About 5 miles from Windermere is Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The park is a treasure of various features: A former castle, natural arches, sink holes, and lake front. We went today.
The castle was the dream of Robert McClure Snyder. In 1904, he purchased Ha Ha Tonka Lake and Spring in Camden County and immediately began constructing roads and making extensive improvements. He once said, "Here I will spend my leisure, secure from the worries of business and the excitement of city life. I will fish and loaf and explore the caves of these hills, with no fear of intrusion." The above is an aerial view of the ruins of the castle and below is rendering of what it looked like before the fire. In the foreground is the two-level carriage house which had places for horses and cars.
Snyder maintained ideals for which he was recognized, never failing to accentuate the importance of family values. In a personal message to his son Robert Jr., he encouraged him to "lay down for yourself principles of truth - of honor - of self respect - and of unselfishness - and do not violate them - thus will your life be a success and a pleasure to you and every one who knows or meets you." It was said that Snyder's business dealings were honorable and his name was synonymous with commercial integrity. His tragic death, one of the first automobile fatalities in Missouri (he was thrown out of the car when his driver swerved to miss a child who ran into the path of the car).
Above is the water tower for the castle. Below, Doug is at the beginning of the trail - a short walk to the castle sitting on the high bluff.
Once the Bagnell Dam was put in 80 years ago, the water started to fill behind it creating Lake of the Ozarks. The Lake of the Ozarks measures more than 90 miles in length and has several tributaries supplying it. The lake's somewhat skinny serpentine shape has earned it the nickname "The Magic Dragon." In total, it has over 1,100 miles of shoreline. Robert Snyder never got to see the finished castle due to his death in a car accident. His three sons finished the castle as a hotel. The castle burned in 1942 when a staff person lit a fire in one of the fireplaces and an ember caught the wooden shake roof on fire. All that is left is the sandstone shell.
We saw lots of skinks running around. A lot of people mistakenly call them salamanders. They are a type of lizzard. Below are some interesting clusters of moss growing on the walls.
Next we headed to one of the larger karsts (a natural bridge formed through water erosion). Doug took these interesting photos. Note the couple having a picnic lunch under the arch.
Then we headed down to lake level and took some photos looking up at the castle ruins. You can hardly see the castle for the trees that have grown up on top of the bluff.
- Nada and Doug
- Welcome to the travels of Doug and Nada. We love the Lord and are traveling full-time in our motorhome with our German Shepherd, Homer. Homer is the star attraction wherever we stop and he gets us talking and sharing with many people. DON'T FORGET: YOU CAN ENLARGE EACH PHOTO BY CLICKING ON THE PHOTO! The newest blog post is at the top and they go back in time as you scroll down. If you want to see each photo larger, you can just click on the photo and it will enlarge. If you decide to leave a comment, don't forget to sign it so we know who left it. ;-) Folks: This site is under continual construction as we travel and see this beautiful country. Check back for more updates and photos. Thanks for visiting with us! May God bless your day!