Feature-Project_Barn_resize

What is the Octagon Barn and the Octagon Barn Center?

A rare and iconic landmark unique to San Luis Obispo County, The Land Conservancy’s Octagon Barn was on the verge of collapse when The Land Conservancy stepped in to save the building and revitalize the site for community benefit. Today, thanks to many dedicated volunteers and generous donors, The Land Conservancy has restored the historic Octagon Barn itself; however, more work is needed to complete the Octagon Barn Center and open the site for public use.

The structural restoration of the Octagon Barn has involved tremendous local support from hundreds of volunteers donated thousands of hours, and many local businesses have helped with materials and construction expertise. Today, we can proudly say that the century-old Octagon Barn structure has been saved from collapse.

The Octagon Barn and its surrounding buildings, which include the Milking Parlor, Calf Barn, and other structures, which will be known as the Octagon Barn Center,  will be a landmark gateway to the City of San Luis Obispo that serves as a community gather place for recreation, education, conservation, and the arts. Since 1996, The Land Conservancy has led community efforts to lovingly restore the Octagon Barn which is now poised for new activity at the center of SLO County’s life.

Barn overview

How Does the Octagon Barn Center Benefit You and Our Community?

  • Landmark venue and gathering space that will provide unique opportunities for businesses, vendors, and organizations to engage the community
  • Capacity of up to 200 people for public and private events such as music concerts, seminars, live performances, weddings, etc.
  • New trailhead for the Bob Jones City-to-Sea Trail and a hub for three regional bicycle routes. For an image of the bicycle routes, click here.
  • Attract at least 150,000 visitors annually through events, biking, education, and tourism
  • Addition of $1-2 million per year in local business revenue through visits and events (similar impact as the SLO Marathon)
  • Preserves an iconic landmark that is in the National Register of Historic Places and symbolizes our local agricultural history
  • Provides open space on the south side of the City of San Luis Obispo where community gathering spaces are limited
  • Authentic destination for field trips, educational activities and programs year-round

To donate to the Octagon Barn project, click here. Please designate your donation “in honor of” the Octagon Barn.

Fast Facts:

Built: Circa 1906 for dairy farming

Location: 4400 Octagon Way (on S. Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo, less than 1/4 mile south of Los Osos Valley Road)

Size: 77 feet wide and 80 feet tall

Volunteer Hours Accumulated: Over 8,500 hours

Completion Target Date: 2017

Vision for the Future

Plans are underway to transform the formerly private site into a public amenity with the fully restored Barn as the keystone element. The Octagon Barn Center will be a multi-use community asset that provides for local private and public events, and a place for generations of local residents, school groups, and area visitors to learn about the importance of agriculture in San Luis Obispo County. Click the link to view the Project Plans and Renderings (please note that these are not the final plans).

The Octagon Barn Center will celebrate local agriculture and land conservation with displays highlighting the history and future of San Luis Obispo County’s landscapes. Rental fees for moderately scaled events such as barn dances, weddings, and festivals will provide self-sustaining funding for maintenance and upkeep of the facility.

At this time, the Octagon Barn is not open for public events such as weddings or private parties. If you would like to be on a waiting list for the future, please contact us. Construction has started at the Octagon Barn Center, and we are anticipating an opening date in 2017.

Barn construction

Chris Helenius (Board President), Kaila Dettman (Executive Director), and B.K. Richard (Board Trustee and Octagon Barn Center Project Manager) break ground for construction of the pump house and water system.

History: How We Got Here

In 1997, while The Land Conservancy was working with the Hayashi Family to plant trees along San Luis Obispo Creek, the nearby Octagon Barn was a vacant shell of its historic past. The crumbling structure known by area residents and visitors for over 100 years was on its last legs.  The Land Conservancy’s Executive Director at the time, Ray Belknap, approached the Hayashi Family with the idea of restoring the old barn. Ray recognized the rarity of the architecture, the symbolism- tying it to an agricultural landscape, and its potential for new life.  In 1998, The Land Conservancy leased the Octagon Barn and began the huge undertaking of its restoration.  Read more.

How You Can Help

Back when the barn was built, it was common for farmers, ranchers, and town folk to work together on barn raising events. We hope to capture this community vitality to support our current effort.

To date, the total cost of the Octagon Barn Center is projected at over $5 million, and we are 85% of the way to our fundraising goal. To get the Barn doors open, we need $250K, but to complete the entire Octagon Barn Center, we need is $550K to complete the vision. Join us in raising a barn and raising our community. Donate today!

Click here for more ways you can help.

concept overview

Major Project Partners and Donors
  • SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY PARKS
  • CITY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO
  • CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESOURCES AGENCY
  • SAN LUIS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS (SLOCOG)
  • FORBES FAMILY FOUNDATION
  • WESTLAND ENGINEERING
  • SAN LUIS BICYCLE CLUB
  • WALLACE GROUP
  • CALTRANS
  • Harold J. Miossi Trust
  • Avila Ranch, LLC
  • Hind Foundation
  • John and Howard Hayashi
  • Utility Telephone
  • Ten Over Studio
  • Bob Vessely Engineering
  • Kyle Roofing
  • NK Builders
  • PG&E
  • Thoma Electric
  • NRG Solar
  • Specialty Construction
  • Growing Grounds-TMHA
  • RRM Design Group
  • Mason’s Union
  • KD Janni Landscaping

Thank you to all our community donors and partners who have supported this project in the past and who still continue to do so. A special thank you to B.K. Richard, Land Conservancy Board Trustee, who voluntarily serves as the Octagon Barn Project Coordinator. This project would not be possible without all of you!

Octagon Barn Links

Subscribe to Cupola View News!

For the latest edition of the Cupola View, click here.

* indicates required




Email Format


Visit Site