Written by MCJ graduate on 09 Jun, 2006
Going to the visitor center and park office is a great way to start a wonderful day at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The visitor center is an outdoor interpretive area which is near the park office. You will see a large relief map of…Read More
Going to the visitor center and park office is a great way to start a wonderful day at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The visitor center is an outdoor interpretive area which is near the park office. You will see a large relief map of the park carved out of stone. But park brochures, trail maps and interpretive material are in the park office. The park office also sells Ha Ha Tonka State Park souvenirs which include, T-shirts, books, postcards, back packs, etc. This area has really nice restroom facilities too. When we were at the park office, both workers that were present were very kind and helpful. In fact, this place has a naturalist on staff to answer any questions concerning nature. I think the worker that was male was the naturalist. He overheard us talking to Rita (another worker at the park office) about a snake. We wanted to know if a snake that was hanging around our resort’s dock was poisonous. We described the colors and the design on the back of the snake and the male worker pulled out a magazine on Missouri’s snakes. We discovered the snake was not poisonous after all, in spite of what a resort worker told us.While we there, Rita gave us great advice on fishing. She told where to fish at for crappies, since she fished at this park herself. She also was very helpful on selecting reading material for our interests, which was of course, fishing. She also gave us a huge poster that displayed Missouri’s fish. And other material concerning fish such as a flier dealing with Crappie fishing and a magazine called “Introduction to Missouri Fishes”. It was distributed by Missouri Department of Conservation. It was a great read . This magazine had pictures of the fish from Missouri and a description of them; and gave additional tidbit information such as not all species of minnows in Missouri remain small throughout their lives such as the common carp. It is a non-native minnow that was first stocked in MO in 1879. Now, these minnows can get as big as 50 pounds.Besides the fish material we enjoyed here, we enjoyed reading two pretty thick magazines that the park office had. One of them is the 2006 Official Vacation Planner Missouri (The Arch at 40 Gateway to Missouri Journeys) and the other is a commemorative issue of Lake Life, 75th Bagnell Dam anniversary (1931-2006). The first magazine I mention has more businesses and things to do listed but Lake Life has great descriptions of parks and the different regions to visit in Missouri. I recommend picking these visitor magazines up, while you are at the park office.The park hours for the park grounds during the winter (off season), from November through March are open daily from 8am to sunset. And the summer hours for it (on season), from April through October, are open daily from 7am to sunset. The park gates close at sunset. The park office during the off season is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 3pm. And during the on season the park office is open daily from 9am to 5pm.The Visitor Center Area is open during the winter hours (off season), from November through March and the hours are 8am to sunset daily. The summer months and hours are from April through October, from 7am to sunset. The park is located at 1491 State Rd. D, Camdenton, MO, 65020 and the phone number is (573) 346-2986 or (800) 334-6946. Close
Written by Little Niangua on 06 Mar, 2005
Robert McClure Snyder, a prominent Kansas City businessman at the turn of the century, had a dream to create a private retreat to rival the European castles of ages past. He purchased 2,500 acres in the Ha Ha Tonka area. He then hired masons…Read More
Robert McClure Snyder, a prominent Kansas City businessman at the turn of the century, had a dream to create a private retreat to rival the European castles of ages past. He purchased 2,500 acres in the Ha Ha Tonka area. He then hired masons from Scotland and a European supervisor, the master architect Adrian Van Brunt from Kansas City, who designed the three-and-a-half story home.
A central hallway rose to the height of the building. An enormous 80-foot-tall water tower, a stone stable, and nine greenhouses were ultimately constructed on the estate. The stone and timber originated locally. The actual construction began in 1905. Unfortunately, he was slain in an automobile accident in 1906, and Snyder's sons, Bill , Jr., Leroy, and Kenneth had to complete the project. The family eventually leased the mansion to a woman who operated it as a hotel.
In 1942, sparks from a fireplace ignited the roof, and within hours the huge castle was completely gutted. The fire spread also to the stable, which was likewise burnt. The remains of the estate now stand stark and lonely at the edge of the cliff, a blackened remnant of one man's great dream.