Sunrise Beach, MO Friday October 25
Lake of the Ozarks was created by the construction of a dam and hydro power plant on the Osage River in 1931. With over 1100 miles of shoreline, the dam created one of the largest man-made lakes. The “lake” is narrow, curvy and has many inlets and coves, creating the long shoreline. On a summer weekend, it is estimated that there are 60,000 boats and personal watercraft on the lake over a holiday weekend.
Well, we came here in late fall. There are only a few boats on the lake that we can see. But with the trees, hills, and long man-made lake, it is easy to see why this would be a popular place in the summer. We will spend three nights here, probably hiking in state parks most of the days.
Lake of the Ozarks is not far from St. Louis. We made three stops on our journey here today. The first location was the Daniel Boone home. This was his home later in life and where he died (in 1820). Those of you who know your history will remember that he was born in PA, came from North Caroline over the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and Tennessee before moving even further west. The historic site is owned by Lindenwood University. They manage it and have brought in about two dozen other historic homes to present a village of that time period.
Our second stop was the town of Hermann. To reach it, and the Daniel Boone site, we drove along Missouri Highway 94. This narrow two lane road parallels the Missouri River through bluffs and river bottomland. Vineyards and wineries dot the bluffs.
German immigrants settled this area. They came from Germany seeking freedom and chance to own their own land. Germany at that time was governed by numerous small fiefdoms and life was rigidly control. Hermann was a center for the Germans and still reflects much of that heritage, although that heritage seems likely to be replaced by winery tours. German food is now only served in a few restaurants.
Our third stop was the state capital in Jefferson City Missouri. We took a guided tour of the building. When the capital was built, they mandated that a portion of the building include a history museum. We found the museum quite enlightening. For instance, we did not know that Missouri was a major lead mining state. The section of the museum regarding the Civil War was also illuminating. The state of Missouri itself resembled a little Civil War. Secessionists and unionists contended for control the state. Missouri had been a slave state and bloody skirmishes over the Kansas-Missouri border began a decade prior to the Civil War.
One room in the Capitol was particularly dramatic. Murals on all four walls had been painted in the 1930s. The murals reflected the social history of Missouri. They were created by Thomas Hart Benton. The murals alone are a Missouri history lesson, the good and the bad.
The drive from Jefferson City to Lake of the Ozarks was quick. We had hoped for a dramatic photo opportunity. The location we chose was a scenic overlook by the dam creating the lake. However, electric power lines made the photo less than desirable.
We are staying at a family owned resort in Sunrise Beach. The resort is called Sunset Inn. The town of Sunrise Beach is primarily located on the west side of the lake, thus sunrises are more prevalent. Sunset Inn is on the east side of the lake and thus are sunsets more prevalent. The inn will be closing for the season in a few days, it is fairly quiet here now.
Ed and Chris Oct 25 10:30 pm