In My Back Yard
"Ha Ha Tonka"
Robert McClure Snyder, a prominent Kansas City businessman at the turn of the century, had a dream to create a private retreat to rival the European castles of ages past. He hired masons from Scotland and a European supervisor. The architect, Adrian Van Brunt from Kansas City, designed the three-and-a-half story home.
A long with the home an enormous 80-foot-tall water tower, a stone stable, and nine greenhouses were constructed on the estate. The stone and timber originated locally. The actual construction began in 1905. Unfortunately, Mr. McClure was killed in an automobile accident in 1906, and Snyder's sons, Bill , Jr., Leroy, and Kenneth had to complete the project. The family eventually leased the mansion to a woman who operated it as a hotel.
In 1942 disaster struck - sparks from a fireplace ignited the roof and within hours the huge castle was completely gutted. The fire spread also to the stable, which was likewise burnt. The remains of the estate now stand stark and lonely at the edge of the cliff, a blackened remnant of one man's great dream.