Rural Missouri Magazine

New life for
Arcadia Academy

by Jeff Joiner

It’s not uncommon for people traveling up and down Highway 21 in Iron County to do a double take and pull in and take a closer look at the imposing Arcadia Academy, a one-time Catholic girl’s school which attracted students from all over the world to the Missouri Ozarks.

The original academy was opened in 1846 as a Methodist school and later served as a military hospital for Union troops during the Civil War. In 1877 Catholic nuns with the Ursaline Order bought the academy and operated it as school until 1970. It remained a convent for nuns until 1985.

The large cemetery on this month’s cover contains the graves of many of the Ursaline sisters who lived and taught at the academy. The large grounds of the academy, including several buildings, are listed as a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the academy, owned by Brenda and LaMar Oyler, is home to a restaurant called Thee Abbey Kitchen, a gift shop, an antique mall with 51 dealers and the five-room Arcadia Academy Bed and Breakfast Inn. The academy chapel, which still contains its original stained glass windows, is available for weddings while reception facilities and catering can be done by the academy staff.

The Arcadia Academy is located on 128 South College St., just off Highway 21, in Arcadia. For more information call (573) 546-4249.



Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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