The Murphy Ranch in Southern California has an obscure history of being a compound for Nazi sympathizers from 1930 to 1942. Recently the Los Angeles chapter of the Obscura Society took a hike to the abandoned buildings at the ranch in Rustic Valley.
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.
Read more about it, and see lot of pictures at the Atlas Obscura Blog. Link
The Obscura Society holds expeditions like this all the time. You can join a chapter near you, in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City. Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, or Chicago.
(Image credit: Flickr user desiringmachine)