and filled with examples of its commitment to the preservation of the Lake. The organization was instrumental in saving surrounding forests and watershed from logging; took a leading role in fire protection along the lakeshore; and maintains a consistent water level for all who use the Lake. The mission is to preserve the ecology, and scenic beauty of the Lake by:
- Maintaining the level of the Lake through continued ownership and maintenance of the outlet dam.
- Maintaining water quality by controlling invasive species; testing Lake water and tap water; assisting homeowners with septic system pumping and safety; and disseminating information on the use of fertilizers.
- Promoting navigational and water safety by building awareness of boating regulations and by monitoring navigational lights and marker buoys.
- Promoting fire safety by identifying all residential properties on the Lake for emergency purposes.
All owners of lakefront properties are invited and encouraged to join the Association and to become active in the mission to protect and preserve Placid Lake and the shorefront. The organization is managed by a Board of Trustees elected by the full membership at the annual Board Meeting each July. All members are invited to attend.
SOA Origins and History
The SOA got its start in 1892 when a group of shoreowners, displeased with the lake’s seasonal water level fluctuations, organized to secure the purchase of what is now known as “the dam,” which was constructed in 1846 to supply power to Peru Steel Ore’s iron works. The following summer, on July 18, 1893, the SOA was officially incorporated.
In 1901, the SOA rebuilt the wooden structure into a masonry dam to conform to an agreed upon lake level. The venerable dam stood the test of time until needing to be rebuilt in 1994, with funding coming from the SOA’s cash reserves and contributions from the Lake Placid Land Conservancy (formerly the Placid Lake Foundation).
The dam was far from SOA’s sole effort at improving life on Lake Placid. The Association maintains the bridge across from Outlet Brook, which was replaced in 1994 and subsequently dedicated to SOA member, honorary trustee and longtime chairman of the docks and dam committee, Harry W. Voege.
For many years the SOA maintained the navigation marking system on the lake, first with SOA flags and oil lamps, and later with electric and battery powered lights until the New York State Conservation Department, and later the Department of Environmental Conservation, undertook the task in 1969.
The SOA has taken a leading role in fire protection along the lakeshore since 1900, when the Association installed a fire pump on the steamer Doris before providing its own fireboats, the SOA I and SOA II. The SOA also distributed reflective number plates for each camp dock to aid fire and rescue personnel in the event of an emergency.
The SOA’s commitment to preserving Lake Placid’s beauty and quality extends to protecting land and forest protection surrounding the lake. Several members have extended their land holdings for the express purpose of keeping the shore free of logging. The Association was involved in the 1915 amendment to the Constitution of the State of New York which authorized a $10,000,000 bond for the acquisition of lands in the Forest Preserve, as well as additional acquisitions of Mt. Alton and the Mt. Whitney range in 1921 and 1925 to complete the protection of the forests and watershed surrounding Lake Placid. The SOA has also been instrumental in the state acquisition of lands on Buck Island, Moose Island and the Peninsula, among other smaller properties on the shorefront.