Up in the Santa Monica Mountains, above the Pacific Palisades, tucked back along a dirt road, sits the Murphy Ranch. Left to ruin long ago, the place is but a vestige of what it once was a few crumbling structures and unimpressive foundations, but the notoriety of the location in Los Angeles history is what makes it interesting.
In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, the ranch was owned by Jessie M. Murphy, and built by fascist sympathizers as a base and gathering place for the Nazi’s in the United States. Rumors swirl about the true intention of the place, some claim it was just a compound for Nazi sympathizers to meet and organize, others claim it was ultimately intended to be Hitler’s home in America, once Germany had taken over.
The Ranch can be found by parking at the start of Sullivan Ridge Fire Road in Pacific Palisades, and following it back a little over half a mile to where there is a break in the chainlink fence and steep cement stairs leading down the hill. At the base of the hill, the first ruins can be seen, a graffiti coated foundation of one of the ranch’s out buildings.
Around the bend from this first foundation, the most complete structure in the area sits behind a chain link fence, warding off trespassers, though by the extensive graffiti coating the walls, and the ease at which I snuck in for photography, the fence is more for show than for practical use. This building, the old powerhouse for the complex, is as ruined and destroyed a place as I’ve ever seen. Decades of squatters and graffiti artists have done extensive damage to it, leaving their mark and their trash all over the place.
Shoes and children’s toys hang from the rafters, and a thick layer of sand and dust covers everything. Discarded alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia lie strewn everywhere, and the smell of shit pervades the air. It’s a horrible place, but still oddly beautiful, in a twisted, ruined way.
Shoes in the Rafters
Light Bars and Graffiti
Ladder to the Roof
The ranch house itself has long since collapsed into ruin, twisted metal and collapsed walls and roof all that remains of the old house. It’s possible to walk the old house grounds, but the extensive rusting and jagged metal makes it an intimidating walk.
Remains of the Murphy Ranch House
All in all the Murphy Ranch makes for a good day-hike into the Santa Monica Mountains, a short jaunt for a cool weekend day. More information can be found at the wikipedia page, or through this write-up at curbed.com.