Arcadia Round Barn, Arcadia, Oklahoma, USA
William Harrison “Big Bill” Odor arrived in Oklahoma County in 1892, and shortly after, in 1898, oxen cleared the ground for construction of his barn. He built a barn 60 feet in diameter and 43 feet high with a local red Permian rock foundation. Local burr oak timbers were soaked in water until soft and then banded into the mold to create the rafters. Mr. Odor apparently designed the barn himself, though no one knows how he chose the round design.
After its construction was completed in 1898, the barn housed hay, grain, and livestock, but almost from the start, it served as a community center. During the barn’s construction, three young workers, realizing what a fine place it would be for dances, persuaded Mr. Odor to let them pay the difference between planed rough flooring and hardwood, which was more suitable for dancing. From time to time for the next 25 years, barn dances drew crowds and musicians to Arcadia from a wide area. Mr. Odor compared the barn’s acoustics with those of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and it became a popular rallying point while Arcadia flourished.
With the U.S. Highway 66 alignment through Arcadia in 1928, travelers along the Mother Road were only a stone’s throw from the architectural curiosity. The barn quickly became a Route 66 landmark.
Although the barn decayed and was only partially standing by the late 1970s, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Restoration efforts began when the Arcadia Historical Society acquired the property in 1988. A committed group of volunteers repaired the collapsed roof and restored the barn using many of the original construction methods. In 1992, the barn opened to the public, and in that same year, the Society received a National Preservation Honor Award for its efforts. By 2005, the barn again needed repairs, which dedicated volunteers completed with funding assistance from the National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Today, the barn remains open as an important community resource and popular resting stop for Route 66 travelers.
The Arcadia Round Barn is located in Arcadia, OK. Turn east off Interstate 35 at Route 66 and travel six miles. Admission is free. The barn is open 7 days a week from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The upstairs loft can be reserved for special events. For information, call 405-396-0824