July 2006 .........

Lake of the Ozarks and Bagnell Dam:  The area that is known as "Lake of the Ozarks" became a US Territory with the Louisiana purchase of 1803. Predominant white settlements began in the 1820's. In 1912 the first proposal was made for damming the Osage river to generate electricity. Work began in 1924, but was stopped because of financial trouble in 1926. Union Electric Co. of St Louis (now known as AmerenUE) purchased the property in 1929 and began construction on Bagnell Dam in 1926. Due to the depression it was the only major construction project going on in the US at that time and it was the largest and last major dam in America built with private funds. The price tag was thirty million dollars. Construction was completed eighteen months later and the Lake of the Ozarks was born. The dam is 1/2 mile long, raising 148 feet high from bedrock and impounds 600 million gallons of water. It has more than 1150 miles of shoreline, rivaling that of Lake Michigan, and displaced  or destroyed five towns. The Osage power plant located inside the dam uses the energy of falling water to generate electricity, the plant produces no air emissions or solid waste.

Bagnell Dam

July 2006 .........

Willmore Lodge: Located just northeast of Bagnell Dam is this historic log building that was completed in 1930 at a total cost of $135,000. It was built by Union Electric, and took three months to complete. It served as an administrative and entertainment center for the mammoth Bagnell Dam construction project. It was purchased as a personal residence in 1945, and in 1996 Union Electric regained ownership of the property. It now houses a museum and the offices of the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. The lodge is a another "must see"while in the area.

Willmore Lodge

July 2006 .........

Ha Ha Tonka State Park: In 1909 the Governor of Missouri proposed the area as Missouri's first state park, but it was not to be until 1978. It is Missouri's premiere showcase of karst geology, a landscape that is characterized by sinks, caves, underground streams, large springs, and natural bridges.  Karst topography is the result of water percolating through porous underlying dolomite bedrock and causing it to dissolve. The weathering action of the water on rock after many years forms the various karst features. The park is part of the Osage River Hills region of the Ozarks, a transition area between the prairie landscape farther west and the rugged forested hills farther east. There are many hiking trails in the park, the terrain ranging from mild to very rugged. Both Daniel Boone and his son Nathan were in the area in the first years of the 19th century trapping furs.
Stone Mansion: In 1903 a wealthy Kansas City businessman purchased 5,000 acres in what is now the park and started building a European-style castle, with a center atrium rising three and one-half stories to a skylight. He also planned an 80 ft. high water tower, greenhouses and a carriage house. Construction began in 1905, but was halted one year later with his death in one of the state's first auto accidents.  His sons later finished the project. Eventually, the property was leased for a hotel, and in 1942 it was gutted by fire when sparks from the chimney ignited the roof. The carriage house burned the same day and in 1976 vandals burned the water tower.

Stone Mansion

July 2006 .........

Natural Bridge: The rock is 550 million years old and consists of sandy rock that reaches a thickness of 350 feet and contains lots of different types of rock. In the last 550 million years this rock has had a cave etched into it, then most of the roof of the cave collapsed creating a sinkhole and natural bridge.

Natural Bridge

 

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