A portion of the Lower Iverson Movie Ranch, photographed in 2008
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 I came to know simply as the Ruins. It's a relatively small and unimposing bit of construction by Iverson standards, but it captured my imagination nonetheless. The above photo contains a view of much of the Ruins, along with the impressive rock that was its main neighbor, which I call Hangdog.
Besides the Ruins at the right and the multifaceted Hangdog on the left, the photo shows a portion of the Old Folks House (sometimes called simply the House), along with some San Fernando Valley development in the background at top right. 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 here) — are a number of other rocks that also make appearances in many productions.
The Ruins — detail of brick and stone construction
In this shot you can see a little bit of Hangdog — its "eyebrow and eyelid," if you will — peering out over a portion of the Ruins. 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 on the Iverson Movie Ranch. I've never seen it in any productions, although I continue to look for it.
The Ruins looking south, with Woolly Mammoth (aka Vultura's Trail Rock) in the background
In this view of the Ruins, Woolly Mammoth, or Vultura's Trail Rock, can be seen in the background. (The "Woolly Mammoth" name comes from the rock's 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 (not to be confused with Saddlehorn Rock, which can be seen here).
Road past the Ruins — one of the few "paved" roads on the Iverson Ranch
(Woolly Mammoth/Vultura's Trail Rock in background)
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.
Here's another portion of the Ruins that shows some of the tile work. This looks as though it would have ended up being where everyone sat, but whether it was built with that in mind, who knows?
Hangdog rises over the Ruins — the top of Bill Rock can be seen toward the left
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.