Odessa was founded in 1878 when the town's first inhabitants moved into the region. These settlers were primarily Eastern Europeans who had moved to the United States. The town was named after the Ukranian city of Odessa. The first post office was founded in 1879 and has been in operation every since.
Located 45 minutes to the east of Kansas City, it has remained a small city for most of its history. In the late 1920s and 1930s the town came to be known for its ice cream. The Odessa ice Cream Company was founded in the 1920s and it was featured at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. The building that housed the Ice Cream Company was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1996.