Ha Ha Tonka State Park
|Ha Ha Tonka State Park|
|Missouri State Park|
The "castle" ruins at Ha Ha Tonka
|Area||5.8 sq mi (15 km2)|
Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a state park in Missouri, United States, located about five miles south of Camdenton on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. The area has several caves, sinkholes, and bluffs overlooking the lake. It is a prominent example of karst topography, which is geological formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock. The most notable feature of the park is the stone ruins of a mansion, nicknamed the "castle," because it was modeled after later European castles from the 1500s.
The Ha Ha Tonka castle was started by Robert McClure Snyder (Senior) in 1905. He was a Kansas City businessman who purchased the area which was known by Native Americans in the area as "ha ha tonka" which supposedly means "laughing waters," alluding to the springs below the castle. Unfortunately, he was killed in an auto accident in 1906 and the castle was completed by his sons Robert Jr., LeRoy, and Kenneth in the late 1920s. It was used as a hotel until it was destroyed by fire in 1942. The State of Missouri purchased the castle and grounds in 1978, and opened it to the public as a State Park. The water tower and castle have been partially restored since then.
There is an observation point across from the Post Office where one can view the "castle" and the water tower, which was repaired in 2004, with a new roof installed. The state park is on a road used by locals to commute to work and the speed can be high; for the safety of visitors there are hiking trails to get to the caves and the castle, and walking on the road is not recommended.
The band Ha Ha Tonka (previously Amsterband) is named after the park.
- Official Site
- Ha Ha Tonka State Park Blog
- Hiking and Photography in Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka State Park
- State Park Offers Trails, Woods, Caves, and a Castle
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