Arcadia’s Round Barn - 405 Magazine

Arcadia’s Round Barn

In a series devoted to fact-checking Sooner State folklore, M.J. Alexander investigates the purported uniqueness of the Round Barn of Arcadia.


It’s more than 100 years old, 60 feet in diameter and the star of innumerable photographs – the Round Barn of Arcadia was built in 1898 as William “Big Bill” Odor’s pet project, and became a community meeting place and then a Route 66 landmark. The site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977, and was the subject of a massive, and award-winning, volunteer restoration effort in 1988 when the original roof collapsed; today it remains a one-of-a-kind wonder. Or does it?

THE CLAIM: The Round Barn of Arcadia is “the only truly ‘round’ barn” in America.

THE SOURCE: The Round Barn of Arcadia website:

FACT CHECK: Although the circular structure in question is a famous Route 66 sight and a striking example of design, the Arcadia landmark is distinctive but not unique: dozens of other “true round” barns dot the countryside from coast to coast.

Among the best-preserved true round barns on the National Historic Register: the Fitzgerald Round Barn in Teton County, Montana; the Shelbourne Round Barn in Shelbourne, Vermont; the Annala Round Barn in Iron County, Wisconsin; the C.A. Rownd Round Barn in Black Hawk County, Iowa; the Starke Round Barn near Red Cloud, Nebraska; the Strauther Pleak Round Barn in Decatur Country, Indiana; the Lewis Round Barn in Mendon, Illinois; DeTurk Round Barn in Santa Clara, California; and the Round Stone Barn in Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Arcadia does not even have the only true round barn in Oklahoma. Marvin Bules, a retired builder who was tired of having winds damage his traditional wooden barns, built a true round barn out of double rows of brick in 2004. The structure stands on his land north of Pond Creek in Grant County.

Editor’s note: Oklahoma is rich with history, lore and fun facts, but some of them aren’t quite factual. In this series, M.J. Alexander hunts for the accuracy – or lack thereof – behind some of our state’s stories.