A Beautiful Bay Area Naturist Resort Since 1935
Founded in 1935, Lupin has survived adversity, hard times and creditors for more than three-quarters of a century. In spite of that, Lupin remains an idyllic spot nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains where countless naturists retreat from the stress and worry of the cities.
Lupin also played an important role in the birth and development of naturism. In 1906, a man named Richard Ungewitter wrote an idealistic book, “The Nacktheit” (“Nakedness”), which argued for the benefits of social nudity. By 1936, the book had led to nudist nature retreats in Europe which emphasized health and fitness as well as acceptance of the naked body. Proponents hoped the philosophy would increase the acceptance of nudity, and educate the general public to a natural acceptance of the entire body.
Following this philosophy of the naturist lifestyle was George Spray, who would become the founder of Lupin. An enthusiastic naturist, Spray could only practice his lifestyle in unadvertised and hidden naturist retreats. His goal was to open a public place for nudists and their families. In 1936, during the innovative time of FDR’s New Deal, he founded the “Elysium Foundation,” (“Elysium” means “heavenly place.”) However, few people joined, and he could not support the venture. Creditors’ demands soon forced George Spray to give up his dream.
For about a year Elysium was supported by a man named Gene L. Gene paid off the creditors and hired a couple who would become resident managers. After the departure of Gene, two couples, the Webers and the Boufills, took over the management of the property. One of their first actions was to change the name to Rock Canyon Lodge.
Club membership dwindled during World War II. The lodge was severely impacted by rationing of gas, rubber, and food. Money was tight and many people were in the armed forces or the workplace.
In 1946, George and Paulette Boufill bought the property and immediately renamed it Villa Paulette. Three years later, for some unknown reason, she changed the name to Lupin Lodge. Sadly, Paulette suffered a fatal heart attack in 1949.
During the fifties Lupin underwent some important changes. Social nudity was still not widely practiced, so there were few visitors to the Lodge. But by the end of the sixties, America had gone through an enormous change. The anti-war movement, women’s’ movement, and the environmental movement encouraged people to think in new ways about many things, including naturism. With a new respect for the human body and a belief in the healing properties of naturism, Lupin saw a resurgence of Lupin.
Several events and parties helped bring positive attention to Lupin’s beautiful, tranquil, clothes free setting. Newspaper reporters and broadcasters interviewed members and owners. Grateful and curious naturists ascended and the real fun began. The new interest in Lupin prompted a face-lift renovating and modernizing some buildings including the lodge.
Then, late in the eighties, disaster struck the area. The Great Lexington fire in July of 1983 was a frightening event for Lupin and neighbors in the surrounding hills. The new structures at Lupin were in danger of burning. The fire eventually burned 14,000 acres and devastated many of the nearby residents’ homes. Fortunately, Lupin lost no buildings or landscaping.
Yet, as they say “Out of the mud grows the lotus.” The fire gave Lupin the opportunity to serve its neighbors by offering Lupin as a staging area for the many firefighters and equipment, including bulldozers that pushed down huge oaks to create firebreaks. The fact that Lupin had been of great service to hundreds created a welcome bonanza of publicity for Lupin.
The more than 75 years of Lupin’s existence has been possible because of George Spray’s dream. His dedication to the Lupin philosophy of love for nature, freedom to be naked and developing a place that brings peace to all visitors. As George Spray once said, Lupin was, and is, “a place of mythical happening.”