Have you ever dreamed of owning your own European-style castle like they had hundreds of years ago? Well, around the turn of the 20th century, Robert Snyder, a prominent businessman from Kansas City, had that very dream. After seeing the Ha Ha Tonka area on the Lake of the Ozarks, he was inspired to build his own castle, and so he started purchasing vast quantities of land in the area (2500 acres or so). Unfortunately, Snyder died in an automobile accident before his dream became a reality, but his family took over the construction project and finished the castle. The castle was gutted by fire in 1942, and in 1978 the State of Missouri purchased the estate and opened it to the public as Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
I had visited Ha Ha Tonka several years ago by boat on the Lake of the Ozarks, but we didn't hike up from the springs to the castle that day. In August 2008, I visited again, this time by car so that I could hike the area and take some pictures of the castle ruins. It was a typical August day in Missouri, so the hike around the castle and down to the springs on the wooden stairs (see picture inset) was hot, humid, and sweaty, but it was great for taking photos.
For more information about Ha Ha Tonka, visit the Missouri State Parks website.