Camdenton, Missouri: Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka Team Field Report

Ha Ha Tonka State Park

1491 State Hwy D, Camdenton, MO
At Ha Ha Tonka State Park. I-44 exit 150 (Richland). Drive north on Hwy 7 for 32 miles, then north on Hwy 5 for three more miles. Turn west onto US Hwy 54 for 2.5 miles. Just before the bridge turn left onto an unnamed road. Drive a half-mile. Turn right and drive 1.5 miles. You'll see a castle-like rock sign on the right. Turn right and drive a half-mile to the castle.
Daily summer 7 am-sunset; winter 8 am-sunset. (Call to verify)
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka. Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka
Built by a Kansas City millionaire who died before it was completed. The castle was gutted by fire in 1942; now it's a shutterbug-worthy ruin. Report...

Visitor Tips and News About Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka

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Ruins of Ha Ha Tonka

About the name: I have never visited Ha Ha Tonka, nor have I ever been to Missouri, but I may know the origins of the name. The word "Tonka" is a Dakota word meaning "great." I know this because I live on a large lake in the suburban Twin Cities named Lake Minnetonka, and go to a high school by that name (Fun fact: Tonka trucks are originally from here and named after the lake). All the local histories I have read consider it as coming from the Dakota name "Mni tonk a" meaning "great water."

As for the Ha Ha part, I believe that is just the English language imitation of laughter, used to give the name a pseudo-Indian sound. Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis is sometimes translated as "Laughing Water" because of this (It really means "waterfall," apparently). So the name "Ha Ha Tonka" works out to be "Great (or Big) Laughing," which is very nonsensical! I don't really know if the origins of the name matter or not, I just thought it might be interesting.

[Bailey, 03/24/2014]
Ruins of a castle. Ruins of a Castle

Beautiful and fun to try to think of stories about the place from the architecture and markings in the ruins. Be sure to check out the water tower.

[Divinydistant, 07/15/2012]
Ruins of a Castle

The best part of Ha Ha Tonka State Park is the remains of a castle. Strange to see in the middle of Missouri.

[Rudy, 06/30/2012]

The castle was built by a Kansas City millionaire named Robert Snyder, who died before it was completed. A stray spark from one of the castle's many fireplaces turned it into a gutted ruin in 1942 -- but now it's a picturesque ruin.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Big Indian (Happy Halfwit gone)Big Indian (Happy Halfwit gone), Lake Ozark, MO - 17 mi.
Route 66 MuseumRoute 66 Museum, Lebanon, MO - 22 mi.
Smallest Bank in MissouriSmallest Bank in Missouri, Long Lane, MO - 26 mi.
In the region:
8-ball Water Tower, Tipton, MO - 47 mi.

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March 28, 2015

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