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History Summaries
Capitola History

Rispin Mansion Summary
Capitola, CA
by Vaughn Aubuchon

Henry Rispin . . . . . . . . Rose
Henry Allen Rispin - 1930's resident Rose ?
.

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Rum running.
Secret rooms and passageways.
Twisted hallways.
Vaulted ceilings.
Evil in the basement.
Ghosts. It's all here.

300

140

.
Prohibition History!

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The Developer's Plans
Rispin Mansion News

Brief Chronological History

Crude Layout Drawing

Capitola Rispin FAQs

Renovation Article - 1999

Ghost Story

.
Photos

Early Rispin Interior Photographs

Early Rispin Exterior Photographs

Recent Rispin Interior Photographs

Recent Rispin Interior Photographs #2

Recent Exterior Photos (below)

Links

Capitola Historical Museum


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Rispin Mansion News - Chronological

Dec. 4, 2003

Council considers Rispin plan tonight
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Ramona Turner

Dec. 6, 2003

Rispin's future will have to wait
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Ramona Turner

Dec. 11-17, 2003

Reeling Over Rispin
Good Times, CA - - Bruce Willey

Dec 12, 2003

Capitola adds conditions to Rispin plan
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Chuck Anderson

Dec. 18-24, 2003

Rispin Reshuffle
Good Times, CA - - Bruce Willey

Mar. 30, 2004

Capitola Mulls Rispin Deal
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Ramona Turner

Sept. 03, 2004

Rispin Remodel Gets Green Light
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Ramona Turner

June 27, 2005

Inn at Rispin Is Around the Corner
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Soraya Gutierrez

May 28, 2009

Huge Fire at Rispin Mansion

Sept. 29, 2009

Deadline to Start Construction

Oct. 9, 2009

Capitola Kills Rispin Renovation
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Alia Wilson

May 28, 2010

City Considers Razing Rispin
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Jondi Gumz

Feb. 8, 2012

Rispin Gets $650,000 Makeover
Santa Cruz Sentinel, CA - Jondi Gumz

130

338 - 768

300




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Rispin Mansion Photographs - Recent Exterior

 1- Entrance Painting

 10- Back Stairs Recent

 2- Entrance 1930

 11- Look Up to Patio Recent

 3- Entrance Recent

 12- Creek side architecture

 4- Entrance Recent

 13- 1930 Creek side View-1

5- Looking out front door

 14- 1930 Creek side View-2

 6- View from Perry Park trail

 15- 1930 Creek side View-3

 7- North Side Recent

 16- Cupola from North

8- Side Staircase Recent

 17- Southeast Side Recent

 9- Back Stairs 1930

 18- Cupola from South



Rispin Mansion Hegoyle - Josh
Rispin Mansion Shegoyle - Shelby
Hegoyle
Shegoyle



Rispin Mansion painting
1. Looking North - Wharf Road to the left - watercolor -
by Bob Newick, Aptos

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Rispin mansion garage
2. Looking North - Front Entrance in 1930,
complete with 2 dogs -
from the
Capitola Historical Museum
Distorted - vertically stretched

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Rispin mansion entrance
3. Looking North - Wharf Road to the left - recent -
from Capitola Tour

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Rispin mansion entrance - Beverly Pinelli
4. Looking North - Wharf Road to the left - recent -
Photo by Beverly Pinelli (link doesn't work)
SOLID CEMENT - Approximate weight = 500 tons or 1 million pounds
This place is really heavy, man!

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Rispin mansion entry alcove
5. Looking south out the front door - recent-? -
from the Capitola Historical Museum

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Rispin mansion chapel - back bedrooms
6. Looking southeast from Perry Park trail -
June 2003 - by Yours Truly

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Rispin mansion back bedrooms - kitchen
7. Looking south at the north side of the building-
July 2003 - by Yours Truly

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Rispin mansion alcove to kitchen
8. Looking west toward Wharf Road - recent -
from
Capitola Tour

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Rispin mansion back stairway
9. Looking South - Creek side staircase
along creek side of house circa 1930 -
from the
Capitola Historical Museum
The "Lady in Black" seems to be observing the photographer from the upper level window.
I believe that the window blinds faintly observable on the cement wall
are the reflection from the wall behind the photographer, at the Capitola museum
(photo of a photo).

