When in Los Angeles, I often stay with friends who live in Pacific Palisades, an affluent suburb near Santa Monica overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But I had no idea what I’d find when I went for a hike through nearby Rustic Canyon.
In the middle of nowhere, in what is now a state park, are ruins covered almost entirely by graffiti of what was once a hideaway for Nazi supporters of Adolf Hitler.
I came upon them quite by accident and later read about them in the LA Weekly and a book called Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles.
If you pass through the rusted, wrought-iron gate of this hidden place, you eventually come to a series of crumbling cement staircases with 500 or so steps each that lead to what was said to be home to Nazi sympathizers called the Silver Shirts, fashioned after Hitler’s para-military brownshirts. Up to 40 local Nazis reportedly lived there between 1933 and 1945 while preparing for the coming of the Third Reich.
Discovering this bizarre factoid was evidence that it can be darn interesting when you take the unknown road.
For more information check out this Los Angeles Times story from 2005:
Here’s a more lurid article from the London Daily Mail last year: