In 1873 the first settlers, George McKeller and Porter Brown, arrived near the Valley County site which would later become Arcadia. They were followed in 1874 by Samuel Hawthorne, his brother Boone and their families. Mrs. Hawthorne named the community Arcadia, after the Greek region of Arcadia, which symbolizes ideal simplicity and contentment. Samuel Hawthorne established a post office and was appointed the first postmaster on June 27, 1874. The first school was established in the house of Boone Hawthorne with Mingerson Coombs as teacher.
The Arcadia town site was platted by John Wall and Parley Round and put into the record October 3, 1885. The first buildings housed a general store, hardware store, and harness shop. The community's economy improved with the arrival of the Burlington Railroad in 1887. The Arcadia Roller Mills, established in the late 1880's, also boosted prosperity.
The residents of the Arcadia area have experienced setbacks and natural disasters: Indian scares and locust attacks in 1874; the blizzards of 1888 and 1948-1949; major fires in 1890, 1904, and 1937; and tornadoes in 1904, 1959, and 1974. Despite the setbacks, Arcadia simply and contentedly anticipates tomorrow.