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Rispin mansion master bedroom view
10. Looking South - Creek side staircase
along creek side of house - July 2003 -
Photo by
Yours Truly

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Rispin - Josh and Shelby looking for the ghost

Rispin mansion - ghost window, master bedroom

11. Looking up at patio - by Yours Truly
Can you just barely make out the Lady in Black, with Bible in hand, in the window above in July 2003?
Some say that she is clearly visible in the 1931 photo of the same window shown above (Pic #9).

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Rispin mansion - Balustrade
12. Looking Southwest - Balustrade
along creek side of house - recent -
from
Capitola Tour

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Rispin mansion - rear view
13. Looking West - Creek side View circa 1931 -
this view long since obscured by trees -
from the
Capitola Historical Museum

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Rispin mansion - ceremonial cake
14. Looking West - Creek side View circa 1931 -
this view long since obscured by trees -
from the
Capitola Historical Museum

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Rispin mansion - back view
15. Looking West - Creek side View circa 1931 -
this view long since obscured by trees -
from the
Capitola Historical Museum

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Rispin mansion - living room windows
16. Looking Southwest - Cupola - July 2003 -
by
Yours Truly

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Rispin mansion - back side
17. Looking Southwest - Architecture along creek side of house -
July 2003 - by Yours Truly

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Rispin mansion - cupola
18. Cupola looking north - July 2003 -
Photo by Yours Truly

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Rispin mansion floor diagram
Rispin Mansion Diagram - Current Configuration
drawn by V. Aubuchon

Circled numbers plus direction correspond to Photo Numbers above.




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Rispin Mansion
Chronological History

Date

Event

 1876

Capitola founder Fredrick Hihn builds Camp Capitola on the "Beach of Soquel".

??

Rispin weds Annette (Nettie) Winfield Blake, wealthy heiress and daughter of the founder of Conoco Oil.

1900

Hihn continues to develop the area through the turn of the century.

 1913

When Capitola's owner F. A. Hihn died in 1913, his daughter, Katherine Cope Henderson, put the entire resort of Capitola up for sale.

1919

Henry Allen Rispin, a wealthy San Francisco oil man, bought the resort at the end of World War I.
Henry was born in Petrolia, Ontario, Canada. Early history in the Canadian theater.

1921

Henry Allen Rispin builds the solid cement 22-room Rispin mansion for $250,000.

1928

Although he had grand plans to develop "Capitola by-the-Sea," Rispin overextended himself and was broke by 1930.

1931

He lost his elaborate 22-room mansion and most of his holdings in 1930-31.
Pictures #13, #14 & #15 were taken after the Rispin home had been sold at auction to Burlingame millionaire Robert Hays Smith, who never lived there.

1939

The Smith family ran into financial problems during The Great Depression and surrendered the mansion in 1939.

 1940

The home was then sold to the Oblates of St. Joseph, a Catholic Church order, for use as a convent by the Order of Poor Clares.

 1941

Nettie Rispin, resident of San Francisco, dies at the age of 59 in Santa Clara county.

 1945

Allen Rispin, Henry and Annette's only child, dies at the age of 45.

 1947

H. A. Rispin dies penniless in San Francisco, aged 65? Buried in a pauper's grave.

1957

The nuns resided at the complex until 1957 - 17 years.
The mansion has since been vacant of permanent residents.

1960s

For a while, was a hippie commune, complete with a herd of goats on the top floor.

1970s

Police dog training was held in the basement.

