Two of the Lake's oldest resorts open for business.
Many places have come and gone over the Lake’s 80+ year history. But there are many others still left standing. There’s been a resurgence, of sorts, when it comes to preserving some of the Lake’s nostalgia. Investors are seeing the value in renovating and revitalizing businesses that have been closed up for years.
There are two this season that have stood out — the Wein Haus at Michael’s Steak Chalet and 1932 Reserve. Both were a resort at some point, among the oldest at the Lake, and have been turned into upscale businesses. Despite bringing them into the modern age, they’ve kept many remnants and memories of days gone by.
Swiss Village /Hildebrand’s Camp
One of the first resorts at Lake of the Ozarks, and one with a floating pool, the property called “Old Swiss Village” has been a lot of things since 1935. It started off as Hildebrand’s Camp where people would come to play, fish and swim.
Historian Dwight Weaver says waterskiing didn’t take off at the Lake until the 50s but actually began at Hildebrand’s in 1937. The resort continued to stay open until the early 70s before evolving into several restaurants over the years. In 1994 Brent Boyles and a few of his high school buddies took over one of the buildings where the owner of the resort used to live, and created Michael’s Steak Chalet. While Michael’s, with it’s quality steaks and miles-long view of the Lake has been a local favorite, many of the other buildings around the restaurant have been left vacant. That is, until this year.
Boyles and his partners purchased a building next to Michael’s in December 2016 but just completed renovations, opening it as the Wein Haus at Michael’s Steak Chalet. Old photographs from the resort are spread across the bartop, original stained glass windows and other décor have been kept in tact for others to enjoy. Open on weekends at 11:30 a.m., higher-end wines by the glass or bottle, sangrias, Bloody Mary’s, mimosas and a lunch menu is available.
In between the buildings, they added a patio that can accommodate up to 150 people so guests can enjoy the wine and their award-winning view of the Lake.
Back in the day, these cabins were rented for $1 per person, per day. Trevor Bechtold grew up about a quarter-mile from these cabins, where his parents still live, and purchased one about seven years ago for his family to have as a Lake retreat. The cabins have been there since the 30s and have had many owners since then. He fixed it up and purchased four more cabins which have been completely remodeled and are now available on VBRO for $85-$125/night.
Bechtold has an architectural background and was drawn by the history and charm of the cabins. He wanted to bring them back to life. Besides all-new interiors, he kept as much of the original look of the cabins as possible.
Earlier this summer, one guest came back for a visit, 40 years after having stayed in one of the cabins.
Franklin Lodge/Osage Beach Lodge
The Lake’s oldest known hotel is once again taking reservations.
Developers Joey Denny, Mark Spears and Shaun Hill have painstakingly renovated the Franklin Lodge, also known as the Osage Beach Lodge, into a modern, yet casual restaurant, with loft-style rentals — all while trying to maintain as much of the historical appeal as possible. For the past 15-or-so years, Hill had been admiring the building from afar, recognizing its potential and hoping something would be done to the run-down building before it was too late. That day came in the Spring of 2018 when all three partners decided to purchase it.
Built in 1932, some of the original building was salvaged during the construction process. Hardware from doors, original subfloor, lights, stone masonry, and other unique features have been cleaned up, repurposed and reused. The original wood floor was used to make the bar and a hostess station where you will find old markings and stamps on the wood reminding guests of what was once the old Franklin Lodge.
Located down Proctor Road in Osage Beach, at the 17-mile marker by water, 1932 Reserve opened up to the masses in June. The restaurant serves craft cocktails and offers a farm-to-table menu. The selection includes a Beet Salad and other greens, appetizers like the Cauliflower Fritti, Mussels and Fries, steak, sea bass, a burger, and not-your-typical sides like brussel sprouts and jumbo asparagus. Fresh ingredients combined with seasonings and sauces with personality make each dish unique and give it that upscale flair. The restaurant is open daily at noon but hours and menu items may change.
On the outside, covered seating, two bocce ball courts and an outdoor bar and bathrooms (made out of large shipping containers) has been completed. New docks and a parking lot were also added.
The Reserve Lofts are still being completed. The penthouse unit has six bedrooms but there will also be a one bedroom, two two-bedroom and two three-bedroom units available for rent. Guests will be able to take advantage of their own private pool, also made out of a large shipping container with an underwater cut-out that has a view of the Lake.