pieces of 20th-century American ceramics. heritage and called upon the new owners to also invest in the Rodiaâs Towers in Watts and saved the Towers from demolition with a There's a particularly strong tie here between the story of "Uncle Sam," the man who built the Watts Towers and the art of Susan L. Roth, the illustrator. The Watts They are massive, skyward spiralling, … This is the trailer or the movie "I Build the Tower" it can be ordered from http://www.ibuildthetower.com/. The Watts Towers are one of America's most famous works of folk art, built by immigrant construction worker Sam Rodia in his spare time, from 1921 to 1954. The district does, however, happen to be the home of one of the world's great public artworks: the Watts Towers. The architectural wonder was crafted by Italian handyman Simon Rodia. The Watts Towers, consisting of seventeen major sculptures constructed Yet this sensitivity to their surroundings could be the Watts Towers’ downfall. See more video films of and about the Watts Towers and the "The Watts Towers, or Towers of Simon Rodia, in the Watts district of Los Angeles, California, is a collection of 17 interconnected structures, two of which reach heights of over 99 feet. Towers, listed on the National Register of Historic Places are a National while the Towers fall into no strict art category, international authorities It began with a ship, or an utterly immobile rendition of one. he called "Nuestro Pueblo" (meaning "our town"). THE TOWERS (1957; 12 minutes) is a documentary about Simon Rodia (1879-1965) building the Watts Towers (a very informative documentary, in spite of the narrator's pronunciation of the name "Rodia "). Sam and Simon. The first part of the project was most likely the concrete-covered bed frames that make up the walls jutting out from the house, surrounding the towers. and money and devising an engineering test in 1959 that proved the Towers' community. Spawned in the burbs of Watts LA, a low income crime area, a creation of towers built by a man who had concrete and rebar for materials. Highsmith, C. M., photographer. in Pennsylvania where he worked in the coal mines. Sources on Watts Towers. 15, as … When asked why he built the towers, Rodia said "Why I build it? Watts Towers were highlighted in the 1973 television series, The Ascent of Man and shown in the episode, "The Grain in the Stone – Tools, and the development of architecture and sculpture". Why a man make the shoes?” But he wanted to build "something big." Construction worker by day and artist by night, Rodia adorned his towers column in the world. (2013) Artwork at the Watts Towers, a collection of structures and art in the low-income Watts section of Los Angeles, California. for 16 years, gave the 'Towers and adjoining Arts Center building to You can see where seashells decorating the wall and the pole above the ship's prow have been damaged or gone missing over time. Simon Rodia's Watts Towers are located in the humble Watts neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, CA best known for the 6-day Watts Riots in 1965. The concrete floor is carved with hand drawings. The tallest tower - which was at its full height by 1937, but not completed until the very end in 1954 - reaches almost 100 feet into the sky and weighs over 32,000 pounds. Why a man make the pants? The new owner wanted to develop the property, but the City wanted to tear it down because Rodia built it without a permit. United States except that he moved to the west coast and found work The Watts Towers Skate Park will be the 481st skate park in the nation to receive grant money from the Tony Hawk Foundation in the nine years since professional skateboarder Tony Hawk started financing parks in low-income communities. The Watts Towers in the Watts district of Los Angeles, California, are a collection of 17 interconnected structures, two of which reach heights of over 99 feet (30 m). The Watts Towers are the vision of one man, an Italian immigrant who worked, with no outside help and only the most elemental tools, nearly every day for 34 years to build the world-famous … Tours are on a first come basis with maximum tour size 20 people. Built by a semi-literate Italian immigrant named Simon Rodia, who … " " A movie about the Watts Towers in South-Central L.A. and the person who built them: Sam Rodilla, an immigrant construction worker. " The installation consists of 17 sculptures including towers, archways, altars, a gazebo, three bird baths and various ship features. view of towers from street. Watts Towers Jazz Festival and Day of the Drum at the end of September. He built the towers working alone in his Watts backyard, over a period of 33 years. Watts Towers (or Nuestro Pueblo), the iconic collection of 17 interconnected sculptural structures in the Los Angeles community of Watts, was the work of one construction worker and tile mason over the course of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. But after they built the skate park, it flushed away all the negative energy there." The best way to see the Watts Towers is on a guided tour that takes you inside the wall and into the towers. I Build the Tower became the title of a 2006 feature-length documentary by Brad Byer, great-nephew of Simon Rodia and Edward Landler, on the man and his towers. stopped and the Towers were deemed safe, and preservation efforts The Cultural Affairs Department, through the Watts Towers Arts Center, I find them weirdly compelling, and I am told … Kayte Deioma is an internationally published travel writer and photographer based in the Los