1979

See Ghost story

1986

City of Capitola buys the Rispin Mansion for the purpose of preservation.

1991

The Rispin Mansion was listed on March 14, 1991 as an "Historic Place in California".

2003

Sale of the Rispin mansion to the Capitola Redevelopment Agency (select city council members?).

Ron Beardslee and Dan Floyd to create upscale "Bed and Breakfast Inn"

2009

Huge fire May 28 in main house area - living room ceiling collapse

2011

Capitola fenced and painted the mansion for preservation. A new roof has been added.

2017

Ongoing construction at the mansion.
I don't know what they are doing.



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Rispin Mansion Ghost Story (1979) -
by Doug Simerly

Doug is a former long time Santa Cruz native,
now living in Oregon. Thanks, Doug,

The Rispin mansion. I have never heard it called that. It was about 4 blocks behind my house, when I was a child. We always called it "Poor Claire's Retreat", as it was called when the nuns were there. It was a very foreboding place, and no one would go near it when we were young.

As a teenager, I talked some friends of mine into going in there. There were 4 of us, all guys. We snuck over the fence (heavy wooden one, the guy who lived near it had pit bulls, so we were really quiet.) He watched over the place.

Anyway, we peeled back a piece of plywood that was nailed over a window on the main (ground level floor, back side of house.) We had a flashlight, and it was very dark. We entered a small room, and through a doorway, entering the main room in that part of the house. Vaulted ceilings, very large room. There was a fireplace, with book cases on either side of it. As my friends walked down the hallway, I remembered something I had read somewhere, and walked up to the bookcases. They slid open, and there was a small room behind each one of them! Enough room to hide someone, or something! Nothing in there but splashes of ink on one of the walls, could not make anything of them.

Anyway, we went over every inch of the place, very careful to damage nothing. In the basement there was a red brick hallway, perfectly square, and very long. At the end it looked like a solid brick wall,sort of funny that it ended there. We rested up against the back wall, and it moved! There was a secret room behind it, about 12 foot by 8 foot, I think (it was in 1978 or 79). The wall was on a hinge, very strange. Our batteries were dead by now, so could not see a whole lot. It did not seem scary at all though, just interesting.

We did hear what sounded like footsteps a bunch of times, so thinking it was the guy watching the place, we were very quiet. Never saw anyone, spooky.

There was one room, that seemed like it must have been the main quarters for mother superior, or whoever. It had a white marble fireplace, and very ornate decorative trim, and very large windows,and a balcony overlooking the Soquel Creek, and facing what used to be a department store, and the doughnut store that my grandparents used to run. You cannot see the business, because it is probably an 1/8 of a mile away, and the trees blocked the view.

This room sounds like the one where someone saw a lady in the black dress. I never saw anything, did not take pictures,but it felt icy cold in that room, and it was probably 75-80 degrees that day.

We all felt things, heard things, but never saw anything. There was something in there, but what, I do not know. I went back quite a few times, it was a very cool place. Unfortunately, some idiots from San Jose saw our car parked outside the gate, and went in there, as we were leaving. They destroyed the fireplaces, and basically trashed the place. We would have trashed them if we knew what they were going to do, but we did not know it until we came back the next day.

Someone stepped up the security of the house, and we heard the dogs inside of the house, so we split in a BIG HURRY, and did not go back. I will always remember that place, and I was very glad to hear it is being turned into a bed and breakfast place. It was beautiful, with facades, and balconies, and looked like something right out of a horror novel.

I think that this story is representative of the
experience of many local teenagers over the years.
.


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Tags: Henry Allen Rispin - Robert Hayes Smith -
Oblates of St. Joseph - Saint Joseph's Monastery -
Order of Poor Clares - Poor Clares convent - Poor Clairs retreat
California haunted house - Capitola Historic Mansion -
Rispen Estate - Capitola prohibition



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This Vaughns Henry Allen Rispin Mansion
summary was last updated on 2017-10-29.