A 50-acre compound near Los Angeles that was once dedicated to all things Nazi now has about as much life as Adolf Hitler himself. This year, it will be transformed into a historic rest stop for hikers in Will Rogers State Historic Park.
During the 1930s, landowners Winona and Norman Stephens created “Murphy Ranch,” an American outpost for Nazi sympathizers who were dubbed the “Silver Shirts.” The Daily Mail reports the compound included a group of people living and working in the compound, all while participating in military exercises as they prepared for war. They believed to live under the rule of Hitler (though he never made it to L.A. to rule this sect). The site once included a working diesel power plant, water tank, giant meat locker and, of course, a bomb shelter.
But the bunker compound wasn’t all about a rustic militant lifestyle. Wrought-iron gates designed by well-known architect Paul Revere Williams highlight the entrance to what was going to be a spectacular mansion. Those plans fell through, however, after federal agents raided the compound a day after the Pearl Harbor bombing and arrested dozens.
The walled compound now lies within Will Rogers State Historic Park and hikers traveling through Rustic Canyon have long stopped to gawk at the oddity, with more than a few adding their own version of graffiti to the now rusted, twisted steel and hollowed out concrete.
Plans call for officials to turn the site into a rest and picnic area for hikers. Though in a way, it already is.
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