Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Fascinating History of Bridal Cave's Wedding Bell

Bridal Cave's wedding bell recently went through a time consuming restoration process. It is now back at home at our Lake of the Ozarks scenic attraction and better than ever. From it's creation to today, this bell has had an interesting life.


With the amazing Thunder Mountain Park renovations that are taking place for spring 2016, the decision was made to relocate our wedding bell to the top of the pavilion that overlooks the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks from its spot on the hillside above the cave. Since it was already being moved, this seemed like the perfect time to have the bell restored to its original condition.


During the restoration process, it was brought to our attention that our Bridal Cave wedding bell is one of the very first bells ever made by the C.S. Bell Company in 1875. It's history from that point until 1949 has not been documented, but it was most likely used as a farm bell to call the workers out of the fields, a dinner bell, or possibly an alarm for fires in the community.

In June of 1949, the first Bridal Cave wedding took place. Eddie Miller, the cave's general manager at the time, thought that ringing the bell after every wedding ceremony to announce the nuptials throughout the Ozark's foothills would be a wonderful gesture. It became tradition, and 67 years later, the bell has tolled for over 3,000 newlywed couples. 

The restoration process for our bell took it on quite an interesting journey. It was removed from its long standing location in November 2016, carefully crated, and shipped to New Concept Louvers in Spanish Fork, Utah. This company built a custom copper-topped copula to house our wedding bell. 


After it was fitted into its new copula, the bell was crated again and shipped to the US Bell Company of Ballwin, MO. They are the ones that completely refurbished the bell to restore it to its original condition. Decades of wear and tear were removed during the time consuming process. The bell was then hand-polished before being sealed in its original black coating. 

140 years of ringing the bell had caused the clapper inside to be flattened from the original round shape. To bring back the tone that the bell was meant to make, the manufacturers designed a new electric clapper and installed it. Not only does our bell now have a beautiful ring, but we also have the ability to ring it by remote control. 


A final inspection was done, and our Bridal Cave wedding bell was once again crated and shipped back to Thunder Mountain Park in March, 2016. Our maintenance staff has already installed it in its new home atop the lakeside pavilion. Once again, every time another couple gets married at Bridal Cave, the sweet sound of our historical wedding bell will ring through the Ozark foothills to announce the joyous occasion.   



One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020

(573) 346-2676

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Journey of Bridal Cave's Wedding Bell - Part 1

Here at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park there is always something new to see and learn, even for us! We had our wedding bell refurbished recently and found out that is was one of the very first bells ever made by the C.S. Bell Company in 1875. Next week we'll tell you all about the story of our Lake of the Ozarks wedding chapel's bell, but today we would love to share some interesting information about the company that created it. 



The C.S. Bell Company was founded by Charles Singleton Bell. He learned the foundry business from his uncle, Alexander Bradley. After working in a few different foundries, Bell began his own company in Hillsboro, Ohio in 1858.

This new company had only 2 employees. It started out producing tons of pig iron, and later began manufacturing many different items: Mogul stoves, caboose stoves, coffee hullers and pulpers, plows and garden rollers, and more. They did not start producing bells until 1875. 

In that first year of bell-making, over 1.000 units were sold. The company steadily grew, and they sold 20,000 units in 1890 in 15 different sizes. These were categorized into two classes: farm bells, which varied in weight from 40-100 pounds, and school and church bells, known as "steel alloy bells," that weighed 150-1,000 pounds. 

Bell was on a mission to find an alloy that was more affordable to produce than brass, but more durable than iron. His experiments yielded many failed attempts, but eventually he succeeded. The alloy that he discovered could be pitched to create a very mellow tone. This tone along with the durability of the alloy made his bells famous all over the world.

Every year the city of Hillsboro, Ohio celebrates the "Festival of Bells" near the Fourth of July. This festival is an outgrowth of a successful 1976 bicentennial celebration of the founding of our country. The name was given to this annual event to honor the town's heritage as a major bell producer. 

Bridal Cave has it's very own C.S. Bell Company bell, which we use for our wedding bell. It was in need of a good cleaning, so we sent it out to be refurbished. While this blog is being written, our bell has been crated and will be leaving the warehouse soon. We plan to have it reinstalled by the first of next week. 

Along with our wedding bell reclaiming its spot at our Lake of the Ozarks natural attraction, next week we will tell you all about our very own bell's colorful history. The story of getting it back to its original condition is quite intriguing. We hope that you all take some time to stop by and see it for yourself. 




One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
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Follow us on Google+
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020

(573) 346-2676

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Enjoy Your Spring Break at the Lake of the Ozarks!

Why travel a long distance for Spring Break when the #1 recreational lake in the nation is right here next to Bridal Cave? The lake area is beautiful year-round, but witnessing it in the spring allows you to watch a bright new season "spring" to life. 

Right around St. Patrick's Day every year, the Lake of the Ozarks begins waking up for another exciting season on the water. You begin seeing boats again all over the lake and many of the local waterfront bars and restaurants open their doors. It's an exciting time to experience everything that this gorgeous area has to offer.  

