Table Rock Dam & Showboat

Branson and the lakes country area are dedicated to excellence today while looking towards tomorrow, and honoring yesterday.

A SPECIAL PLACE CALLED BRANSON LAKES COUNTRY.  Treasuring family values, being good stewards of the land, and having a strong sense of community ensure Branson’s future will be vibrant.   We place a high priority on ensuring quality education and healthcare for our citizens, while we stress the protection and enhancement of our natural beauty.

It’s inevitable Branson will have growth and change as Branson’s population nearly doubled between 1990 and 2000 from approximately 3,700 residents to 6,000 and grew by 75 percent between 2000 and 2010, to a population of 10,520.  Taney County’s population is forecasted to increase by 29 percent between now and 2030.  Other communities in the Branson Lakes Country are also experiencing growth.

Whether you are planning to move to the Lakes Country area to raise your family, retiring to this area, or just making a move within the region, this special place opens its arms with a welcoming howdy.  The friendliness of the people is always at the top of the list of why people enjoy living in the Ozarks.  Former Mayor Raeanne Presley summed it up by saying “The community is small enough to have a neighborly feeling, but we have all of the amenities of a bigger community.”

SCHOOLS:  The Branson school district is outstanding in every way and has updated campuses, for Branson Pirateskindergarten through twelfth grade, necessary to keep up with the growth.  Community support has played a large part in the building of outstanding facilities.  The Branson Pirates continue to achieve high rankings in sports, music, and academics.

Hollister, just a few minutes south of Branson, offers a school district encompassing K through 12, and the Hollister Tigers have an unrelenting focus onHollister Tigers learning.  Hollister schools are proud of their Tigers, and so is the entire community cheering them on.

Ozarks Technical CollegeThe Ozarks Technical Community College, OTC Table Rock Campus opened in August 2013 in Hollister, Missouri, just down the road from College of the Ozarks. The four-story Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center features general education classrooms and state-of-the-art computer, science and nursing labs. Offering degree, non-degree and certificate programs in several areas, OTC can easily be the transition from high school to a large university, or be just right size for you to go back and just take a few classes to brush up or to receive an Associate’s degree.  In addition to the new bachelor’s degree programs offered through its partnership with Missouri State, the campus offers a variety of general education courses as well as adult education and literacy courses.

TKeeter Centerhe nationally known College of the Ozarks, “Hard Work U” is located in Hollister.  The four-year liberal arts college mission is to provide the advantages of a Christian education for youth found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to procure such training.  Today the College offers degrees in more than 40 academic areas and student enrollment is approximately 1,400.  C of O is unique among higher education institutions in America:  no tuition is charged, all students work on campus, debt is openly discouraged, and no federal, state or private loans are made.  Not only do students get hands-on training, residents of the area and visitors alike can take advantage of the college’s workHard Work U programs. The Keeter Center offers wonderful food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with most all of the ingredients raised right on the campus.  Their homemade jelly, bread, fruitcake, plants from the greenhouse, and farm-raised meats are only a few of the many items available for sale.

School of the OzarksFollowing in the mission of College of the Ozarks, the School of the Ozarks, a Laboratory school, provides an innovative and challenging environment. School of the Ozarks provides a unique and inventive curriculum following a classical Christian model.  Students are provided with experimental learning activities which range from using College of the Ozarks academic and athletic facilities to meeting world leaders and political influencers  to student travel opportunities within the United States and abroad.  The academic program at School of the Ozarks exceeds the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education college preparatory curriculum requirements in all core areas.

The Branson Lakes Country area is fortunate to have many award-winning school districts throughout Taney and Stone counties. These include Blue Eye R-V, Bradleyville R-1, Crane RIII,  Forsyth R-III, Galena R-II, Hurley R-I, Kirbyville R-VI, Mark Twain R-VIII, Reeds Spring RIV, and Taneyville R-II.

ENTERTAINMENT/ATTRACTIONS:  There is one thing for sure; you can stay as active as you choose in the Branson Lakes Country area.  With close proximity to three lakes, there are plenty of opportunities for boating, skiing, parasailing, or reeling in fresh trout or bass.  If you are a golfer, you have chosen the right area.  The Lakes Country area is fortunate to have many golf courses, with courses for every level of play.  From the Don Gardner par 3 course to several championship courses designed by some of the best, AGolfrnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, and others.


