Wednesday, August 31, 2005
HaHa Tonka - Laughing all the way
Anyone would get mesmerised by the name of the place and so were we. This was one of the reasons why we wanted to visit the HaHa Tonka state park located maybe 50-60 miles off Rolla. The Council of Graduate students decided that as a great start to the semester, it would be befitting to start off with a nice little picnic and so the place decided to be Haha Tonka.
I got this information from the University website.
In 1904, Robert Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City, MO businessman, was so impressed with the natural beauty of the location that he purchased around 2,500 acres of the land for use as a resort. Synder originally started out in St. Louis and worked in the wholesale grocery business. He later moved to Kansas City where he became involved with the wholesale grocery business, banking, land speculation, and utilities. Snyder owned the Snyder Gas Company of Kansas City and was one of the first automobile owners in that city. In his business dealings, Synder was always said to operate with honor and integrity. Construction on Hahatonka Castle started in 1905. Snyder dreamed of a resort built to resemble the finest of European castles. In order to fulfill his goals, he hired Scottish stonemasons and a European supervisor to complete the project. The entire resort consisted of a 3.5 story castle, stone stable, nine greenhouses, and an eighty foot water tower, all built of locally acquired stone and timber.
The name Haha Tonka stems from the fact that the Osage Indians referred to it as the Laughing waters. We had to trek to the castle ruins. Ruins I say because the castle was guttled in flames in the year 1942. The castle was short lived as it was built in 1922. The beauty of the castle is not awe-inspiring. It is the pathway to the castle that is laid with breathtaking sceneries. Natural springs, nice pathways, lush green, blue waters, a sea of boats engulfed in the lakes and the huge college crowd, made it an exciting and easy walk for us up the hill. We were around 60 of us and the trek was not as easy (just like any other). The (dis)advantage of the places here are the fact that it is not like in India where if you are refering a place to be a trek spot, it is surely going to be a tough shot. The pathways are etched to perfection with signboards placed at regular intervals. Once you reach up the hill, there is no necessity of climbing down since beautiful roads make our work easy. We had our refreshments - soda, chips, burgers, doughnuts, honey coated buns and then drove our way back to Rolla.
Overall it was a fun-filled day of trek and basically getting to know a lot of fellow mates.