The Tin House sits high on a Big Sur mountain top. The closest neighbors to the north look like specks on a hillside. Its isolation is perhaps what inspired numerous myths over the years.
"The most common one is it was built for FDR ... a place he could escape to," Pam Grossman says.
Grossman is the granddaughter of former New York Congressman Lathrop Brown and his railroad heiress wife Helen Hooper Brown. They owned the Tin House and the surrounding 1,600 acres of land that are now Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
Grossman's grandfather was a childhood friend of President Roosevelt. They roomed together in prep school and at Harvard.
"They were each other's best man in their weddings. So they maintained a lifelong friendship," she says. "So it's a wonderful story that it was a getaway for FDR. Not true though."
The true story according to California State Park Historian Matt Bischoff is that the Browns built the Tin House, their second home on the property, as a get away from the fog.
"They decided to build up on the ridge line several miles above the coast. And by this time it was 1944 in the middle of the war, and there was not the building material availability as there had been before," Bischoff says. "So their solution to that was to acquire two gas station buildings that they had disassembled and hauled up to the site."
Building the house was no small feat. First, they had to construct a road to get all the materials up there. And then they had to hire an architect to reassemble the gas station buildings into a multi-bedroom house.
Today, getting to the Tin House is still a trek. From Highway One, you can either hike up the old construction road or take the more scenic Tanbark Trail. I took the trail with Jon Iverson of HikinginBigSur.com.
"This is a strenuous hike," said Iverson. "If you are in pretty good shape you should have no problem at all."
That said, be sure to pack water, a lunch and your camera. It's a three-mile, uphill hike to the Tin House, about four to five hours round trip.
When we arrive, we walk across the house's concrete patio, its surface shattered in pieces, and peek inside. It isn't safe to go inside. A 2008 wildfire gutted the house. In fact, the trail we took up here just re-opened a few months ago.
The Tin House's rusty metal exterior is still standing with the roof partially caved in. State Park Historian Matt Bischoff says he hopes they can stabilize the house so people can continue to at least view it from a safe distance.
"It's really a treasure in the south coast Monterey, Big Sur area. It's a very unique building, a building you won't find like it anywhere else," says Bischoff.
No matter the condition of the Tin House itself, this location has a panoramic view of the Big Sur Coast. It attracted the Browns decades ago and will likely continue to attract visitors for years to come.