Soon after I began exploring the Iverson Movie Ranch several years ago, I ran across an intriguing bit of crumbling stone, brick and tile that came to be known simply as the Ruins. It's a relatively small and unimposing bit of construction by Iverson standards, but captured my imagination nonetheless. Here's a view of most of the Ruins, along with the impressive rock that was its main neighbor, which I call Hangdog. (As always, you may want to click on the photos to enlarge them.)
Besides the Ruins at the right and the multifaceted Hangdog at the left, the above photo shows a portion of the Old Folks House (sometimes called simply the House), the white building with the red tile roof, directly above the ruins, along with some misc. San Fernando Valley development in the background. Also visible in the distance, at top left, is part of Oat Mountain, which is often seen in the movies in the background of chases and other footage shot at Iverson. Directly above Hangdog — which appears in countless movies, by the way (more about that elsewhere) — are a number of other rocks that also make appearances in many productions, which are also talked about elsewhere.
That's a little bit of Hangdog — its "eyebrow and eyelid," if you will — peering out over a portion of the Ruins in the above shot.
I've heard various rumors about the Ruins since the initial discovery, but not much in the way of concrete information. The consensus is it was probably NOT built for the movies, which is in contrast to almost all other construction at the Iverson Movie Ranch. I've never seen it in any productions, although I continue to look for it. And no one else seems to know of any movie or TV sightings of it either.
Here's a shot of more of the Ruins with Woolly Mammoth in the background. (It gets its name from its appearance from a different angle than the one seen here. You'll find it here.) From this angle the rock has been described as looking like a saddlehorn (but not to be confused with Saddlehorn Rock, which can be seen here), and it is also sometimes called the Vultura's Trail Rock.
I generally consider the construction of the Ruins to be associated with the Old Folks House — a residence on the Lower Iverson that was built around the 1930s and stood until the Porter Ranch Fire (also known as the Sesnon Fire) swept through parts of Iverson in October 2008. The House, which was generally not considered to be part of film productions other than very occasionally and tangentially, is gone now, having been destroyed by that fire. For the last many years of its life, it was not lived in, and by the end it was pretty decayed. Not long after the house burned down — but unrelated to the fire, as far as I know — someone also decided to tear down what was left of the Ruins.
Speaking of fire, here's a firepit that was found inside the area of the ruins, supporting the theory that it may have been some sort of patio and barbecue area.
Fortunately, I got photos of both the Ruins and the House before it was too late. I'll deal with the House in another entry. Suffice for now to say that the House, or Old Folks House, was built for the original Iverson couple, Karl and Augusta, to spend their waning years. It was later occupied by their son Joe, who ran the Lower Iverson through much of the peak filming period of the 1930s through 1950s. I figure at some point whoever was living in the House, probably Joe, decided to build the odd structure for some reason — maybe just as a barbecue area. Then again, maybe it was built for a movie that hasn't turned up yet.
Here's another portion of the Ruins that shows some of the tile work. This looks like it would have ended up being where everyone sat, but whether it was built with that in mind, who knows?
The ruins were located in something of a "famous" area for fans of the old Republic serials, as they were right near where the fake front stood for Vultura's Palace (also known as Vultura's Temple) in the landmark 1942 serial The Perils of Nyoka (which is a landmark not only because it is considered one of the best Republic serials, but also, for location aficionados, it's an orgy of Iverson sightings from start to finish). You can find more about Vultura's Palace here, and more about the rock I call Hangdog, which connects the Vultura's Palace front with the Ruins (but not at the same time — the Ruins were not built yet when Perils was shot), here.
If anyone has additional insights into the Ruins, I would love to hear from you. Either way, I hope you'll leave a comment! Thanks.