3,700 acres of Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri, USA, is a haven for hikers and nature lovers. The park has a fascinating selection of sinkholes, caves, and a natural bridge, among other intriguing features.
However, its centerpiece is undoubtedly the Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins. The place gives visitors a sense of time travel. As though they’ve stepped out of 21st Century Midwestern America, into Medieval Europe. Its sandstone walls, arched windows, and hollowed-out interior, may confuse visitors and they may think that this structure was somehow shipped over the Atlantic to Missouri, in the 16th Century.
The building stands on top of a 250 ft cliff and overlooks a lake. It features a ballroom and a roof three stories high. Also, an 80 ft water tower was built on the bluff, with the servants’ living quarters beneath its tanks.
The castle is the inspiration of Kansas City businessman Robert Snyder. In 1905, he commissioned a mansion to be built in the style of an old European castle. With the help of his attention to details and an extreme wealth, he employed stonemasons from Europe, in order to mimic the style correctly.
Unfortunately, Snyder didn’t get to enjoy the result, since he was killed in a car crash. However, his sons to oversaw the construction, until it was finally completed in 1922. One of the sons took up residence there, but because of money issues, he turned it from a home into a hotel. Finally, a fire turned it into a ruin, in 1942.
In the 1979s, the building was bought by the state. It has overseen the upkeep of it ever since.
A ruin may be all that remains, but the building still offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into what once was a mansion. And the centuries-old European style evokes eerie feelings.
Camdenton, Missouri, 65020