Monday, March 1, 2010

Mysterious Ruins of the Verdugos*

This is what I hoped being on the board of the Glendale Historical Society would involve: exploring mysterious, unknown ruins in the local mountains.

Leading up to the mysterious site is a canyon with the foundations of three structures that were apparently washed out during the 1934 flood. This canyon leads to a debris catch basin. Around the other side of the catch basin, up another canyon, lie the stone foundations of a camp, approximately a dozen structures. At the center of the "camp" is a large flagpole with a concrete base.

View Mysterious Ruins in the Verdugos in a larger map
Unlike the very accessible Brand Cemetery, unless you are an experienced bushwhacker I can't recommend you explore the site yourself. It requires trespassing and avoiding rattlesnakes, bees, and dense thickets of poisonous sumac. Here are two rattlesnakes I had a close encounter with:

My best guess at the moment is that the site was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp - I believe they worked on the nearby catch basin, so that would make sense. The only thing that feels odd about that hypothesis is the permanence of the rock foundations - it feels overbuilt for a temporary camp, and I haven't found references to a CCC camp near Glendale other than in Griffith Park and Tuna Canyon. Perhaps a base for the Army Corps of Engineers working on nearby flood control projects? Or a private ranch? A Boy Scout Camp? If you have any ideas, let me know.*

*Update: Mystery solved (by research in an actual library). Camp Clarence Edwards, 1933-1938.


urban pirate said...

wow..that's really cool..what an awesome find

Brandon said...

I was just there with a neighbor today. I am curious what the story is right behind the gate. Is that really part of that camp? At the beginning of Nesmuth Road there looks to be many abandoned structures on the road above. I also made out on the curb behind the gate C.H. Ellison Engineer Contractor, but can't find any details through Google. Part of this area looks like a subdivision that went broke and just stopped in the middle of construction. I bet if you can dig up C.H. Ellison you can learn a lot more about this area.

Dave said...

Hey Brandon - This is the site I was talking about all day, so I'm glad you found the pics.. Pretty crazy stuff, huh... talk to you later..

Scott said...

Brandon, I think that the abandoned foundations along Nesmuth were from houses and structures unrelated to the camp that were wiped out in the 1934 flood.

Anonymous said...

That picture looking over the house foundations. On that side of the canyon are more structures with stairs leading from the road down the hill. I too always wondered what the stone gate was for. I lived in Glendale from the 70s to the early 90s before I left to the Marine Corps. I use to hiking in those hills many times. Great memories and I still miss my Glendale.