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Discover the Ariel Broadway Hotel, a historic destination that is 100% women-owned and minority-operated.

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Ariel Broadway Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2022, dates back to 1925.


Located in the picturesque community of Lorain, Ohio, the Ariel Broadway Hotel has been a cherished local landmark for nearly a century. While the structure stands today as a prestigious historic hotel, it was originally built to be a beautiful commercial complex at the height of the Roaring Twenties. Lorain itself was an affluent city at the time, filled with many bustling storefronts and office spaces. Nevertheless, the community’s prosperity experienced a significant setback when a massive tornado landed in 1924. A number of buildings were lost, including several on one of Lorain’s central thoroughfares known as “Broadway.” Undeterred, countless entrepreneurs began to reconstruct the city over the next few months. Among those individuals were the staff at the Argyle Company of Cleveland, which bought a lot along Broadway just weeks after the incident. Genuinely interested in helping Lorain recover, the Argyle Company of Cleveland specifically envisioned developing an innovative facility that could house many local businesses. Construction officially began a year later following tense negotiations with the bank over financing. The company’s lead architect, Ernest McGeorge, subsequently worked alongside the Drummond-Miller Company to create the building. Together, the team gradually crafted an ornate, Neoclassical structure that quickly dominated Lorain’s skyline. In fact, only three other buildings in the city could match its size, making the edifice one of the largest of its kind throughout the whole area!

People quickly rented all its available commercial space when the structure finally debuted as the “Broadway Building” in 1926. Indeed, the Broadway Building contained everything from a popular bowling alley to an upscale restaurant. Even its upper floors were home to branches of numerous government agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Unfortunately, the structure gradually lost its luster after new “strip malls” started opening during the 1960s. Its sagging popularity soon turned into a crisis, with only half of its apartments occupied by the following decade. Municipal leaders even considered demolishing the historic Broadway Building, but it was soon listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, which protected it. A couple hoteliers then thankfully acquired the site in 1988 and renovated it into a luxurious boutique hotel called the “Spitzer Plaza Hotel.” The new business then emerged as a fixture in the community until its own closure in 2005. Left vacant again, Ariel Ventures (100% women-owned and minority-operated) eventually obtained the building and started its own ambitious restoration toward the end of the 2010s. The work proved to be very comprehensive, taking a full three years to complete. Aerial Ventures nonetheless succeeded in its goal, reopening the Broadway Building as the extravagant “Ariel Broadway Hotel” in 2020. Now a member of Historic Hotels of America, the Ariel Broadway Hotel has since become one of the most impressive destinations to visit along the coastline of Lake Erie.

  • About the Location +

    Native Americans first inhabited the site of modern-day Lorain millennia ago. Arranged in many tribes—including the Erie, the Huron, and the Delaware—the indigenous people lived as hunter-gatherers for generations. They also prospered as traders, exchanging animal pelts with French colonists from Canada. But over time, the area fell under the political authority of England and its 13 American colonies. King Charles II specifically assigned the region to Connecticut Colony as part of a much larger land grant that stretched the length of the continent. Connecticut retained nominal control over the location for many decades thereafter, even when the United States won its independence following the American Revolutionary War. During the 1780s, Connecticut surrendered most of its territorial claims to the federal government in exchange for the assumption of its wartime debts. Nevertheless, it held onto a three-million-acre section near the coastline of Lake Erie that soon became known as the “Western Reserve.” The Connecticut government subsequently split the Western Reserve into two distinctive halves, with the western end—called the “Firelands”—exclusively designated for any state resident who had lost property to the British. (The other half existed without any limitations.)

