3 The History of The Penny
4 The History of The Penny

Unveiling the Legacy of The Penny: A Story Woven Through Time

In the heart of San Luis Obispo lies The Penny, a venue whose industrial brick walls and rustic charm encapsulate a tapestry of rich history. While the concrete facts about its past have been shrouded in the whispers of generations, the tale of this cherished property has been pieced together, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Central Coast History Foundation, the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune, the History Center of San Luis Obispo County, and the city’s residents themselves. To all who have contributed to preserving the legacy of this special place, we extend our heartfelt gratitude.

6 The History of The Penny

A Legacy Forged in Steel: The Klauke Era (1937-1985)

In 1937, the Klauke family breathed life into what is now The Penny. Dora and Henry G. Klauke, after the demolition of their blacksmithing shop, erected the current building at 664 Marsh Street. With their sons, Henry L. and Roy, they continued the family tradition of blacksmithing and welding, establishing themselves as the premier metal fabricators in the San Luis Obispo community. For nearly five decades, the Klauke family’s home stood adjacent to their bustling shop, where children played amidst the three barns dotting the property, one of which dates back to 1895 and still graces our patio today.

Preserving the Past: The Spangler Era (1987-2018)

In 1985, faced with the city’s proposal to transform their property into a parking lot, the Klauke family sought a steward who would honor its legacy. Enter Mike Spangler, a man known throughout the community for his mechanical prowess and entrepreneurial spirit. Despite initial skepticism, Spangler proved himself a faithful custodian of the Klauke tradition. He transformed the space into a hub for his ventures, preserving the original equipment and adorning the walls with a collection of mechanical memorabilia that paid homage to San Luis Obispo’s industrial heritage.

Continuing the Journey: The Penny Era (2018-Present)

In 2018, a group of passionate event professionals and SLO locals, assumed stewardship of The Penny. The partners from Sidecar, Tinker Tin Co, and the children of Mike Spangler combined their business acumen and passion for events, to breathe new life into the space, reopening its doors in 2019. Today, The Penny stands as a testament to its storied past, hosting a myriad of events, from weddings to corporate gatherings. As custodians of this cherished venue, we are honored to carry forward its legacy, ensuring that the laughter and joy that have echoed within its walls for generations continue to resonate for years to come.

With each passing event, The Penny remains a beacon of celebration, weaving together the threads of past and present to create timeless memories for all who cross its threshold.