:: BerDerp™ ::

dishing out life through the lens… it tells all

:: UrbEx Series :: Rispin Mansion :: part 1

with 6 comments

it had been a lengthy passage of time since the last UrbEx series before yesterday’s “shell” posting – so let’s keep the ball rollin’ with an intro to Rispin Mansion. This abandoned structure sits on the banks of Soquel Creek in Capitola on 6.5 acres. It was built out of 500 tons of solid cement. 

When F. A Hihn died in 1913 his daughter put the estate up for sale. Rispin comes along (actually a rich San Franciscan) at the end of WW1 and buys it up.  It features 4 stories and 22 rooms.

He clearly he had opulent and sumptious plans for this “Capitola-by-the-Sea“, but by 1928 he was flat broke.
He lost the mansion and pretty much all of his assets over the next 3 years. 

Next a millionaire from Burlingame, Rober Hays Smith, bought the home, but the family ran into financial hardship during the Great Depression (duh) and wound up abdicating the estate in 1939. He never even lived there.
From there it was sold to the Catholic Church and was used as a convent until the nuns left in the late ’50s. They left because of reported cold spots in the house and the flurry of unwanted visitors.. and whether or not that includes the several reputed ghosts is vague.
But apparently it hosted generations of keg parties and even some hippie squatters who lived there for a few years in the 60’s with a heard of goats on the top floor.  It’s been slated to become an Inn & Spa but the project length seems very protracted. 
more pics and the “Lady in Black” tomorrow on part 2

Written by kapshure

January 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm

6 Responses

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  1. What a beautiful building. What a shame that it has fallen into such disrepair. How do you find these places?


    January 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm

  2. […] UrbEx Series :: Rispin Mansion :: part 1 « :: BerDerp™ […]

  3. I have a few Urban Exploration pics on my website, take a look: UnseenBritain.co.uk


    January 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm

  4. i will do that!


    January 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

  5. Unfortunately the mansion was gutted by a an unexplained fire in May of 2009 and collapsed into itself. All the beautiful wood details and beams are now ash inside a concrete shell.

    The plans for a luxury hotel were anulled by the town in October of 2009 and the developers have lost the deal to renovate. The polished Rispin Hotel website that would have handled the reservations has been shut down. The property is slated to become the site for Capitola’s new library.

    I’ve been inside this house extensively and have taken 100’s of photos for the past 10-years, some of which are kindly posted here with detailed histories:


    It seems anyone associated with this house seems to lose assets, it has always had a heavy energy and was a maze of stairways and halls. The Poor Clare nuns who used the house as a monastery fled after 10-years moving out through a tube of black fabric from house to trucks. There used to be a chapel built onto the structure off to the left in the aerial photo. The place has got some history to it.

    Rispin’s wife Annette generally stayed in her San Francisco home and he also had a son Allen who passed away at 45. Mother, son, father all died within 6-years of each other in the 40’s.

    scott Viertel

    January 2, 2010 at 7:22 pm

  6. […] quick google search revealed these guys did some spelunking just a bit before I did.UrbEx Rispin Mansion Part 1UrbEx Rispin Mansion Part […]

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