The Society of Pacific Grove is a nonprofit organization formed in 1975 to foster an appreciation of the city’s historical and architectural resources through preservation activities and public education. The Heritage Society also works to encourage the preservation and restoration of the buildings that contribute to the beauty and unique character of Pacific Grove.
The Barn at Laurel and 17th in Pacific Grove, fondly known as “Ketcham’s Barn,” was built in 1891 by H. C. Ketcham who used it to house animals. Hay and other provisions were brought inside to the loft. A rope and pully mechanism is still in place.
In 1903, Ketcham sold the Barn to E. Cooke Smith, who was a banker and real estate agent. Cooke owned a horse and buggy which he used to transport potential customers to Pacific Grove. He used the barn to house the horse and store the vehicle.
The barn was used as a cabinet shop for a short while, and a 1914 Sanborn map reveals that the barn was used as a garage for automobiles. For many years the barn went unused and vacant, and become a sort of refuge for “lost souls.”
The property was purchased by the City of Pacific Grove in 1979 and is now leased to the Heritage Society for $1.00 per year. Reconstruction of the barn was completed in 1981, and it now houses a number of local museum articles. It is also used as a meeting place for the Heritage Society Board of Directors.
The Heritage Society also maintains the adjacent lot and has added a wishing well, benches, and plantings which provide a pleasant park area for the community.