"Castle", Ha Ha Tonka State Park, MO
The "castle" was built by Robert McClure Snyder, wealthy self-made businessman. Snyder, impressed by the beauty of the lakes, springs and bluffs, purchased 2,500 acres in 1903. On the top of the highest bluff he decided to build a European style mansion. He envisioned 9 (or 10) greenhouses, a watertower and carriage house and a castle-like mansion. He hired Scottish masons to do the stonework. The mansion was
designed by a Kansas City architect, Adrian Van Brunt.
The construction began in 1905, but it stopped soon: Snyder died in a car accident in 1906. Heirs of Snyder finished the mansion in 1926 but they couldn't enjoy it: the family fortune was soon gone. A luxury hotel operated in the castle but in 1942 it burned to the ground by accident. The fire also destroyed the carriage house. The place was completely abandoned and vandals torched the watertower in 1976. Two years later the state of Missouri bought the estate and the ruins and transformed it into a
state park. The water tower was reconstructed and the forest and lakeside were saved from the real estate agencies.