Hwy 5 going north from Camdenton passes through some very scenic
areas. The highway crosses the Niangua arm of the Lake 9 miles north
of Camdenton and then the Osage arm at 14 miles. Both bridges were
designed to provide an optimum view. The McClurg Ferry transported
cars across these waters before the bridges were built in 1936.
Later, it became a showboat.
Over the next 13 miles, travelers pass through the communities
of Hurricane Deck, Sunrise Beach and Laurie, on the way to Gravois
Mills. All of these settlements have sprung up since the Lake was
created except for Gravois Mills-it was platted in 1884. Near there,
Josiah S. Walton built a water-driven gristmill in 1835. In 1870,
the Hume brothers built a woolen mill in the area and in 1895, as
Webster purchased the property. He added a sawmill and built the
stone dam that forms the Troutdale Fish Hatchery, still in operation.
The view downstream from Hurricane Deck as it appeared in 1930
when the basin was being cleared for the Lake. The faint line of
hills 4 miles distant is where Lovers Leap and Old Linn Creek lie
along the banks of the Osage River. The name Hurricane Deck comes
from a 1.5 mile long slice of high bluff along the Osage.
Eight caves in the area have been open to the public at one time
or another since 1932. The first to be commercialized was Jacob’s
Cave, north of Gravois Mills, on TT. Discovered in 1875 by Jacob
Craftcraft, a lead miner, the cave is noted for its variety of beautiful
formations and remains open today.
One of the first fishing camps established in the Hurricane Deck
area was Lone Oak Point. The entrepreneur, while boating on the
Lake, saw the point of land he wanted to develop, but had to walk
the woods until he found it, because there were no roads. Sverdrup
and Parcel, Consulting Engineers, St. Louis, designed the Hurricane
Deck Bridge and the Niangua Bridge in 1936. The Hurricane Deck Bridge,
which cost $655,000, was a toll Bridge for several years with a
40¢ fee for auto and driver, 70¢, round-trip.