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

Along the way from Los Angeles to Antelope Valley stands  a cluster of abandoned Old-West-style buildings that are not what they appear.

[**Note: This location is on private property and cannot be accessed without permission from the owner]

Beyond a bumpy dirt road lined with overgrown trees lies a rusty old trailer surrounded by weeds...

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

and 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 are large two-story structures with heavily weathered exteriors. Not a single pane of glass occupies any of the windows.

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

Every building is completely empty, 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 hang 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

The structures look like historic buildings, but they were actually built as a movie set, which is why they are hollow. Though it may not technically be a ghost town, several tragic deaths have occurred on the property. 

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!

52 comments :

  1. Beautiful blog Jim, really nice photos

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. The old buildings were movie sets. That's why no interiors. Just props.

      Delete
    2. The old buildings were movie sets. That's why no interiors. Just props.

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

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

      Delete
  4. The reason the buildings are "gutted and the walls buttressed" is because they aren't historical buildings. They are purpose built and part of a movie set. Films shoot the exteriors in a place like Acton, then shoot the interiors on an indoor set where they can control sound and lighting.

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  16. When we were shooting "Army of Darkness" on this location there were several strange experiences at the Polsa Rosa ranch,....there was one night,..when the crew watched as lights came down from the hill on the back side,..only to move beyond the hill into the air and quickly shoot back around behind the hill,..this happened all the time on the back hill and the front hill the same occurrence on the other side of Soledad Canyon

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