Lake Placid is a campground and retreat center owned and operated by the Indiana District Assemblies of God. It covers 85 acres, 2 miles east of Hartford City, in Blackford County, in northeast Indiana.
The focal point - Lake Placid - is a beautiful, picturesque 17 acre lake. On the grounds is a beautiful, air conditioned/heated Worship Center that can seat up to about 650 people. There is a gorgeous new (2001) Dining Hall that seats up to 450. Housing includes three main buildings as well as various sized cabins and cottages. These buildings will hold a total of 450 guests.
There are three sports fields for softball, soccer, football, and paintball; indoor and outdoor basketball courts; 9-hole disc golf and other activities. The lake has a boat dock with paddle boats and john boats. There is also a swimming/beach area with a brand new (2013) extreme slide, an inflatable climbing wall with slide (iceberg), a diving board and other water activities.
Lake Placid wasn't always like this though!!
In October of 1937, Wayne Wentz and Roy Pruden agreed to donate some 15 acres of farmland east of Hartford City, in Blackford County, for the formation of a lake.
It was formed by the construction of a 12 foot dam at the north end of a ravine on the Wentz farm. Approximately 15 acres would be flooded, including some land on the Pruden farm.The lake was to be constructed with little or no cost to taxpayers since all of the labor was to be supplied by the Works Progress Administration as part of a statewide program to conserve the water supply, maintain a more even flow of the streams, raise the water table, provide water for livestock and game, improve the landscape, and provide fishing and recreation.
It was decided that it would be an economic means for many to enjoy swimming, fishing and boating. It was also agreed that it would be a popular resort for picnics, family reunions and other social gatherings, attracting many visitors.*
Meanwhile, in the early 1940's, the Assemblies of God in Indiana had been discussing about where to hold special meetings. It had also discussed summer camping programs for the youth an children.
Volume 1, Number 1 of the Envoy (the Indiana District Assemblies of God quarterly newsletter) reported consideration of the Lake Placid grounds. The property was described as amounting to "48 acres, 17 of which are a beautiful man-made lake." "It was felt that great possibilities for the future development of the District existed in the piece of land. It provided all the necessary requirements" to develop a full camping program.
The Lake Placid grounds at Hartford City were purchased and the District was incorporated in August of 1946.
The first service was conducted on the grounds was a CA (Youth) Rally in a tent of July 4, 1947. The first Camp Meeting at Lake Placid was August 23-September 1, 1947, with W.I. Evans and George Hayes.
Even though meetings were being held, aside from the lakeside dorm, the camp was virtually undeveloped.
The first boys' and girls' camps were held in the summer of 1949 under the leadership of Irene Dedelow and Ann Frederici. The first Youth camp followed in 1950 with Howard Osgood as the Camp Evangelist.
The only buildings that were on the campgrounds the first couple of years were the combination cafeteria/dormitory. Then three more dormitories were added, the Camp Tabernacle in 1954, 18 cabins, a new bridge, the Superintendent's cottage, a two-apartments Speaker's cottage, bookstore, concession stand and cafeteria annex, six restrooms and four shower areas, a large utility and open dormitory building, a shelter house, boat dock, basketball and tennis courts, improved swimming area and a ball field. Outside drinking fountains and parking lots were also added and hundreds of trees were planted.
Little by little the property was steadily improved upon. Then, in March, 1965, 4.8 acres across from the Lakeside Dorm were purchased. A new cafeteria was built and equipped for operation in the summer of 1966. An overflow and chapel area was constructed a year later. The snack barn was added next.
Between 1966 and 1973 the improvements on the grounds slowed and came to a crossroads in 1973. At the District Council that year there was a call for a relocation of the camp grounds. A special session met on Tuesday, January 29, 1974, and voted to rescind that action, opting instead for a comprehensive development of the Lake Placid grounds.
The Envoy reported, "The consensus was that a master plan, designed to phase out the present facilities and reconstruct new facilities capable of year-round use, should be developed as soon as possible."
A major move toward year-round use of the grounds came with the building of the Activity Center in 1977. The construction of new ball diamonds had begun as well. The Sewage Treatment Plant was completed in the spring of 1978.**
Development has continued at Lake Placid in an attempt to keep the grounds and conference center a place where God is honored and children, youth, and adults can come and experience the power and presence of God. It has also been a desire to facilitate those in the surrounding community.
The Retreat Center was added in 1982, the new Worship Center in 1997, the Motel Dorm was remodeled in 1999 and the new Dining Hall in 2001. The most recent addition to Lake Placid was in 2007 when The Place was built. The Place is a home where ministers and their families are invited to come, get away, relax and enjoy the presence of God. Each credentialed minister is offered three days and 2 nights free of charge per year.
When Lake Placid was created in 1937 God had a plan and a purpose that was greater than even Wayne Wentz, Roy Pruden, or the Works Progress Administration could envision. God set in motion a plan that would use Lake Placid used for His glory as thousands of individuals, young and old, would experience real life change. Lake Placid has been and still is about God receiving glory through His son, Jesus Christ.
Throughout the 70 year history of Lake Placid, God has used so many people in so many ways.
Some special people God used in the development of Lake Placid are David and Norma Hamilton. The Hamilton's moved to Lake Placid on Memorial Day weekend in 1978. They came from a pastorate in Connersville, Indiana. David and Norma served Lake Placid and the District faithfully for 31 years.
Some other special people are Paul Davidson (planted all the trees & ministered to everyone), former Directors prior to David & Norma, and Harold & Janice Meaux who followed the Hamiltons. They came from a campground in Illinois and continued the work and the vision of Lake Placid.
Currently (2013) Jack Shiflett is the Director and his wife, Teri, is overseeing marketing and conference services. Their heart is to see each person who stays at Lake Placid experience God's presence and power. That way when they leave they can say they have had:
"Defining Moments... Changing Lives!"
* The information was gathered from a newspaper article published October 2, 1937.
** Much of this information was gathered from "The Indiana District of the Assemblies of God -- Forty
Years of Ministry.