San Franciscans who helped develop Capitola by-the-Sea from 1920-1936 : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Capitola Historical Museum seeks information about Henry Allen Rispin and Robert Hays Smith of Burlingame. Both were oil magnates and real estate promoters who sought to develop the California coastline in the Twenties. Rispin bought Capitola from Frederick Hihn in 1919. He owned the entire town. In 1920, he built a 22-room mansion, designed (we think) by an architect named George McCrea of S.F. Rispin sunk about $1 million into Capitola but overspeculated and went broke about 1928. Capitola was sold at an auction on the beach. It seems that Smith, a friend, stepped in and bought the mansion and the Capitola Golf and Country Club. Smith was well known, a member of the Bohemian Club and Burlingame Country Club. Smith and his son, Nicol, ran the Capitola Corporation until they lost their fortune about 1936. Capitola historical researchers know little about the Smith family or the fate of Rispin after 1930. We do know he died a pauper in 1945-46 and is buried in an unmarked grave at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Information about R.H. Smith's association with Rispin and about architect McCrea is appreciated.

-- Carolyn Swift (, February 16, 1998


Attn Ms Carolyn Swift

Could you please send me any further information about Henry Allen Rispin, WE are missing a Link in our Family Tree and would appreciate any information you might have, Or to let me know were I might get more information about Henry Allen Rispin.

Thanking you Yours sincerely Mary

-- mary murphy ne Rispin (, May 08, 1999.

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