Angola – Welcome to Lakeland

Welcome to Lakeland! More than 100 lakes of year-round fun and frolic grace charming Angola’s country roads, but sing their sweetest melodies in summer. Jump in – the water’s fine!

Located in Pleasant Township, Angola is the county seat of Steuben County, with a population of 8,612 at the 2010 census and was founded by Thomas Gale and Cornelius Gilmore on June 28, 1838.

This destination community is home to Trine University, Cameron Memorial Hospital, Pokagon State Park, top-notch restaurants, shopping areas and nature preserves.

Residents will tell you the most popular landmark downtown is The Monument of four statues commemorating the Civil War – each figure represents a branch of the military and stands sentinel over the traffic roundabout. It cost $17,000 in 1917, which would be equivalent to more than $1,000,000 if it were built today. Inscribed on its plaques are the names of the 1,278 men from Steuben County who fought in the war, and each July 4, The Monument is rededicated. The Steuben County courthouse (National Register of Historic Places) stands across the street.

According to Christina Koher, executive director of the Angola Chamber of Commerce, the best part about being in Angola is the community is “extremely supportive and loyal to its local businesses. Our residents take pride in our town and patronize our small businesses, whether retail shops, consumer services or restaurants. It helps our community thrive and keeps our dollars local.”

For those who are interested in Civil War re-enactment battles, check out the Interactive Heritage History Group (260) 668-3943; www.angolacivilwardays.com) which will present “Skirmishes from the Battle of the Crater” at Commons Park on Sept. 26-28.

And if your interest is further back – wayyyy back – there is always the Angola Renaissance Faire (www.enchantedlakesfaire.com; (260) 665-9920), held at Enchanted Lakes each June, with fantasy characters and garb. Horses and armor-clad knights are used for exciting jousting matches.

Take in the multiple farmer’s markets in Angola, bursting with summer flavors and colors. Or load up your wallet and prowl the Outlet Shoppes (260) 833-1516; www.horizongroup.com) at Fremont (just a hop, skip and jump away), which is a deep discount outlet mall with 30 stores.

Nature is alive and well at Pokagon State Park (260) 833-2012; http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2973.htm) with its beautiful Potawatomi Inn and restaurant fronting Angola’s largest body of water, Lake James. Go horseback riding, camping, swimming, fishing, birding, hiking, rent a boat or participate in other fun activities there. And with the winter from hell we last slogged through, you may not be ready to hear this, but the most thrilling cold-weather activity is the quarter-mile, refrigerated twin-track toboggan run that races between 35-40 mph. Not a toboggan fan? Go downhill or cross-country skiing, sledding, ice-fishing or snowmobiling.

Visit Trine University’s attractive campus (260) 665-4100; www.trine.edu/) and peruse the idea of going back to school yourself or sending your kids there.

This September plan to be on the beach to view the exciting 12th annual Pokagon State Park Indiana Seaplane Fly-In by the Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association (260) 424-5371; www.seaplanepilots.org). Mike Boose, a longtime resident of Angola with wife, Paula, and son, Robert, is a nurse coordinator at Community Living, Inc. and owner of MPR Catering. He and his family enjoy the annual Balloons Aloft (260) 316-8577; AngolaBalloonsAloft@gmail.com), Pokagon, Fall Fest, Captain’s Cabin, Caruso’s restaurants and more.

“We live on a farm and grow our own veggies and love the country atmosphere here,” said Boose, a Fort Wayne native. “I originally came up here for a job interview 23 years ago as a favor for a friend, thinking I’d always work and live in Fort Wayne but I ended up taking the job and moving up here. I look forward to 23 more years in beautiful Angola.”

And the lakes – ah, the sparkling waters – Crooked Lake, Snow Lake, Hogback, Clear, Fox and dozens of other lakes that shine in summertime offer swimming, water-skiing, fishing, tubing, paragliding, canoeing, kayaking and whatever your heart desires.

Trishia Stites, formerly of Fort Wayne, and her mother Susie Yarnelle, of Yarnelle Farms in Fort Wayne, purchased their gorgeous Crooked Lake cottage in 1995 and then Stites and her husband and two children moved there full time in 2008.

They researched which lake they wanted to be on before they even started looking at cottages, according to Stites.

“We had several requirements and Crooked Lake was the best fit for us and our family. Living in Angola has so much to offer. It’s a small town in the off-season, but then swells enormously in season.

“And we love the quietness of the town and the lake during the week and love the increased activity at peak times. Living here allows us to enjoy the best of everything that lake life has to offer. We get to stay here all week when most people are packing up on Sunday afternoons.

“Angola has every convenience we need and all contained in a small vicinity. I can go to the grocery, bank, post office and cleaners and be done in an hour!”

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