The graffiti-covered ruins at the abandoned Murphy Ranch in Rustic Canyon are legendary not for their colorful exteriors, but for their colorful history, which supposedly involved a group of Nazi sympathizers and definitely involved someone hoping to build a sustainable utopia, inspired by Nazi ideals and centered on an incredible mansion (unfortunately unbuilt). The site is located in a tree-filled canyon in Pacific Palisades, and has become a popular hiking destination. But, according to LA Hikes, Murphy Ranch's days are numbered: many of the ruins are due to be demolished next month, and some of the minor structures are already coming down.
LA Hikes spoke to a city parks ranger who told them that the demolition is set for February 23. The anonymous ranger said that, though the multi-structure compound has been threatened with demolition in the past, "this location has finally became such [an] annoyance for the city that they have finally decided to tear it down." The process has already started on a couple minor structures, like a water tank and a garage, the ranger said. A rep for Councilmember Mike Bonin's office tells Curbed via phone that only some of the more structurally unsafe buildings are coming down, but others will only get anti-trespassing additions, like metal plates on the window openings. Curbed has a call in to the Recreation and Parks Department for more details.
Those looking to check out the ranch before it's gone should be sure to keep their distance. LA Hikes notes that it's already "closed" and no trespassing signs are up to dissuade anyone who'd like to go inside the buildings. Apparently, at least a couple citations have been handed out; on the day the blog visited the ranch, four unlucky teens were cited by the ranger when they were caught sneaking into the ranch's barn.
The Murphy Ranch legend stretches all the way back to the 1930s, when a husband and wife of considerable means and unclear origins appeared on the scene in LA with a ton of money to put into building a four-story mansion and compound in the hills north of what's now Will Rogers State Historic Park—supposedly under the influence of a mysterious man named Herr Schmidt. Pan Pacific Auditorium architects Plummer, Wurdeman & Becket and architect-to-the-stars Paul R. Williams both drew up plans for the never-built complex.