On a beautiful SoCal day the Obscura Society LA chapter paid a visit to the long abandoned Nazi compound in Rustic Canyon, just outside Will Rogers State Park.

Obscura Society LA - Murphy Ranch

Located in the Santa Monica Hills and built in the 1930s, the compound once suspected of harboring Nazi sympathizers in WWII has stood more or less abandoned since the 1940s. It is now covered in graffiti and falling down around the edges, and there are rumors that it will soon be torn down once and for all.

We approached the remains of Murphy Ranch from the back, climbing down over 500 stairs to the valley floor to find the remains of the power station, shed and machine shop, then the collapsing and bee infested barn, before the winding ascent past a massive water tank to the front gate. Exploring does little to shed light on the mystery of the place, unfortunately, but in a city where so many people are disconnected from the local history it’s something amazingly weird to see, and always a conversation starter, even in jaded LA.

Obscura Society LA - Murphy Ranch

Our adventurous crew in front of the graffiti covered structure that once housed the generator.

Obscura Society LA - Murphy Ranch

Ascending the ladder to the catwalk in the power station.

Obscura Society LA - Murphy Ranch

Murphy Ranch’s front gate, oddly enough designed by famed African-American architect Paul Revere Williams. The only part of his designs for the Ranch that was built.


Obscura Society LA - Murphy Ranch

All photos by LA Field Agent Maggie Suter

You can hike to Murphy Ranch on your own. Please note that it is a semi remote location, with no services and uneven trails.
Directions to the trailhead, via HikeSpeak.com: “From Sunset Boulevard, 3 miles west of the 405, turn north at the light onto Capri Drive. After 1/3 mile continue through the traffic circle, remaining on Capri Drive for another 1/3 mile until it comes to and end at Casale Road. Sullivan Ridge Fire road begins to the left. Find street parking to the right or on an adjacent road.”



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