Valley History

Branch Street serves as the main thoroughfare through historic Arroyo Grande. It is appropriately named after Francis Z. Branch, the gentleman who helped the town find its beginnings. Branch came to the Arroyo Grande area on a bear hunting expedition in 1832. Charmed by the untouched land, he later purchased 16,000 acres and became a successful cattle rancher.

After a year-long drought devastated the valley in 1864, Branch began to sell parts of his land to settlers. By 1876, thirty–five families had settled in the valley and established two stores, two saloons, a wheelwright, butcher shop, launder, and livery and feed yard. A local railway depot was established in 1882 and Arroyo Grande was on it’s way to becoming an established town.

Arroyo Grande Village Improvement Association
P.O. Box 1526
Arroyo Grande, CA 93421
(805) 473-2250
(805) 473-0345 (fax)


Tour The Village
As you stroll through the Village you'll begin to feel as if you have been transported back to a simpler time. You'll see the place that Arroyo Grande's outlaws were forced to call home - the Hoosegow. You'll see where thousands of travelers passed on the historic Pacific Coast Railway. You'll see where a farmer was hanged in a dispute over land that became known as the infamous "Terrible Tragedy." You'll see history!

View our video tour of Heritage Square Park and Centennial Square on YouTube.

(click on a "green marker" to display information)

A. Swinging Bridge, First built from rope in the 1880's.
B. Santa Manuela School House. Built in 1901.
C. The Barn Museum.
D. Heritage House, 126 S. Mason Street, built in 1895.
E. Ruby's House, 134 S. Mason Street, built in 1895.
F. Rotary Bandstand, in the Heritage Square Park.
G. Mrs. J.T. Richards' Home, 127 S. Mason Street, built circa 1890.
H. Mason Street Bridge, built in 1923.
I. The Paulding History House, 551 Crown Hill, built in 1889.
J. E.C. Loomis Building, 415 E. Branch, built in 1910.
K. The Pacific Coast Railroad Line (historical marker).
L. Brisco Old Hotel, 129 E. Branch, built in 1904.
M. 120 Hart Lane, built in 1860.
N. 114 W. Branch, built in 1906.
O. 124 W. Branch, built in 1887.
P. Olohan Building, 102 Bridge Street, built in 1907.
Q. 100 Branch Street, built in 1905.
R. 110 E. Branch, built in the 1880's.
S. 112 E. Branch, built in 1895.
T. 116 E. Branch, built in 1897.
U. 118 E. Branch, built in 1897.
V. 120 E. Branch, built in 1897.
W. 122 E. Branch, built in 1897.
X. I.O.O.F Hall, 128 Bridge Street, built in 1902. Village Map
Y. Bridge Street bridge, built in 1906.
Z. Hoosegow, on LePoint Street, built circa 1906.


Website Design by Tom Goss
© 2008 Arroyo Grande Village Improvement Association • Photos by Vivian Krug & Tom Goss