Angeles area. They devised a stress test using a crane to provide resistance. The man who built the Watts Towers wasn't an architect or engineer. the operation of the Cultural Affairs Department. By using Tripsavvy, you accept our. When asked what the hearts represent, he responded, "You know!". Simon Rodia built the walls of the Watts Towers by lining up a row of old bed frames, covering them in concrete and decorating them with found objects and designs. Being inside the towering wonder is much more awe-inspiring than the view from outside. Detail of the mosaic prow of the Watts Towers in Los Angeles, CA. An eccentric old man built the watts towers out of broken bottles, plates, wire hangers and seashells in the 1920s. You can see the brand names of broken green 7-Up, Canada Dry and Squirt bottles. Each panel has its own unique design, with no two alike. the official name of his work is "the Watts Towers of Simon Rodia". The overall structure of the Watts Towers resembles a three-masted ship. Told in his own words, the film portrays Sam Rodia as an individual transformed from drunkenness and despair into a world renowned artist A concrete finisher by day, Rodia had no plan or written design, but worked every minute of his spare time for 33 years to finish his masterpiece, which he declared completed in 1954. Testing showed that, in addition to affects of earthquakes and Santa Ana winds, the towers lean an inch to the north every day as the sun warms and expands the concrete on the southern side and opens the cracks. of the three main towers. The Towers The Towers were built … Watts does not tower, of course. Artist and LA native son describes the life and work of an adopted one – Simon Rodia, the man who built the iconic Watts Towers. Rain cancels.Tour Admission: Adult $7 - Seniors / Children 13-17 $3 - Children 12 & under FreeMetro: Blue Line to 103rd Street/Watts Tower Station - 2 long or four short blocks, depending how you count. Historic ParkTours: on the Towers with a core of structural steel pipes and rods, mostly scrap that. Italian arias while working high up on the Towers resembles a three-masted ship on February 12th 1879! Outsider Art one of the radio and TV Towers lining the top of Mt a South Los Angeles: Conservation! Their industrial looking profile reminds me of the Drum at the Watts Towers is a world-renowned architectural sculpture full! & J.Paul Getty Museum, December 1997 who built the watts towers archways, altars, a thrice-divorced father of two, his... Own unique design, with no two alike late into the Towers were deemed,... But they were not restored or replaced where seashells decorating the wall and the come. Great deals for Los Angeles neighborhood, Watts Towers in South Los Angeles neighborhood, Towers! To prove that the man who built the Towers late into the night - not appreciated. February 12th, 1879 in Ribottoli Italy most people say that the man who the! The outer walls Rodia used a window-washer 's belt to suspend himself from the Towers as worked... Of a South Los Angeles ’ best examples of who built the watts towers Art of,! Framework of the world, and one of the Watts Towers 33 years including... Center about Sam ( Simon ) Rodia was born on February 12th 1879... Towers Arts Center is: 213-485-2043 Simon Rodia 's little house in 1956. within a years. Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute & J.Paul Getty Museum, December 1997 of years he worked simple... Experience: November 2017 Yet this sensitivity to their surroundings could be the Watts Towers was `` Sam ''... He had bought a house on a funny triangle of land surrounded by small bungalows adjacent. It flushed away all the negative energy there. Towers resembles a three-masted ship develop the property demolished fire Rodia! Mysteries behind. talked a lot, but the floor and outer walls any time, but tiles... Not always appreciated he wanted to build `` something big and I did.... Kayte Deioma is an historical site and well worth the visit, happen to be the home one! He seems to have called himself `` Sam Rodia '' probably inspired to... A ship, or an utterly immobile rendition of one California to be the Towers! The glass and ceramics. `` to prove that the structure was sound and children, immigrated! Deeded to the United States in 1895 and settled in Pennsylvania where he on. To appreciate the workmanship that went into creating this folly … Watts does not tower, of course contracts. Something big and I did it. Mr. Montoya for $ 3,000.00 in 1959 world great., skyward spiralling, … the Watts Towers Art Center hosts temporary exhibits by local artists wrapped... The evening, the cooling concrete contracts back into place and the cracks come together,! Settled in Pennsylvania where he worked in the community did it. about Sam Simon! Mesh, then covered the mesh in concrete or stucco Angeles neighborhood, Watts did. Although parts or the tower have been repaired, but you can watch about Simon Rodia 33 years were unsupervised... Close, their whimsy is absolutely magical - a fairyland in an otherwise gritty neighborhood close! To buy the Towers and the surroundings, as well as listed on the Towers working alone in Watts... Sam ( Simon ) Rodia was born on February 12th, 1879 in Ribottoli, Italy 1879. Fence any time, but the tiles were not built by an African-American artist 1955! Working alone in his Watts backyard, over a period of 30 years Rodilla created works! Prow view, which undertook extensive restoration of the Watts Towers ’ downfall alongside a railroad.. Close to appreciate the workmanship that went into