Volume 1, Number 7
Cedar Point is a popular tourist resort located on the north bank of White River (now Lake Taneycomo) at the McKinney Bend, so-called because Ben McKinney had a farm across from Cedar Point. This is about eleven miles downstream from Branson, Missouri.
Ben McKinney settled at "The Bend" in the late 1870's. Lake Taneycomo has a slight northeast bearing from Branson until it reaches Cedar Point. Here it hits a two hundred feet bluff pointblank, and makes an abrupt turn slightly to the southwest for three miles where it makes an oxbow turn eastward.
The location of Cedar Point on this McKinney Bend has long been a convenient and popular place for crossing White River, long before the making of Lake Taneycomo.
During the time of the early settlers, there was a rough but passable wagon and horseback road from points east and north to Cedar Point, thence up the north side of the river toward the present town of Branson. Crossing Bull Creek toward its junction with White River and continuing along the river at the foot of the bluff, there was barely room for a wagon. At intervals there were spaces dug into the side of the bluff in which a wagon could wait should there be another one coming from the opposite direction. This road under the bluff was known as "The Narrows", and is now covered by the lake.
Again at Cedar Point it was a river-crossing into the McKinney Bend just south of the river to the south and west.
"Uncle Ben" McKinney, as his friends and neighbors were wont to call him, usually kept a canoe on the river for his own convenience, as did Clate Stokley, who had a farm on the north side and just west of Cedar Point. They often ferried people across the river.
A small branch or stream coming from the north terminates into a slough as it enters the river, there-by separating the farm and resort area. The high bluff on the east terminates into a point on the north side of the resort and abounds with cedar trees, hence its name of Cedar Point.
From about 1880 to 1913, there was a wagon road which crossed the river a short distance below McKinney Bend or farm. This was much used as a traffic way between Branson and Forsyth until Powersite Dam was finished.
This point of the river has been a cherished fishing area since early settlement. About 1888, a number of neighboring residents on the north and east side organized a sort of fishing club. There was a shoal or riffle in the river immediately below the turn southward. Here the fishing club proceeded to build a fish-trap. This was done during the summer while the stream was low. Cedar poles were cut into proper lengths and split into halves. At this season, the channel was narrow and full of gravel. The poles were stuck into the gravel and leaning downstream with the top ends about water level and reaching across the current, all being supported by props. Attached to this near the water level was a sort of apron: wide and arranged to prevent the fish from escaping. Usually they did their fishing at night as everyone had work to do on the farm.
The fishermen used canoes while trap-fishing. I remember that they used pine knots for torches for light on the canoes when flushing the stream above the trap, while others stood guard over the trap to capture the fish as they would attempt to go over the top and land on the apron. Father would bring home fish I believe were about three feet long. They said they were drum, buffalo and catfish. I remember when I was thirteen years old, and some neighbor boys and I were swimming at this place. It happened that where I swam, the water was about three feet deep and as clear as crystal. I saw the remains of the trap partly imbedded in gravel, and also saw several large blue catfish lying quietly on the gravel bed.
The main approach to this fishing site at that time, especially for footmen, was by way of the "Winding Stairs" down the bluff. Beginning at the top near the Roy Slusher home, the pathway zig-zagged down the bluff in a step-like manner.
At that time, the old Forsyth and Walnut Shade road was about thirty feet further from the top of the bluff than at the present time.
Here at this point near the roadside was an object familiar to the neighborhood at that time. This was a large oak tree with a large limb protruding. On this tree on the 14th of April 1885, Tubal and Frank Taylor were hanged by the Bald Knobbers.
After Powersite Dam was finished, there was a very choice fishing area on the lake just below Cedar Point where timber on the farm of "Grandma" Missouri Casey was left standing. This area is known as the "Sunken Forest", and for many years it was unsurpassed for bass, crappie and catfish.
During World War I, Cedar Point was an important loading place for railroad ties going to Branson.
The ties were made into a large raft, several hundred tied together, and towed by a gasoline tugboat up the lake to Branson. I believe John (Bummer) Houseman was instrumental in this undertaking.
In 1919, Charley Stone, a retired decorator from Kansas City, came to Taney County and was much impressed with the Cedar Point location. He purchased the property and proceeded to develop it into a popular tourist resort, though at that time the location was a wilderness of timber and bushes. One important asset was the large spring coming out of the hillside.
At the beginning there were no residents closer than the road on the hilltop on the east, and the Stokley farmhouse on the west.
During this time Cedar Point became a thriving boat landing for passenger boats such as the "Sammy Lane" and "The Shepherd of the Hills". The Shepherd of the Hills, a large passenger boat, went over the dam in the flood of 1927.
At one time the Weaver Brothers and Elviry of the Weaver Brothers musical comedy had their summer home here.
Many summer homes are now being built on the Cedar Point hill overlooking Lake Taneycomo, and too, through the years, there has been a small tourist resort developed across the lake in the McKinney Bend called Long Beach.30
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