Fatalities and Films of a Ghostly Movie Ranch in Acton, California

Nestled in the Sierra Pelona Mountains, about fifty miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, lies the old mining town of Acton, California.

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

I was on my way to visit family in Palmdale and decided to stop to check out a cluster of abandoned Old-West-style buildings I'd heard about.

I drove down a bumpy dirt road, cringing as branches of the overgrown trees scraped my car. I passed a rusty old trailer surrounded by weeds...

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

and then came to a large clearing occupied by beautiful wooden buildings and a squat little bell tower.

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Most were large two-story structures with heavily weathered exteriors. Not a single pane of glass remained in any of the windows.

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

I was disappointed to find that every building was completely gutted, the walls buttressed on the inside by long wooden planks. 

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Ghostly threadbare curtains hung in the empty windows, waving in the breeze.

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Acton originally served as the site of a temporary railroad camp when the Southern Pacific Railroad was under construction in the late 1870s. The actual town of Acton was founded in 1887 by miners who worked in the nearby Red Rover Mine and named it after Acton, Massachusetts. In the late 1800s, Acton began to transform into a ranching and farming community. 

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Henry T. Gage, a mine owner who governed California from 1899 to 1903, proposed moving the state capital from Sacramento to Acton, where one of his mines was located, but the plan never panned out. 

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Acton now has a population of over 7,500 and is home to several animal preserves, one of which is run by actress Tippi Hedren. 

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

This neat group of old buildings is located on Polsa Rosa Ranch, which has served as a filming location since the 1970s. 

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

I was not able to find much historical information about the ranch. I can't be sure whether the structures were originally built there or relocated from other locations. Though it may not technically be a ghost town, several tragic deaths have occurred there. 

In September of 2012 a water tank cleaner drowned on the set of the remake of "The Lone Ranger" starring Johnny Depp. Then in February of 2013, three people died in a helicopter crash during the filming of a show for the Discovery Channel.

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

A surprising number of movies contain scenes filmed in Acton, California, including:
  • Titanic
  • Terminator 3
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Army of Darkness
  • Windtalkers
  • Red Dawn
  • Blood Work
  • Duel
A few music videos were also filmed in Acton:
  • "High and Dry" by Radiohead
  • "Swingin" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  • "The Day That Never Comes" by Metallica

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

Abandoned buildings in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch Ghost Town in Acton California

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And come back next week, when I'll share pictures and stories from an abandoned home in Los Angeles, formerly owned by Bob Hite, the lead singer of Canned Heat, and the death place of one of the members of the infamous 27 Club.

Thank you!

6 comments :

  1. Beautiful blog Jim, really nice photos

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  2. Those pics with the curtains are super cool! I love how the buildings are still standing straight. Thanks for the delight!

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    Replies
    1. I love that the curtains added an extra level of creepiness :)

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