Lake Ariel is an unincorporated community in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, United States. It was once the site of an amusement park. The main intersection is dominated by Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, lake elementary school, and the Howe Convenient Market. Located in northeastern Pennsylvania, Lake Ariel was founded by settlers with the name of Jones, and thus was once known by its people as Jonestown. Although it began as a couple of family farms, Jonestown soon expanded due to the Pennsylvania Coal Company's Gravity Railroad. It brought workers and soon businesses were needed to fulfil their needs, including a post office named Ariel, which would later lead to the change in name of the community.
The center of Lake Ariel is the setting of most of the community's businesses, although there are numerous others. Lake Ariel also contains many churches and religious institutions. St. Thomas More's Catholic Church is located in the center of the community, while several Protestant churches are located at various places in the community.
Western Wayne's newest school, Evergreen Elementary, opened August 31, 2011. It is located on Route 191 between Lake Ariel and Hamlin. The school replaced Lake Ariel Elementary and Hamlin Elementary and houses Pre-k through 5th grade. According to the Western Wayne School District website the projected cost of the school was $18 million. The new facility is the premier 'green' school in the state. The school attained the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Certification for its use of geo-thermal heating and cooling, and solar and wind energy.
Lake Ariel Park:
Lake Ariel Park was a major destination for many in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the late 19th century through the 20th century, Lake Ariel has had various thriving businesses. There were numerous sawmills, and Lake Ariel also had different factories such as a cheese factory and a chair factory. Many locals also held jobs at the ice houses and Lake Ariel Park. Lake Ariel Park was a major tourist area for the community. It contained a pavilion for picnics and dancing. There were also rides such as a waterslide, a rollercoasted called the Cyclone, carousels, and miniature train rides. The park also had a beach where visitors could go swimming or boating. The owners of Lake Ariel Park also purchased an airplane so that their visitors could pay to get rides in the plane.
The Lake Ariel Park also led to the increased popularity of the Lake Ariel Hotel which was formerly known as the Columbia Hotel. The Lake Ariel Hotel still stands today but it is not in good condition and is no longer a business. Unfortunately, the Lake Ariel Park had a worse fate. Due to summer hurricanes and bad winters the park had to be closed down in the early 1950s. Some businesses did withstand the test of time. John T. Howe started his gas station 1919, the business was passed down to his son and is still in business today. It now is called Howe Convenient Market. It is a gas station and store but it is not in the original building. Another business that had a few changes but is still running today is the Wayne Garage. It was built in 1915, making it the oldest business in Lake Ariel. After it was sold to new owners in 1958 it was changed to a body shop and remains one today.