April 20, 2012

Photo Essay: Rustic Canyon's Twisted History

Update 9/11/21 1:38 PM PT—I'm not 100% sure of the status of this structure as I haven't been able to get down there and see it myself, but I have heard from reliable sources that some of the ruins at Murphy Ranch have been removed. The last image I saw of this particular site, it looked entirely flattened.

I'll update this post when I have a definite confirmation.

Last year, I had the chance to delve into Rustic Canyon and it's somewhat twisted history with Nazi supporters who turned Murphy Ranch into a compound, whose relics still stand in the bottom of the canyon, graffitied and ominous.

There's the main Murphy Ranch power house, the easiest to find and the one everyone seems to know about.

There's also a farmhouse barn, possibly formerly part of the Camp Josepho Boy Scout camp...

And I knew there was also a twisted, rusted, burned-out steel structure that was a machine shed and garage, but I hadn't yet been able to find it.

So I kept going back until I could.

And just a little farther down the road, there it was.

Nature is taking over...

...trees and flowers consuming the rubble...

...and - between the graffiti and the flowers - the juxtaposition of rotting metal and exploding color... dazzling.

Related Reading:
Rustic Canyon's Nazi Ruins "Murphy Ranch" in the Santa Monica Mountains (
Rustic Canyon Loop in Topanga State Park (

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