Let’s start with the lake. The Lake of the Ozarks is a reservoir created by the construction of the Bagnell Dam, beginning in 1929 and completed in 1931. The 2,543 foot Bagnell Dam was built by the Union Electric Company Co. to provide hydroelectric power to their customers. At the time of construction, the lake was the largest artificial lake in the United States. The surface area covers 54,000 acres. The beautiful and vast Lake of the Ozarks quickly brought tourists to the area and continues to bring millions of people each year.
Our story begins over 50 years ago.
The idea of The Lodge at Port Arrowhead was born out of necessity and came to fruition in 1965 as a Holiday Inn. The story goes that a gentleman and Navy soldier named Clarence Ziegler (C.C. or Zig) brought his family to the lake for a family vacation but couldn’t find a place to stay. There were so many tourists at the lake and all the hotels were full so they were forced to stay in a nearby city. That is when the idea of a new hotel on the lake was born. C.C. Ziegler opened the first hotel on the property in 1965, under the name Holiday Inn. The Holiday Inn officially opened in 1966.
A fun fact, the entire cast of the Beverly Hillbillies attended the grand opening party! C.C. Ziegler was born in St. Louis to Clarence and Florence Ziegler; he joined the Navy in 1943 and returned to Missouri in 1946. He married Margaret (Mickey) Pilgram in 1947 in St. Louis. In 1951 C.C. Ziegler started Ziegler Investment Company of Clayton. Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler had ten children: Mary Carol, John, Peggy Ann, Tom, Bob, Jimmy, Bill, Kathy, David, and Krissy.
C.C. Ziegler was also the original owner of Bentley’s Restaurant.
The hotel expanded throughout the years with new construction and renovations. C.C. was passionate about improving and growing the property for guests.
A fire destroyed the restaurant in 1970, and it was rebuilt. An additional 50 rooms were added in 1972. Eventually, the hotel’s meeting spaces and recreation area were also updated, including two outdoor pools, one indoor pool, two hot tubs, waterfalls, and a wading pool.
C.C. Ziegler sold the hotel to Cecil Van Tuyl in 1999, who also owned Port Arrowhead Marina, located right beside the resort. In 2004, the Holiday Inn name was changed to The Resort at Port Arrowhead. Throughout the following years, the resort was owned and managed by different people and companies.
In 2016, new owners and developers Jared Johnson and Mike Pagliai had a vision to transform the resort. They wanted to modernize the resort to a unique family-friendly environment and also accommodate business conferences. They demolished three existing buildings and one outdoor pool and started brand new renovations on all remaining buildings.
On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, there was a Lake Area Chamber ribbon cutting, and The Lodge at Port Arrowhead opened with a new look and name!
We now offer 140 rooms, all updated, including the renovation of the public spaces, the addition of a convention center that holds 400-500 people, state-of-the-art WiFi and high definition television, resort-style swimming pool, fitness center, playground, patio deck, an intimate fire pit for social gatherings, two private conference rooms for hosting small groups, and our beautiful breakfast bar. Plus, we are pet-friendly.
Another exciting update is happening now! Our onsite restaurant Fat Polly’s Pub, and our outdoor pool is going through an innovative renovation with significant improvements. The Encore Lakeside Grill & Sky Bar will be opening in fall 2021.
We are thrilled to continue C.C.’s original vision, a comfortable place to stay and experience the lake.
Stay up to date on our current renovations and upcoming specials on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheLodgeAtPortArrowhead/.
Resources: Lake Expo and Lakes Area Chamber