Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ha Ha Tonka Castle

This is the "Castle" at Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, Missouri. Ha Ha Tonka is reportedly an Indian name, meaning "laughing water," given to the large spring that was the source of the old Nangua River. Although the once charming river was inundated by the creation of the Lake of the Ozarks, you can still hear the water laughing as what remains of the river rolls over rocks on it's short run until it enters the lake.

The Castle was the turn of the 20th Century dream of a wealthy Kansas City businessman who wanted to build a summer home near the spring. Unfortunately, he was killed in an automobile accident before he could finish the house. His sons finished it in the early 1920s and one of them lived there for a number of years. The house eventually became a hotel and was gutted by a fire in the 1940s. The ruins are beautiful in their own way. It is quite peaceful to wander around the ruins and gaze out over the bluffs to view the spring and the Lake of the Ozarks. I consider this park to be one of the most beautiful areas in all of Missouri that I have yet seen.

This is the back side of the house and faces dense woods. The front of the house faces the bluff. I'll post more photos later. (Click the photo to view a wallpaper sized image.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Missouri State Capitol

Looking south across the front of the Missouri state capitol building in Jefferson City on one of those wonderful, glorious late summer days that make you glad you live in the midwestern United States. (Click the photo to view a desktop sized image.)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Alton Riverfront

Here's a shot of Alton, Illinois from across the Mississippi River taken in October 2006. I was standing on what is referred to as Small Pox Island. However, this spot is not the true Small Pox Island. That island was removed during the construction of the original Lock and Dam No. 26 at Alton. Small Pox Island got its name during the Civil War. The Union held Confederate POWs at a prison in Alton. After an outbreak of small pox, infected prisoners were quarantined on a small island in the Mississippi River just above the city. It was a horrible situation and many Confederate soldiers died on the island.

The area now called Small Pox Island is not really an island at all. It's a small spit of land that holds part of the former lock and dam. There is also a memorial to the soldiers who died on the island. A granite monument bears the name, military unit and date of death for each soldier who did not make it off the island. (Click on the photo to view a larger sized image.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Art Hill @ Forest Park

You're looking at Forest Park in St. Louis. Here you can see a small part of the Grand Basin at the foot of Art Hill. On top of the hill is, you guessed it, the St. Louis Art Museum. The Art Museum is one of the few surviving buildings from the 1904 World's Fair. It served as the Adminstration Building during the fair. Art Hill was the site of the Cascades, a man-made waterfall that poured down the hill into the Grand Basin. Scott Joplin's ragtime composition of the same name was inspired by the waterfall. The hill is a popular place for lounging on sunny days, and for sledding when it snows. (Click on the photo to view a larger version.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Long and Winding Road

One my favorite Beatles songs. This is one of those rare perfect songs that instantly become a standard. (Of course, McCartney has written more than one of these kinds of songs.) It's as good as anything George and Ira Gershwin ever wrote. "Why leave me standing here, let me know the way."

Forest Park, St. Louis

It was such a wonderful Fall day last Sunday I decided to drop by to take some photos around the Grand Basin in Forest Park. The Grand Basin was rebuilt a few years ago to remind everyone what it looked like during the 1904 World's Fair. It's really quite pretty with its bridges, paddle boaters, fountains, and situation at the bottom of Art Hill in front of the Art Museum. This sculpture is one of a few made out of rusting steel that sit on lawn just on the south side of the Grand Basin. (Click on the photo to load an image size suitable for your desktop wallpaper.)