Established in 1884 by a group of German-speaking immigrants, Colony of Olivenhain (pronounced Oh-LEE-ven-hine), which means "olive grove", attracted settlers who recognized the gently rolling hills and temperate climate would be ideal for agricultural pursuits. They built the meeting hall which still stands and hosts diverse community functions such as the annual Oktoberfest, Haunted House, summer movie series, craft fairs and a variety of civic group meetings.
The Olivenhain Town Council is a not-for-profit corporation formed to hold and preserve the Olivenhain Meeting Hall and property. Its objective aims to protect and preserve the rural atmosphere the community inherited. In 1986, Olivenhain joined the cities of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia, New Encinitas, and Old Encinitas to incorporate as the City of Encinitas. It stretches from San Elijo Lagoon in the south, along both sides of Manchester Avenue and Rancho Santa Fe Road, out past the northern reach of Lone Jack Road.
With winding two-lane roads, rail fences, and trails for horses, bicycles, and pedestrians, Olivenhain has a rural atmosphere greatly prized by residents. The “Dark Skies” policy, which limits outdoor lighting, allows an unparalleled view of the evening sky. Approximately 1,500 homes lie within the community of Olivenhain today, with lot sizes ranging from one-half to five acres. The Encinitas General Plan projects a total of 1,616 homes when available lots have been built.
Wiro Park, Little Oaks Park, and Sun Vista Park are the only developed parks within Olivenhain. Catering to its sizeable equestrian population, Little Oaks Park on Lone Jack Road, has picnic tables, parking for horse trailers, a riding ring, and provides access to the vast trail system within Olivenhain which connects to several neighboring communities like Elfin Forest and Rancho Santa Fe.