9/2/08 - Round Barn, Route 66, Arcadia, Oklahoma.
The Arcadia Round Barn was built in 1898. It originally served as a home for livestock and a place where dances were held for the local townspeople. As traffic slowly declined on Route 66, the town of Arcadia declined with it and after suffering decades of neglect, in 1988 the barn's immense 60' diameter roof finally collapsed. The cost of repair: a staggering $165,000 dollars.
Luther "Luke" Robison (a retired building contractor) had long admired the Round Barn and decided that he would save it from utter ruin. He and the Over the Hill Gang, (a group of retirees) volunteered their time, money and skill to the task. Over a period of four years for only $65,000 dollars they were able to restore the barn! 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.
As the only truly "round" barn (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 tornado conditions. No one knows for sure if it is scientifically accurate, but the barn is
still standing after more than 110 years!
*While I was there, an older gentleman was working in the gift shop and a woman was asking him what they used the second level for. He responded that it was used for parties, barn dances, special functions and just about everything else you can think of with the exception of square dances. She asked why square dances were excluded and before the man could answer "because it is a round
barn", I laughed out loud...