I would love to tell you about the building – Ketcham’s Barn.

When Pacific Grove was laid out as a city in the late 1800’s, streets were planned, lots were drawn up and sold and buildings began sprouting up. This particular site, Lot 1 of Block 40, was sold by the Pacific Improvement Company to a Mrs. Hill in 1886. Four years later, Mrs. Hill sold it to J. H. Ketcham of New York. The barn was first identified as a structure on the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of 1892. It was used as a hay barn, as witnessed by the rope and pully on the upper floor of the building.

Shortly thereafter, he sold the barn to C. D. Cooke in 1893. The building was kept in private hands until 1979. When it went up for sale, the City bought it from the Radowicz family. Now the City had an old historic building on its hands and didn’t know what to do with it. 

Fortunately, the newly formed Heritage Society of Pacific Grove heard about the sale and the President, Lila Staples, began discussions with the City to use the barn as an office space. The barn was in need of a major refurbishment and the Society made an offer to assist the City in a rebuilding effort.

On July 2, 1980, the City Council passed an ordinance to enter into a 20 year lease with the Society for Ketcham’s bar. It was estimated that the cost of refurbishing the barn would be in excess of $20,000. Now all the Society had to do was to raise the money and start the project.

The Pacific Grove community was equal to the task. Engineers and architects donated plans and expertise. Steve Honegger took on the role of contractor. Numerous people and businesses gave goods or labor including lumber, plumbing, roofing, painting, electrical and mechanical equipment and even a flagpole.

Finally, in April 1981, construction began. It was a big job. The structure had to be reinforced and insulation and sheetrock installed on the interior. There was only one window and door, so more were installed to bring in light. The second story gained a new floor and stairs to replace the ladder. Although it had water and electricity, a bathroom and new lighting were needed. Work proceeded amazingly quickly. The grand opening was held on October 18, 1981, only 6 months after construction began and 16 months after the lease had been signed. The final cost was $27,381 for the renovation plus $6,625,51 for furnishings, display cabinets and a fire alarm system.

The Barn is now open each Saturday afternoon for visitors from 1:00 until 4:00.