The compound that was built to house Adolf Hitler

Emma Woollacott
Murphy Ranch
Murphy Ranch

The plans have emerged for a compound in the US that was built to house Adolf Hitler.

Created on the principle that "If we build it, the Fuhrer will come", Murphy Ranch in California's Rustic Canyon was owned by Winona and Norman Stephens, an engineer and the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, who aimed to turn the property into a self-contained Nazi community.

They were inspired by a mysterious figure known as Herr Schmidt, who claimed that Germany would soon defeat the US, and that he had mystical powers. At his urging, the couple bought the 55-acre site, which had its own water supply, and began turning it into a self-sufficient farm.

Plans for Murphy Ranch
Plans for Murphy Ranch

The identity of Herr Schmidt has never been established. Some reports suggested that he was an agent of Hitler himself, and he is known to have been a member of the Silver Legion of America, an anti-Semitic group.

Locals say that, during the 1930s, men patrolled the hills in fascist uniforms, and that there was talk of building a "Nazi White House". But after eventually being sold for use as an artists' retreat, the ranch was abandoned, and is now decaying and covered in graffiti.

Article continues below

Gas Chambers Discovered at Nazi Death Camp Sobibor
Gas Chambers Discovered at Nazi Death Camp Sobibor

"This was supposed to be the seat of American fascism from where Hitler would one day run the United States," historian Randy Young told the Sunday Express.

"The neighbours were a little freaked out by the construction and weird happenings, but until war broke out, they thought they were just eccentric people."

LA.Curbed has now unearthed architectural drawings that show the intentions of the owners. Commissioned from several different architects, they all include a central, four-storey house with a grand central hall, several libraries and staff quarters. Many versions include luxurious bedrooms, and most feature a swimming pool. One set shows a large fountain in the centre of the main hall, depicting the signs of the zodiac.

However, it appears that little progress was ever actually made on the buildings. In 1941, as the US entered the second World War, police raided the compound and arrested the 50-odd people living there. Several were reportedly taken to interrogation camps, including Herr Schmidt, who was found to have been communicating with Nazi leaders in Berlin via radio.

The Stephens sold the plot seven years later and it became an artists' colony, home to novelist Henry Miller. After a major fire in 1978, the site was abandoned. At one point the local council was planning to demolish everything on the site and turn it into a picnic area, but these plans now appear to have been scrapped.

Read more about wartime memorabilia on AOL Money:

Is Hitler's toilet for sale?

Nazi invasion maps sell for £351

D-Day harbour plans to be auctioned