Tucked away in the Elk River Hills of the Ozark Highlands, Ginger Blue Resort was occupied by Osage Native Americans for over a century. Shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, railroads expanded through the area, transforming this everyday world into a vacation paradise.
In 1915, a Kansas City Southern Railroad executive acquired the bluff top forest and built the first Lodge. The second Lodge, motel and cottages were added later.
Built in the 1890s, originally O’Joe Fishing Club, it was a place for railroad workers and Kansas City folk to enjoy the Ozarks. In 1925 the property sold and Shadow Lake was born. Not only was the name changed, a new building was built.
It established a national reputation as it became the headquarters for the movie stars of the Jesse James film of 1938. Bands came from all over to perform at Shadow Lake as tourism in the area flourished.
In the 80s an open air pavilion was constructed offering unobstructed views of the Elk River.
Wayside started in the mid-thirties as a park and was established as a campground when John and Dorthy Davis developed the property. It sold in the 80s to Camille Cain, Roddy Lett’s first boss.
Elk River Floats & Campground was established by the family that occupied what is now the Old Ozark Estate House. It operated originally as a competing but partnering business. They would use ERF‘s property as the put in and Wayside as the take out. It was bought by Wayside in the 1990s, forming Elk River Floats & Wayside Campground.
Kozy was established in 1933, and was the first campground on the Elk River. Kozy was affected by the highway move of 1960 that caused the rest of the county to succeed from the State of Missouri, but not in a negative way. The highway now bordered Kozy Kamp and had a great deal to do with its success.
Eagles Nest Camp & Canoe was established in the 1970s. It quickly became the choice family campground of the Elk River, with its secluded feel, calm atmosphere and beautiful views of Mt. Shira.
Our story begins the summer of 1998. Our dairy farming family settled our roots into Elk River Floats & Wayside Campground, a long awaited dream. The river became our lively hood and dedication. After 12 years of persistent inquiry our family finally had the opportunity to take on our dream project, Ginger Blue Resort. The crown jewel of the Elk River and the original resort of the Ozarks was now trusted in the hands of our family. The lodge was gone and the cabins were nearly unrecognizable, but that wasn’t going to slow us down. By 2017, on the resort’s 102nd birthday, the Ginger Blue Cabins were reimagined, redesigned, rebuilt and once again open for the summer. We plan to reopen the lodge as soon as we can. As of now the well, treatment facility, and foundation are all ready for the new beginning of the Ginger Blue Lodge. As of 2020 we have added Kozy Kamp, Eagles Nest Camp & Canoe, and Shadow Lake to the Elk River Floats Family.
Our small floating operation now spans over 35 miles of floatable streams, 2.5 miles of river footage, 860 acres, four campgrounds, and two original resorts.
Not only are we dedicated to our areas rich history, we are dedicated to the preservation of our forest and watershed. In the last two years we have planted over 1850 native trees of the Elk River Hills ecoregion of the Ozarks. Of those trees, 1250 were planted as part of a river bank stabilization project our staff had the opportunity to work on with the Nature Conservancy, Natural State Streams, DNR and the statewide Soil and Water Conservation Program.
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Elk River Floats & Resort of the Ozarks