If mini golf is more your speed, once again you will have your choice of many courses to test your prowess.  Go cart tracks are abundant around the Branson Lakes Country area, and some will quickly test your driving ability.  If visiting museums interests you, see one or all from the Hollywood Wax Museum, the Titanic, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, World’s Largest Toy Museum, Auto and Farm Museum, the Veteran’s Museum, and not to be left off the list is the Ralph Foster Museum.

The primary focus of the Ralph Foster Museum today is to collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit items relating to the Ozarks region. One of the more famous exhibits is the original vehicle used in the television series “The Beverly Hillbillies.” In addition, visitors will find antiques, weapons, dolls, natural history and other items from around the world.

Music shows have long been the staple for making Branson the Live Music Show Capital of the World.  No matter your taste in music, you can find something to suit your fancy.  From the first show to have a thePresley's castatre on Highway 76 48 years ago, the Presley’s Country Jubilee is a one-of-a-kind mix of country, gospel, bluegrass and hilarious comedy; to the artistry of the Acrobats of China featuring the New Shanghai Circus; to the remarkable harmonies of six real brothers, SIX, providing remarkable acapella music; to the incredibly tight harmonies, innovative, energetic SIXchoreography, and incredible special  effects  of the Haygood Family; to the abundant Ozark humor of Jim Dandy and Mike Patrick plus the tight vocals of the awesome quartet New South in the outstanding production Grand Country Jubilee. Whichever of the many shows in Branson you choose to see, you won’t be disappointed. All shows are family-friendly, and many have fans that now bring their grandchildren and great grandchildren.  From down-home Ozarks’ humor to state-of-the-art lighting, pyrotechnics and large production casts; residents and visitors can enjoy top-notch entertainment around the Branson Lakes Country.

Silver Dollar City and Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theatre offer a variety of choices. (See more below) And if you like big screen movies, the IMAX Entertainment Complex offers the best, plus a restaurant and shopping.

Dogwood Canyon

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park is just south of Hollister.  Among the many things you can enjoy at the Nature Park are: walking, biking, guided tours, a wildlife tram tour, or catch & release fishing. Mainly, just enjoy the natural beauty. It is breathtaking, and don’t forget your camera.  Dogwood Canyon is owned by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shop.

SHOPPING:  Around the Branson Lakes Country, you can “shop till you drop”, rest a bit, and go again.  With a wide variety of stores at outlet malls, the fashionable Branson Landing on tDick's 5 & 10he Taney-again.  With a wide variety of stores at outlet malls, the fashionable Branson Landing on the Taneycomo lakefront, to antique and flea markets, get your walking shoes on and be ready to SHOP!  Almost all of the theaters offer gift shops, and the small-town shops out around the area offer unique and some homemade items found only in this area.  For the sports enthusiasts, Bass Pro Shop at the Branson Landing is a don’t-miss stop.  Historic Downtown Branson offers a one-of-a-kind must see!  Dick’s Oldtime 5 & 10, a Branson icon for over 50 years, where there is something for everyone at Dick’s 5&10.

ORGANIZATIONS:  The Branson Lakes Country is an area active in service, and strongly supports Patrioticcivic and fraternal organizations.  Also, the area supports and honors our veterans in as many ways possible.  Throughout the year, special events are held, and Veteran’s Homecoming is a week-long celebration of honoring our veterans, culminating with the Veteran’s Day Parade.


If you’re thinking about a move, Branson Lakes Country Realty can help you find the home, condo, lake house, or whatever you are looking for.  Shane and the agents of BLCR can assist as you make the transition into a part of the country we all love and call HOME!  We would love to welcome you and be able to call you our friend and neighbor.

Call us today at 866-879-6961.  The coffee pot is always on!

 MORE ABOUT A SPECIAL PLACE CALLED BRANSON LAKES COUNTRY: As a direct result of the construction of Table Rock Dam and Reservoir by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kimberling City was settled.  The first two power units were ready for the generation of power in June of 1959 and

Branson is known as a one-of-a-kind experience, a unique blend of neon and nature where big-name performers, world-class fishing and attractions galore attract visitors from around the worldThat’s why we love Branson Lakes Country.

