Monday, August 11, 2008

Robert Snyder Castle Ruins at Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Entrance to the pathway up to the Castle Ruins. The quarter mile pathway is paved and provides splendid views of the Spring and the Lake of the Ozarks which lie 250 feet below.

Informational panel on the Castle Ruins with pictures of the Castle before the fire and the story of the Robert M. Snyder family who built the castle.

Old picture of the Castle before the fire (as seen on Missouri State Park Panel pictured above).

Bedroom in the castle (as seen on Missouri State Park Panel above).

Living area of Castle (as seen on Missouri State Park Panel above).

Robert McClure Snyder (as seen on Missouri State Park Panel pictured above).

Entry into the Castle (as seen on Missouri State Park Panel pictured above).

Dining area of Castle (as seen on Missouri State Park Panel pictured above).

View of the Castle on fire in 1942 (as seen on the Missouri State Park Panel pictured above).

View from the first "turn out" on the walk to the Castle Ruins. Below is the "Niangua Arm" of the Lake of the Ozarks. Construction of the Castle began in 1905, construction of the Lake of the Ozarks began on August 6, 1929 and wasn't completed until April 1931.

The turn outs provide stunning views of the countryside. The lower glass panels make it easy for children (and dogs) to see as well.

The view of the boardwalk to Ha Ha Tonka spring from 250 feet above.

Another view of the spring from the bluff above it.

While construction of the Castle began in 1905, it was not completed until 16 years later.

The Castle was the dream of Robert McClure Snyder, a prominent Kansas City businessman who purchased more than 5,000 surrounding acres.

Mr. Snyder was tragically killed in one of Missouri's first automobile accidents in 1906 and never saw his Castle completed.

Mr. Snyder's sons eventually completed a scaled down version of the Castle.

Mr. Snyder was apparently a self-made man, becoming wealthy through the wholesale grocery business, real estate speculation, banking, utilities and oil & natural gas wells.

Mr. Snyder wanted a European style castle and even brought workmen from Europe to help build his dream retreat.

The Castle rose over three stories high.

Notice the arched support in what would have been the cellar.


Some visitors view the Ruins. You cannot go inside the Castle itself.

The Castle grounds also included nine green houses, a stone stable and a 80-foot water tower.

The Snyder family eventually leased the house to be used as a hotel. Sparks from a chimney ignited the roof on fire. The stone stable burnt the same day.

Front of the Castle. In the foreground are the remnants of a water fountain with the pipes still protruding from the ground.

The view from the front of the Castle would have been beautiful.

Steps leading from the front of the house to the fountain area.

A visitor and her dog enjoy the view.

Side view of the Castle ruins.

Interior shot of the Castle.


This area appears to have been the Kitchen. There is an iron rod which extends across the fireplace on which to hang pots and kettles. It seems logical the kitchen would have been in the back of the Castle though no floor plan of the Castle was available to confirm our hypothesis.

It's not hard to image cellars full of wine instead of green grass.

An item in the New York Times dated January 2, 1900, stated Robert McClure Snyder was married to Sibyl MacKenzie of Boston. (I assume this was Robert McClure Snyder, Jr.) The article further noted that President McKinley and Senator Hanna sent congratulatory telegrams. Obviously, the Snyder family were Movers and Shakers of the early 20th Century.

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is located about five miles Southwest of Camdenton, Missouri.

Ha Ha Tonka became a Missouri State Park in 1978.

View of the Castle as you approach up the pathway with what appears to have been the Porte Coche.

View of the Castle as you approach up the pathway.

The stone for the Castle came from nearby quarries.

View from the top of the Bluff.

In August 2008, my husband and I visited Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, Missouri. Prior to our visit, I attempted to find information and pictures on the park and could locate very little of either. As a result, I decided to publish some of my pictures for individuals like me who may want to learn more about the park before visiting. Feel free to post your own pictures and experiences for fellow travelers.

For more information, you may also wish to visit:

http://www.mostateparks.com/hahatonka.htm

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for publishing your pictures! We have been looking for places to have a wedding in the area and your pics have been very helpful! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I just visited the park and saw the ruins. My first opinion was how awesome, and so many years ago. Would of liked to have known the fella.

Anonymous said...

In early 1986, my bother died in Alabama. He was a member of the support crew who put the science payload aboard the space shuttle Challenger. We believe he had some hard time after the accident, and never really got over it. After his death in an automobile accident, his wife, her family, and ours took his ashes to Ha Ha Tonka, where the couple had spent their honeymoon, and where he wished to be scattered. I wish to return there someday, both to honor him, and enjoy the beauty of the land.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Appreciate the effort - R. Risner

Thomas Eugene said...

just spent my 52nd birthday hiking around this grand building great place to spend the day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you again for posting this collection of pictures of the HaHaTonka Castle ruins! I, too, have been searching for pictures of the castle before the fire and have many questions! I find this a fascinating as well as beautiful subject! Such a shame that it burned! Glad to be able to view the remains, tho!

Lilspax said...

Thank you very much for your lovely pictures of the castle and the surrounding park area. I would like to correct two comments, though. First, Sibyl M MackEnzie was in fact married to Robert M. Snyder Sr. (not Jr.) in 1900. She was his third wife, and his widow following his death in a car accident in Kansas City, Mo. on October 27, 1906. Further, the castle was finished by LeRoy Snyder, not all three surviving Snyder sons. I know these facts to be true because Robert M. Snyder, Sr. is my great grandfather (I am the only remaining child of Gloria Snyder, who is the only remaining daughter of LeRoy Snyder).

Mark said...

It would be really beneficial for visitors for someone to virtually recreate the castle interior visually. I think I understand how some of the interior was laid out, but am not sure. Thank you for these outstanding photos.