St. Patrick's Day Weekend

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on both land and water around here. The 32nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on the Bagnell Dam Strip is happening Saturday, March 12 at 1:00 pm. Local residents and lake area visitors all begin lining the streets along the parade route well before noon, ready to enjoy the decorated floats, bands, candy, and beads. Lots of restaurants even offer free corned beef and cabbage after the parade and will feature some great live entertainment later in the evening.

St. Patrick's Day, Lake of the Ozarks, spring
photo courtesy of Funlake.com 

You can also choose to take part in the 25th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on the water that sets sail from Captain Ron's in Sunrise Beach on the 34.5 MM. You don't even need your own boat to take part in the fun. Both the Tropic Island and Celebration Cruise boats will be taking passengers out to enjoy this parade. Later that evening, that side of town will also be hosting their annual Short Bus Shuffle with a $10 wristband gaining you access to transportation and a pub crawl to local participating bars and restaurants.

Live Music

There are many places at the Lake of the Ozarks where you can enjoy some of the most talented musicians around. You are sure to find something perfect for every age and interest; from the famous Beatles tribute band, Liverpool Legends, to favorite local bands covering every musical genre.  

Shopping

Another favorite pastime in the area is the shopping. The Osage Beach Premium Outlets mall is filled with wonderful stores and incredible bargains, all in one spot. All over the entire lake area, you will find amazing shops that carry lots of locally inspired items, many handmade, along with lots of the big chain stores that you love. 

The Lake 

The biggest draw to our area is probably the lake itself. While the water may still be a bit cold to jump right in, that shouldn't stop you from hopping into a boat and enjoying the excitement of cruising along the waterways. Most of the area waterfront bars and restaurants open in March, so there are plenty of places to stop. If you prefer to enjoy the view from the shore, our Lake of the Ozarks family attraction is located lakeside, and the view from our pavilion and many areas in Thunder Mountain Park are purely breathtaking.  

Bridal Cave, Thunder Mountain Park, Lake of the Ozarks


Nature and Spring Weather



The best way to have an awesome spring break is to get outside and appreciate the warmer weather and beauty blooming all around. Thunder Mountain Park offers trails with unique rock outcroppings and spectacular views. If rain threatens your spring break, or if the temperatures decide to drop lower than you'd like, Bridal Cave is right here in the park, and it's always a comfortable 60 degrees in there. Our scenic Lake of the Ozarks attraction is only one of many gorgeous parks that you can enjoy during your spring break trip here. 



There is no need to travel far for the best spring break experience ever. The Lake of the Ozarks is just as fun in the spring as it is in the summer, and you get the added bonus of missing out on those big summer crowds. Consider visiting Bridal Cave and Thunder Mountain Park for your spring break this year. You are sure to find something wonderful and enjoyable for everyone. 





One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
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526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676


Thursday, March 3, 2016

New Improvements to Thunder Mountain Park for Spring

The best natural attraction at the Lake of the Ozarks will be even more beautiful than usual this spring. Numerous new landscaping improvements are coming to Thunder Mountain Park, and we are especially thrilled to announce that very soon we will be unveiling two brand new additions - a Botanical Garden and a waterfall. 

Under the direction of Doctor's Lawn and Landscaping from Sunrise Beach, these breathtaking new features are becoming a reality. Their grounds crew completed the ground preparation work last fall, and this spring they will bring in black dirt, install the irrigation system, and spread mulch. As soon as that is finished, they will be ready to begin the planting stage.



Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens will be filled with gorgeous mature flowering plants that will surround the new waterfall feature. We plan to include Azalea, Hydrangea, Butterfly Bushes, Salvia, Coreopsis, and many more. Throughout the season, from spring into early fall, blooming plants will provide a lush array of fascinating foliage. This will make a trip though the park even more pleasing to all of our nature loving visitors. 



Waterfall

The new waterfall features a meandering stream that flows off of a natural rock bluff by 6 feet near Bridal Cave's natural entrance. This is an amazing enhancement to our picturesque wedding/picnic pavilion that overlooks the 10.5 mm of the Big Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. There is plenty of seating for up to 80 people in this area, perfect for a lakeside wedding. Our new park benches easily convert to picnic tables, making it an excellent spot for a relaxing picnic lunch too.



We are confident that these additions will enhance the already breathtaking landscape overlooking the fascinating Lake of the Ozarks. The final stages wil begin about the same time as the 66th Annual Dogwood Festival, which is scheduled for April 14-16, 2016. This time frame should insure that the last chance of a killing frost has passed and our beautiful blooms will be free to grow. 

All of us here at Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park can't wait to share the beauty, both above ground and below, with all of our park visitors. The Lake of the Ozarks number one natural attraction keeps getting better and better, making each visit with us seem like a brand new adventure every time. 



One of America's most scenic 
cave tours.

Visit us at www.BridalCave.com
Like us on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow us on Google+
Follow us on LinkedIn

526 Bridal Cave Road
Camdenton, MO 65020
(573) 346-2676