Visible from all directions, the Inspiration Tower at the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead reaches high into the sky above the Ozark mountains giving visitors a birds-eye view of the area. The tower was built in 1989 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of author Harold Bell Wright’s first visit to the Ozarks. As part of the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead, the tower draws visitors from around the world who have read the timeless tale of love and betrayal written by Wright.
The tower sits where Wright first placed his tent when he visited the region and where he first penned the words of his famous novel, “The Shepherd of the Hills.” First published in 1907, the novel is still in print and countless copies are sold each year. The Homestead, one of Branson’s major attractions, allows visitors a look at an authentic log cabin that was described in the novel and more.
Inspiration Tower soars to a height of 230 feet above the ground. The circular glassed in obervation deck at the top is reached by glass elevators that provide a dazzling, swift view of the country as it ascends. In air conditioned comfort, viewers can look in all directions from the top. Telescopes are available for a closer look but many sites are visible without any aid. Theme park Silver Dollar City can be seen in a notch on a neighboring mountainside. The famous Branson Strip, home to music theaters and other attractions, can be seen as well. Nearby Springfield, Missouri can be seen as can the Forsthye water tower and neighboring Arkansas. On a clear day, it’s possible to see 90 miles in any direction.
Stairs lead a few stories down to an open air observation deck that provides another view. Visitors are literally higher than the birds from either deck – birds can be seen sailing through the air and riding air currents below the decks.
Often called Branson’s million dollar tower, Inspiration Tower cost $1.5 million dollars to build in the late 1980’s. Forty three cement trucks were required to lay the massive foundation but the work paid off – the tower is solid enough to withstand constant winds of 172 miles per hour and gusts up to 224 miles per hour. More than four thousand square of glass frame the fantastic views.
At the foot of the tower, a gift shop is available and full tours of the homestead are available from here. Adjacent to the tower is a garden with statues of major characters from Wright’s book. The entire homestead is easily seen from the tower. Old Matt’s Cabin, a church where Harold Bell Wright once preached, woodland trails depicted in the book, the gift shop, restaurant, and open air theater are visible. So are the horses used in the trail rides offered to visitors daily.
The outdoor ampitheatre where a play based on the Shepherd of the Hills book is performed nightly during the season can also be seen.
Inspiration Tower is open daily from April through October from 8am to 8pm. Hours from mid-November into December are from 10am until midnight so visitors can view the area’s many holiday lights from above. The tower is open daily from 9am to 4pm from January through March.