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Traditional Geocache

The Lost Village of Purissima

A cache by PurplePeople, adopted by Geobun Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 7/16/2005
2 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

The founders of Purissima were squatters. Like many in the Gold Rush years, they simply occupied portions of Spanish land grants whose owners lacked the force or legal power to evict them.

The first batch to squat here were thrown out, but the next managed to stay. In 1853 they began a small town that eventually boasted a school, store, saloon and dance hall, and blacksmith and harness shops, and was a market town for the nearby loggers and farmers and a stop for the coastal stagecoach routes. The growing village of Purissima (named for the original Spanish grant) had ambitions to compete with Spanishtown (later called Half Moon Bay) to the north for the commerce of the San Mateo coast.

In 1868, John Purcell deeded land for a cemetery. With the discovery of modest amounts of oil nearby in the 1880s, Purissima reached its peak. Pioneer coastal restaurateur Kurt Doebbel built a 17 room mansion in the village, a home base for his 1000 acre coastal wheat and potato ranch. The land title must have been regularized in some fashion, as Doebbel was able to mortgage both home and land to banker and logger Henry Cowell, who foreclosed on them during an economic downturn in 1890. (Hence the name of Cowell Ranch Beach to the north).

The oil boom was shortlived, and the superior location of Half Moon Bay for both land and sea transportation of perishable produce began to tell. While it grew, Purissima shrank, to oblivion as a ghost town in the 1930s. Other than tombstones, the only remains are foundations among the enormous cypress and eucalyptus at the southeast corner of Highway One and Purissima Road, all covered with masses of nonnative ivy and periwinkle and native blackberry vines. The lost village of Purissima has been swallowed up as surely as any Mayan jungle ruin.

The cache contains a logbook and a few small trade items, including a golden dollar for the FTF. Bring your own pen or pencil. The cache is not in the ivy or other vines. You might also like to explore the old cemetery at 37 24.226N, 122 24.996 W, reached by a short trail from the south side of the road, about 100 yards east of the cache. The gravesites are still maintained, though overrun with periwinkle and other vines.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Jneavat Haqretebhaq Pnoyr

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



455 Logged Visits

Found it 432     Didn't find it 6     Write note 7     Temporarily Disable Listing 1     Enable Listing 1     Needs Maintenance 2     Owner Maintenance 5     Update Coordinates 1     

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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 1/13/2018 11:04:07 AM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (7:04 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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