    Connecticut nonetheless encountered more fiscal problems in the wake of the American Revolution, namely the finances related to its ambitious public education program. To remedy the situation, the state assembly decided to sell its right for the Western Reserve to a group of real estate speculators called the “Connecticut Land Company” in 1795. They proceeded to divide the land into segmented townships arrayed in uniform plots. General Moses Cleaveland acted as the main surveyor, who gradually established the framework for the region’s interlocking systems of towns and villages. (In fact, one of the first—the future City of Cleveland—was named in his honor.) Settlers from New England—mainly Connecticut—and New York began to settle the Western Reserve, which turned into a deluge once it was absorbed into the new state of Ohio at the start of the 19th century. Many liked the area’s rich farmland and proximity to Lake Erie, making it one of the most desirable places to live in the nascent American Midwest. Indeed, a number of communities quickly formed in just a matter of months, leading to the development of counties like Cuyahoga, Medina, and Huron.

    This population growth eventually spawned Lorain County, too, which became home to communities like Avon, Vermillion, and Elyria. (The name “Lorain” was supposedly an attribution to the French province of Lorraine.) One of those villages, Black River, appeared along Lake Erie. Like many of its neighbors, the village remained deeply connected to agriculture. But after the American Civil War, Black River—as well as the rest of Lorain County—quickly became the home to all kinds of factories and warehouses. Among the most prominent were The Hayden Brass Works, the Lorain Thew Shovel Company, and the Johnson Steel Rail Company. Most of the businesses were located downtown, specifically along a corridor called “Broadway.” The prosperity attracted hundreds of new people from across the nation, increasing its size dramatically. Black River had grown so much that its citizens reincorporated it as an actual town called “Lorain” in 1874, and then as a full-fledged city several years later. The community could even boast some of the finest public infrastructure available at the time, such as gorgeous cobblestone roads and electric street cars.

    Lorain’s economic success endured for many years, even after a destructive tornado significantly impacted the city in 1924. Indeed, Lorain continued to entertain many businesses, including a few prominent corporations like the Ford Motor Company and the American Shipbuilding Company. This fantastic historic community is now host to a thriving tourism industry driven largely by its own heritage and surrounding geography. It has many fascinating cultural attractions to experience, including its coastal lighthouse and Black River causeway. Perhaps its greatest historic site is the Charles Berry Bridge, reputed to be the second largest bascule bridge in operation throughout the entire world. Lorain County itself also has a family-friendly environment that should entertain visitors for days! It has some 20 miles of Lake Erie shoreline to explore, which features some of the best fishing in all the Great Lakes. Modern travelers enjoy the rural, small-town atmosphere of the many other charming communities, too. For instance, the historic village of Oberlin is just 12 miles away from downtown Lorain. Oberlin is specifically the site of an incredibly historic university called “Oberlin College.” Founded in 1833, the school was the first educational institution to grant degrees to women and African Americans in the nation.

  • About the Architecture +

    The Ariel Broadway Hotel displays a brilliant blend of Classic Revival-style architecture. Also known as “Neoclassical,” Classic Revival design aesthetics are among the most common architectural forms seen throughout the United States. This wonderful architectural style first became popularized at the World’s Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1893. Many of the exhibits displayed architectural motifs from ancient societies like Rome and Greece. As with the equally popular Colonial Revival style of the same period, Classical Revival architects found an audience for its more formal nature. It specifically relied on stylistic design elements that incorporated such structural components like the symmetrical placement of doors and windows, as well as a front porch crowned with a classical pediment. Architects would also install a rounded front portico that possessed a balustraded flat roof. Pilasters and other sculptured ornamentations proliferated throughout the façade of the building, as well. Perhaps the most striking feature of buildings designed with Classical Revival-style architecture were massive columns that possessed some combination of Corinthian, Doric, or Ionic capitals. With its Greco-Roman temple-like form, Classical Revival-style architecture was considered most appropriate for municipal buildings like courthouses, libraries, and schools. Yet, the form found its way into more commercial uses over time, such as banks, department stores, and of course, hotels. The celebrated architectural firm McKim, Meade and White produced some of the most noteworthy buildings that utilized Classical Revival architecture, with most of their work appearing during the early 20th century. Examples of their portfolio can be found in many of American’s major cities, such as Philadelphia and New York City.