MORE ABOUT A SPECIAL PLACE CALLED BRANSON LAKES COUNTRY: As a direct result of the construction of Table Rock Dam and Reservoir by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kimberling City was settled.  The first two power units were ready for the generation of power in June of 1959 andKimberling City Bridge units three and four were completed by August 1961.  The City was named after the Kimberling Family, who for many years had operated a ferry approximately where the present State Highway 13 bridge is now located.  Located in Stone County, Missouri, Kimberling City has nearly 500 miles of Table Rock shoreline in Stone County, and had a population of 2,400 in the 2010 census.  Even though Branson gets the most publicity, the Kimberling City area offers lake living at its finest.

Branson Lakes Country is comprised of not only Branson and Kimberling City, but many smaller towns and communities offering seclusion, quiet small-town living reminiscent of yesteryear, and each with their own unique characteristics.  A few of these places, but not limited to, include Forsyth, Hollister, Merriam Woods Village, Ridgedale, and Rockaway Beach all in Taney County.  Stone County offers Kimberling City, Blue Eye, Branson West, Crane, Galena, Hurley, Reeds Spring, and the Village of Indian Point.

THE HISTORY OF SPECIAL PLACES:  Branson was simply a small town located on the old White River serving as the front door step to the rugged interior of the Ozarks. The river transported people, goods, and provisions, mostly by flat bottom boats, to and from the region. Without the White River there probably would not be a Branson lakes country story.

Old BransonThis area first received national attention after Harold Bell Wright wrote his bestselling novel, The Shepherd of the Hills, in 1907 about his experience in the Ozarks.  From the very beginning, vacationers found Branson lakes country to be a favorite place for scenery, fishing, and the Ozark’s relaxing atmosphere.  Fishing camps, outfitted with guides, started popping up along the White River.  Supplies and mail were transported around the region via a particular boat known as the Sammy Lane.  By 1914, the Sammy Lane Commercial Camp was established in downtown Branson to accommodate the vacationers flocking to this special place to fish, swim and enjoy the rugged beauty of the Ozark Mountains. The City was formally incorporated in 1912 as the construction was completed on the Powersite Dam on the White River, that formed Lake Taneycomo, , which became a haven for boaters and those looking for water recreation.

While downtown Branson continued to flourish, Table Rock Dam was completed by 1959, creating anFishing additional recreational lake, and also provided some protection to Branson from floods.  Table Rock Dam transformed Lake Taneycomo into a cold water lake as its waters came from (and still do) the bottom of Table Rock Lake.  With water recreation now flourishing at area lakes, the Missouri Department of Conservation discovered that Lake Taneycomo’s cold water provided an ideal climate for trout. Over the next few years, Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake developed national reputations for boating and water recreation, as well as outstanding sources for bass, crappie, and other fish.  Scuba divers also enjoy he beauty of the lakes country with the clear water of Table Rock providing a great experience in the depths of the lake.

silver dollar city Silver Dollar City – “It all started with a hole in the ground”. In 1950, Hugo and Mary Herschend began hosting a square dance in Marvel Cave. By 1960, the cave had become a major tourist attraction and then become the heart of Silver Dollar City.  as a small old-time Ozarks village attraction atop the long-popular Marvel Cave, about 10 miles west of Branson on Highway 76.  It offered a 1880s steam train ride, country shops, working craftsmen demonstrating broom making, tin type, candle-making, wood carving, and many other crafts, and of course, music. Silver Dollar City, named for a promotional idea of giving silver dollars as change to park visitors led to tremendous word-of-mouth exposure.

Following Hugo’s death, Mary and her sons Jack and Peter continued to direct the growth of the family businesses, which have now expanded to include other popular Branson attractions, WhitBeverly Hillbilliese Water, the Showboat Branson Belle, and the recently acquired Harlem Globetrotters. Today Silver Dollar City has grown into a multi-million dollar entertainment complex encompassing more than 100 acres with rides and amusements, shows, dining facilities, dozens of musicians, and an evening music show with a professional cast. The park also hosts seven themed festivals and events each year. Silver Dollar City was Missouri’s top tourist attraction. In 1969, Silver Dollar City received national exposure when the popular “Beverly Hillbillies” television show filmed five episodes at the park.

