It’s big. It’s round. It’s red. (It’s the Arcadia Round Barn)

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Arcadia Round Barn

11250 E Highway 66
Arcadia, OK
909-336-6131
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And it’s on old Route 66. When we passed it the last time, people were carrying pies into it for some kind of pastry-laden get-together. Looked like fun! Built in 1898, and nicely restored.

(The following information is courtesy of the National Park Service) Sitting atop a low terrace overlooking the Deep Fork River, the Round Barn in Arcadia has been a center of community activity and curiosity for over a century. 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.

This was a stop on the 2002 Route 66 Caravan, a 66-day road trip led by preservationist and historian, Jim Conkle. He lead the The Route 66 Caravan from “pier to pier,” Santa Monica to Chicago to raise the awareness of Route 66 and the need to preserve it. He posted more than 50 Hampton “Save a Landmark” signs along the route.

Find this site and others with the iPhone app, “Road Trip 66!”

(Photos © copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)