Urb-Ex | Murphy’s Ranch

This Sunday I left the house early for some “Urban Exploration” and headed to Pacific Palisades out on the coast, to go looking for an abandoned Nazi complex.

Murphy ranch was built in the late 1930’s and is said to have been home to a group of American Nazi sympathizers. The infrastructure on this lot was home to a 395,000 gallon water tank, a 20,000 gallon diesel fuel tank and a power station, those three things alone suggested that these followers of the Third Reich meant business and were here to stay.

Entrance to the compound is roughly one mile along Sullivan Fire Road on the Rustic Canyon hiking trail, The whole area still has the barbed wire topped fence around it and the main gates are still intact except for a small section of the wall to the left that has been knocked down, this is where we got in..

According to locals this compound was supposed to be the “seat of American fascism”. A place were ~ when the time came ~ Hitler could rule the United States and restore order. The owners Norman and Winona Stephens began constructing this “utopia” in 1933 with the help of a mysterious German man called Herr Schmidt, blueprints revealed a huge mansion and other buildings were planned to be built on this site however, at some point after the US entered world war two, the site was raided by the FBI, Schmidt arrested, and the place ceased to have any doings with the Fuhrer and his evil plans.

The whole photographic hike lasted about 3 hours on a pleasant Sunday morning and I got some reasonable shots, All that’s left now up there is the power station (minus the generators) which is the building above covered in graffiti inside and out, a garage/machine shed, which is now in ruins after the Mandeville Canyon fire. The Diesel tank which amazingly one side of this huge structure is completely pushed in, I would love to know if vandals done this or its just nature over time, but either way its impressive to think something has smashed the entire side of this 30ft high container in so much. Finally the water tank at the top near the gates is nothing but a hollow shell, its hard to tell from the photo but the side walls must be at least 20-30 feet high with no way out, lucky we didn’t fall down in there.

I took my Leica X1 and my Canon 5D with 17-40mm out with me, mainly using the Canon for HDR shots in those darker places, the X1 was used in typical Leica Fashion to get the black and white shots from the area.

To get to the trail leave the 405 freeway at Sunset Blvd exit, head west on Sunset until you reach Capri Drive North, head up Capri drive until you get to Casale road, at this junction somewhere is a good place to park, head out on Casale road until it turns into Sullivan Fire road, the gates are about a mile up the trail.

Here is a link to an LA Times article from 1990 on the area.

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