The Round Barn in Arcadia, Oklahoma, on Sunday, June 11, will mark the 25th anniversary of the rehabilitation and reopening of the historic structure along Route 66.
The event will run from 1 to 4 p.m. that day with live music, a car cruise-in, special guest speakers and the POPS food truck on the premises serving snacks and meals.
Round Barn trustee Jimmy Blue said it will be an informal gathering, with no set schedule.
The Arcadia Round Barn itself is older than a quarter-century. William Odor built it in 1898. According to the barn’s website:
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.
After years of neglect, the barn’s roof collapsed in 1988. The estimated cost of repairs would have been $165,000.
Instead, a retired local contractor, Luke Robison, assembled a group of volunteers called the Over-the-Hill Gang to restore the barn. Using volunteer time, selling commemorative bricks and putting a donations box by the side of the road, the barn’s roof was rebuilt over a four-year period for $65,000. It remains one of the most impressive historic restorations on Route 66.
“The barn is four stories tall, and I bet Luke put nearly every nail into that roof, way up there,” Blue said, who was a young man living in the area at the time. “That’s not bad for an old man.”
Blue said Robison died not long after the barn’s repairs were finished.
The barn continues to be open for tourists, many of them traveling Route 66.
Also, on the second Sunday of each month, acoustic bands play on the barn’s second floor. Playing in the center of the floor, the round roof creates an echo effect for the musicians.