At the August 2017 Inlet Historical Society’s Annual Membership Meeting at The Woods Inn, I presented a program about The Neodak Lodge. My research was augmented by Kathy Tortorello, Diane Tyrell and Marylou Arps, granddaughters of Roy and Emma Rogers, who generously provided me with Rogers family information and photographs. That program and its supporting content became the foundation for this history. Also, this is an updated version of the article printed afterwards in the Adirondack Express.
What is the origin of the word Neodak? Three authorities use the term. Two indicate it as the first part of a Cayuga (Iroquois Nation) town name, Neodakheat, in western New York. The third considered the name as typical usage of Native American-sounding names in the Adirondacks, giving Nehasane Park and Neodak Lodge as examples.
A 1927 account about the New Neodak Hotel claimed that Native Americans in the distant past routinely landed at the Head of Fourth Lake and named it “Neodak”, meaning “good location” or “head of the lake.” According to a 1941 report, sixteen Rochesterians representing the “Cayuga Tribe” made the “first” of planned annual pilgrimages to the burial ground of Chief Neodakis (?), “famous Adirondack tribal leader of the 18th century.” Following a ceremony and a steak dinner, the group concluded festivities with an evening “indian circle” council fire, featuring stories, songs and “tribal games.”
Later, a traditional Neodak Lodge event would have a “chief Neodakis” meet the steak roast boat at an Eighth Lake location where a ceremony included the taking of a volunteer female guest as an “indian wife.” Participants sang and danced around a large tree and the Neodak staff treated them to a wonderful feast. Then, wearing headdresses and paint on their faces, they returned on the Osprey to Sixth Lake Dam where they were transported to the Neodak.