Henry Rengstorff emigrated from Germany to California during
the gold rush in 1850 when he was twenty-one. However, Henry was
too late for the easy panning of the early rush so he took a job
a job on a bay steamer. He soon discovered real wealth lay in
the land and rich agricultural bounty of the area and set about
farming and acquiring land. He raised grain and hay, kept
cattle, planted orchards, and had a private stand of redwoods
for his building needs. He built a ship landing in the shoreline
area. Rengstorff Landing became key in the development of
Mountain View. His wealth soon grew and his status as a local
In 1864 Henry needed a home fitting of his wealth and
status. He purchased 164 acres where the Shoreline Business Park
is now located and built a 12 room Victorian Italianate style
mansion. He then married Christine Hassler, another German
immigrant and together they had seven children.
After Henry's death in 1906 his daughter Elise, her husband,
and Perry Askam, the orphaned son of Henry's daughter Helena
moved into the home. Upon the death of his aunt, Perry inherited
In 1959, three years before his death, Perry sold the home
and land to the Newhall Development Company. For the next 20
years the house was home to a number of families. This is the
period when the Rengstorff House developed its supernatural
By 1979 the home had been abandoned and abused by vandals.
Land developers wanted the house torn down so they could develop
the land and citizen groups wanted the house saved. The City of
Mountain View stepped in and purchased the house for $1.00 and
moved it closer to shoreline. It was moved again, to it's
present location, in Shoreline Park in 1989. A $1.5 million
restoration of the
structure was begun and in 1991 it was opened for public
After Perry Askam sold the family property in 1959 to the
Newhall Development Company the house went through a variety of
residents and owners. It's during this period that the strange
stories about the Rengstorff House began to circulate.
During the early 1960's the house was home to Max and Mayetta
Crump. Max Crump was the manager of the Newhall Development
Company. At first, life in the house was uneventful. Then
strange things started to happen.
Thumping noises began to be heard coming from the
narrow staircase leading upstairs. During the night the Crumps
would be awakened by the sound of a child crying but
investigations could never find the source.
Other residents and visitors have also reported the thumping
and crying. They've also reported lights that flicker on and off
by themselves and cold spots that move on their own regardless
of the weather.
Mr. Crump, a very practical and rational man set out to
identify the strange noises. He set traps of flypaper around the
house and even went so far as to acquire a night vision rifle
scope to see if any human trespassers were perhaps playing a
joke on him. Night after night he stayed up on patrol of his
house yet the flypaper was never disturbed and he never saw
anything. The whole while the sounds continued. Mr. Crump
resigned himself that there was something about the house he
just couldn't explain.