Silver Dollar City won worldwide recognition with the 1999-2000 Applause Award, the theme park industry’s top award of excellence based on management, operations, creativity and ingenuity. The park was also the 2001 recipient of the prestigious Thea Classic Award, recognizing worldwide excellence and outstanding achievement in themed entertainment from the Themed Entertainment Association. In 2009, Silver Dollar City won the Golden Ticket award as the “Friendliest Park” in the entire theme park industry. In 2013, the park was voted in the top ten Best Parks in the world and the new wood coaster Outlaw Run won the Golden Ticket Award for ‘Best New Ride’ in the theme park industry worldwide and is featured in Guinness World Records 2015 for Steepest Drop. New for 2015, Silver Dollar City presents Fireman’s Landing, an $8 million all-new themed area with 10 new family adventures

From natural wonder to international attraction, it all started with a hole in the ground.  Click the link for more on Silver Dollar City.

Shepherd of the Hills Around the same time as Silver Dollar City opening, the Old Mill Theater began to produce a show known as The Shepherd of the Hills. Together the lakes, Silver Dollar City, the outdoor Shepherd of the Hills theater and community events drew increasing numbers of visitors to Branson lakes country.  The outdoor presentation started being presented on the front lawn of the homestead of John and Anna Ross.  Harold Bell Wright later immortalized John and Anna as Old Matt and Aunt Mollie in his best-selling novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills”, published in 1907.  Later, Dr. Bruce Trimble and his wife Mary, began producing an outdoor pageant based on the best-selling novel. Under the Trimble’s leadership the production grew into one of the nation’s most popular outdoor historical dramas.

 In the late 1980’s, the Trimble’s sold The Shepherd of the Hills drama to schoolteacher Gary Snadon (aSOH fire scene former cast member of the outdoor drama) and his wife Pat.  They added a 230 foot tall Inspiration Tower at the homestead, and also relocated the Morgan County Church to the Homestead. Two glass elevators transport visitors to the spacious, enclosed observation deck. The panoramic views are absolutely phenomenal, in any season. On a clear day, you can see over 90 miles. There’s also a specialty gift shop, snack bar and restrooms on the ground level. During November and December, Inspiration Tower is transformed into the Ozarks’ largest Christmas tree for the Trail of Lights! The Tower is open year-round.

Today, the Shepherd of the Hills is the longest running outdoor drama in the world. Each night of their schedule, the cast brings to life the story of Harold Bell Wrights immortal novel – The Shepherd of the Hills.  The stage is the size of a football field, with over 90 actors and actresses, over 20 horses, donkeys, and mules, a flock of sheep, gunfights, fist fights, and a real cabin that is burned every night. The drama portrays a love story, and an incredible moral message that rings just as true today as it did in 1907 when Mr. Wright published the book.  A cast made up of local actors and actresses, many of which have been performing this story for over 40 years will take you back to the turn of the 20th century in the Ozarks to experience the life, adventure, and struggles of the folks that started the tourist destination we now know.

In 1959, the Baldknobbers Hillbilly Jamboree Show opened the first live show in Branson. The Presley Presley's amily began a music show in the Talking Rocks Cavern in Branson West and by the late 1960’s they moved their show to 76 Country Blvd.  In the 1970’s and 1980’s, 76 Country Blvd. began to populate with even more theaters.  The Foggy River Boys opened their theater in Kimberling City in 1971, and moved their show to the 76 Country Strip in 1974.  The list is long of theaters and shows gradually opening in Branson, In 1991, the “boom” occurred when the television show Sixty Minutes came to town and talked to some entertainers working in Branson, and Grand Country Jubileethen reported that there was lots of money to be made in Branson, — build a theater and they will come.  Branson was declared the “live music capitol of the entire universe”. Branson then had theaters, motels, restaurants, and attractions popping up everywhere.  The City of Branson was scrambling to build the infrastructure to keep up with the influx of entertainment venues and tourists that were flocking to town to me the likes of Mel Tillis, Roy Clark, Mickey Gilley, Ray Stevens, Jim Stafford, Boxcar Willie, Glen Campbell, and many more.

We hope you have enjoyed our trip around some of the Special Places in Branson Lakes Country.  If we can be of any assistance to you, just give us a call at 866-879-6961 toll free, or 417-334-6961 local, or stop in to see us at 211 South Commercial in Historic Downtown Branson.  The information in this article came from a multitude of sources, and was compiled only for your enjoyment.  

BLCR building

 Branson Lakes Country Realty

211 South Commercial

Branson, MO  65616 


Branson Lakes Country Realty 211 South Commercial, Branson, MO  65616                                                                               417-334-6961