round barn history
Name: The Arcadia Round Barn

Built: 1898

Location: Arcadia, Oklahoma - Historic Rt. 66

Original Owners: William & Myra Odor

Year Resotred: 1992

Restored by: Luke Robison & The “Over-The-Hill” Gang
"The Arcadia Round Barn really is quite the sight to see. Located on Route 66 in the heart of Arcadia, The Round Barn is one of America's unique landmarks. It was originally designed and built in 1898 by William H. Odor. To implement his idea, Mr. Odor built a sawmill and cut native bur oak trees into lumber. The boards were then soaked while still green and placed in special jigs he created to bend them into the curved shapes needed to form the sides and roof rafters. After being told it couldn't be done by some of his neighbors, Mr. Odor stubbornly proved them all wrong and created what many considered to be an architectural wonder.  While it was planned to be a barn for livestock and hay storage, his workers convinced Mr. Odor to upgrade the upstairs flooring so that it could be used for dances. It ended up as a community gathering place along with being a regular barn sheltering cattle, oxen and mules and storing hay. 

Will and Myra Odor then donated a portion of their land in March of 1903, and Benjamin & Sarah Newkirk added more in April, 1903 to form the town of Arcadia and encourage the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad to lay track through the town. Arcadia became an agricultural hub supplying cotton, produce and livestock to the surrounding larger urban areas. In the late 1920's Route 66 was authorized by congress and a section was built through Arcadia. It ran right next to the round barn and it became a famous landmark for folks traveling through Oklahoma. Over time The Round Barn became the most photographed landmark on Route 66. 

The barn changed owners over the years and several modifications changed its structural integrity. Combined with neglected upkeep and repairs, this caused the barn to slowly deteriorate. Traffic slowly declined down Old Route 66 and the town of Arcadia along with the barn followed the decline. After suffering through those decades of neglect, in 1988, the barn's immense 60' diameter roof finally collapsed. The estimated cost of repair, was a staggering $165,000 dollars.

Luther "Luke" Robison (a retired building contractor) had long admired The Round Barn. Knowing it would be no small feat, he decided that it should be saved from utter ruin. He and a group of retirees self named "The Over the Hill Gang" volunteered their time, money and skill to the task. Together, they were able to restore the barn over a period of four years for only $65,000 dollars! By recruiting lots of volunteers, selling inscribed commemorative bricks, setting up a roadside donation box and accepting donations of equipment and labor, the enormous undertaking was accomplished,

It was for this reason that in 1992, The National Preservation Honor Award was presented to Mr. Robison and Arcadia's Historical Society Members for their "Outstanding Craftsmanship and Perseverance" in the restoration of the historic 1898 Arcadia Round Barn. The National Preservation Honor Award recognizes individuals and organizations that demonstrate exceptional accomplishment in the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and interpretation of America's architectural and cultural heritage.As the only truly "round" barn on Route 66 (most are actually hexagonal or octagonal), the Barn is 60' in diameter, 45' in height and is two stories high. The upstairs loft has a wooden floor and an architecturally impressive ceiling. The structure was designed with the notion that being round would help it withstand Oklahoma's tornadic conditions. Who knows if it is scientifically accurate, but the barn is still standing after more than 100+ years!!"