In 1927, Vista del Mar School was built on land deeded from the Hollisters after three nearby schools were combined. The school, with its signature jet fighter aircraft on the playground, served generations of children until it was closed down in 1986 because of safety concerns associated with an oil-processing facility Chevron was constructing nearby.
As part of the regulatory process, Chevron built a temporary school farther east, and later built a new school with a new name, Vista de Las Cruces, north of the Gaviota tunnel.
The former school and surrounding 2.81 acres reverted to the Hollisters, and the stucco, red-tiled building remained empty, become more and more run down as years passed. In June 2004, the Gaviota Fire burned 7,500 acres in the vicinity, destroying phone lines and electricity to the abandoned building.