National Register of Historic Places in Santa Cruz County

Hihn Building in Capitola, California 25 August 2005
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National Register #73000450
Hihn Building
AKA Superintendent's Office
201 Monterey Avenue
Built c.1883

The Hihn Building, constructed of local redwood, is an excellent example of the architectural style used by the Portuguese when they settled farming and fishing villages along the California coast in the latter part of the 19th Century.

The construction date is unknown, but based upon pictures, maps and conversations with local residents, it was probably built in 1883. It is the oldest commercial structure in Capitola.

Frederick A. Hihn, an early Capitola developer, acquired numerous tracts of land after the partitioning of the original land grant in 1860. In 1874, Hihn and S. A. Hall began a joint effort to develop the land as a camping resort named Camp Capitola. Hihn and Hall supplied tents to guests who came from as far as San Francisco.

The F. A. Hihn Company established Capitola as California's first seaside resort town. Other communities along the California coast are older, but Camp Capitola was the first community which was founded specifically as a seaside resort. The Hihn Building served as headquarters for resort operations until the late 1920's.

Hihn was also instrumental in the construction of a narrow gauge railroad to the new resort, the Santa Cruz-Watsonville Railroad, which was later purchased by Southern Pacific and converted to standard gauge in 1884.

Adapted from the NRHP Nomination.

The Hihn Building is also California Landmark 860.

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