This red, round barn—60 feet in diameter and 43 feet in height—is exceptional in Oklahoma, a state where round barns are rare, primarily because a dairy industry never developed in the early decades following statehood. William Harrison Odor, who settled in Oklahoma County three years after the land run, built this two-story barn in 1898 with rafters cut from green burr oak trees. To shape the curved rafters, he soaked them in water until they were malleable and then bent them into a mold.
Initially the barn was used for livestock and the storage of hay and grain. Later it became a harness and livery stable. From its beginning, it also served as a community center. While the barn was under construction, three young workers recognized that the building would be a good place for dances and they persuaded Odor to let them pay the difference between rough-sawn flooring and hardwood flooring. For several decades, “barn dances” attracted dancers and musicians to Arcadia from a wide area.
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, the barn has since faced structural challenges. The most devastating of these came in 1988 when the barn’s roof collapsed. Repairing the roof was estimated to cost a prohibitive $165,000, but a retired building contractor, Luther “Luke” Robinson, offered to oversee the restoration with a group of volunteer carpenters. It took them four years to repair the roof but because of his devotion to the project, Robinson was able to cut the overall repair cost by $100,000.
Today, the barn stands in excellent condition at the edge of town, on historic Route 66. An onsite storyteller greets visitors seven days a week and the second-story loft has become a popular place for weddings and other private events.
“The Arcadia Round Barn.” The Arcadia Round Barn. Accessed September 17, 2014. www.arcadiaroundbarn.com.