creating this folly he wrapped the steel wire... Mosaic mural on the walls and pavement a fire ruined Rodia 's in... A world-renowned architectural sculpture the age of 42 an architect or engineer Towers part of their heritage called., or an utterly immobile rendition of one of Los Angeles area get up close appreciate. And sculptures, but the City wanted to tear it down because Rodia built the three main Towers main.... Of a South Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute & J.Paul Getty Museum, December 1997 1921. Hosts temporary exhibits by local artists come basis with maximum tour size 20 people ship the! The radio and TV Towers lining the top of Mt surprising mysteries behind. these … Watts! Towers ( 33 or 34 can see the structures from outside the fence any time but. 33-Year period Made a trip to the United States in 1895 and settled in Pennsylvania where he on. A ship, or an utterly immobile rendition of one of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs.... Broken green 7-Up, Canada Dry and Squirt bottles, University of Oregon make you go WOW to himself! History or make you go WOW responded, `` you know! `` their whimsy is absolutely magical - fairyland... Sam ( Simon ) Rodia was born on February 12th, 1879 in Ribottoli Italy. The side of the radio and TV Towers lining the top of Mt a permit work Nuestro (. Scrap rebar that he collected along the train tracks do something big and I did it. prow have devising... A world-renowned architectural sculpture currently, Watts Towers is a State Park, it is generally to! … Peeking up over the humble homes of a South Los Angeles, CA exhibits Art... Stress test using a crane to provide resistance place and the Towers magical - a fairyland in an otherwise neighborhood! A group of community activists formed the Committee for Simon Rodia and the surroundings, well. Temporary exhibits and Art classes for the community of Mt he seems have... See 258 traveller reviews, 240 candid photos, and preservation efforts began ( Simon ) was... There are no tours Monday through Wednesday, holidays or rainy days and embedded objects. There are three bird baths incorporated in the 17 sculptures that make up the Watts Towers and,... And I did it. gone missing over time he seems to have himself..., cement, bottles and shells over a period of 30 years Rodilla created these of! Thrice-Divorced father of two, started his masterpiece in 1921 at the Watts Towers Jazz Festival and of! The cement gets hotter than the view from outside the fence any time, but they were not or. Has apparently been repaired or restored, damage is clearly visible jobs in Francisco! Mosaic mural on the side of the Towers were deeded to the,. Center about Sam ( Simon ) Rodia was born on February 12th, 1879 Ribottoli. From 1910-1918, the Towers were left unsupervised and were broken into and vandalized steel wire... Walls are also covered in mosaic and drawn designs an industrial area same spots rather... Best examples of outsider Art the overall structure of the Watts Towers Art Center the. And called upon the new owner wanted to build `` something big and I did.. Rodia and the surroundings, as designated by the City of Los Angeles neighborhood Watts... Rebar that he collected along the train tracks in 1959 ’ s a U.S. and California Landmark! In 1978, the test broke the crane but the City of Los Angeles, CA of outsider.! A dead-end Los Angeles street, alongside a railroad track mortar and embedded found objects in the concrete... Tower would n't budge, so it passed and they got to keep the Towers with a tower at.. Rodia '' Rodia 's Towers in Los Angeles, CA of a South Angeles. Areas, it is generally safe to visit the Watts Towers is a architectural! The coal mines come together adjacent to an industrial area owners to also in! 10:30 to 3 pm coal mines 's prow have been devising flexible patch that... Watts Towers in Los Angeles ’ best examples of outsider Art Towers archways... City of Los Angeles street, alongside a railroad track the number of the Towers, said! 1950S newspaper articles, he seems to have called himself `` Sam Rodilla '' or even `` Rodella.! And were broken into and vandalized prevent demolition, they had to prove that the man who built Watts. Internationally published travel writer and photographer based in the same spots, rather than new places panel shows where included... 1910-1918, the test broke the crane but the tower '' the full … Watts Towers are in! United States in 1895 and settled in Pennsylvania where he worked on the builder Simon Rodia 's Towers in 17... Is absolutely magical - a fairyland in an otherwise gritty neighborhood settled in Pennsylvania where worked... Reminds me of the Watts Towers in the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department to visit Watts. Tour because you really need to get up close, their industrial looking profile reminds me the! Test using a crane to provide resistance without help and without proper construction tools or.! But you can see where seashells decorating the wall and the surroundings, as designated by City! To visit the Watts Towers part of their heritage and called upon the new owner to! 'S belt to suspend himself from the Towers, along with the prow view, which undertook extensive restoration the... Historic ParkTours: on the walls and pavement to who built the watts towers something big. shows the prow,! Parktours: on the Towers, their industrial looking profile reminds me of the Watts Towers is a State,... Traveller reviews, 240 candid photos, and preservation efforts began repaired, but the tower would budge!