The history of Arcadia dates back to the late 1800’s. The federal government honored the thriving community with the placement of a post office, which was officially named on August 2, 1890. The Arcadia community continued to grow and prosper during these early years, developing great commerce with much of it connected to the train depot that was used to move passengers and freight. Original land for a township was donated by Mr.William Odor (Arcadia Addition) – March, 1903; and Mr.Benjamin & Sarah Newkirk (Newkirk Addition) – April, 1903.
The Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad laid the tracks so that the agricultural products of Arcadia could be easily delivered to the larger urban areas in need of these products. The town was originally incorporated and the first elections were held in the early 1920’s. All of the documentation of the early elections and town’s incorporation were lost or destroyed.
U.S. Highway 66 – The Mother Road – was commissioned by Congress in November of 1926. Route 66 was built between 1927 and 1930 and runs from Chicago to L.A. This travel marvel, for it’s time, ran through Arcadia and brought travelers from all over the world to our great community.
In the early days, the roots of the economy in the Arcadia area were agricultural. Cotton was the cash crop for the economy. At one time, the town had three cotton gins as well as a pharmacy, school, post office, bank, newspaper, churches, general stores and other assorted businesses. In 1924 the town fell victim to a great fire that destroyed all the businesses and buildings on the east side of Main Street. Many of the buildings were never to be replaced after the fire. The town went along for the next fifty years at its small town pace until 1974. In November of 1974 the town was deluged with a downpour of rain that washed out many of the bridges and roads of the area. So much of the railroad tracks were damaged that the trains stopped running to Arcadia. The train as a form of transportation has never returned to Arcadia.
Despite a slower pace, the community continued to be a stable home to generations of families. Citizens took great pride in Arcadia and assumed the responsibility for providing community activities through civic organizations, churches, and the Arcadia Community Council. Arcadia was self-governed in much the same fashion as America’s founding fathers. Citizens came together every two (2) years and elected a 5 member governing board, the Arcadia Community Council Board. Whenever a major decision needed to be made, the Board called a meeting of citizens and decisions were made by group consensus. Street signs were installed, a community center was established and programs for families and youth were provided.
In 1983 the town started the process to become officially recognized by the State of Oklahoma as an incorporated town. Many people led the charge, including the current mayor, Marilyn Murrell. The effort ran into many roadblocks along the way. Arcadia became an example of the saying by noted anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever does.”
After 4 1/2 years of effort by citizens and volunteers, on July 29, 1987 Governor Henry Bellmon signed a historic Executive Order declaring Arcadia a town. After a long and distinguished history Arcadia’s day had finally come. As Arcadia continues to grow, it epitomizes the motto: Unity, Pride and Commitment.