PLACES: WATTS TOWERS BY SAM RODIA

During a rainy and cloudy day, I visited the Watts towers. I kept a beautiful memory of this afternoon. A place yo should definilty visit in Los Angeles.
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The Watts Towers, consisting of seventeen major sculptures constructed of structural steel and covered with mortar, are the work of one man – Simon Rodia. Rodia, born Sabato Rodia in Ribottoli, Italy in 1879, was known by a variety of names including Don Simon, Simon Rodilla, Sam and Simon. Although his neighbors in watts knew him as “Sam Rodilla”, the official name of his work is “the Watts Towers of Simon Rodia”.

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In 1921, Rodia purchased the triangular-shaped lot at 1761-1765 107th Street in Los Angeles and began to construct his masterpiece, which he called “Nuestro Pueblo” (meaning “our town”). For 34 years, Rodia worked single-handedly to build his towers without benefit of machine equipment, scaffolding, bolts, rivets, welds or drawing board designs. Besides his own ingenuity, he used simple tools, pipe fitter pliers and a window-washer’s belt and buckler.

image-4Construction worker by day and artist by night, Rodia adorned his towers with a diverse mosaic of broken glass, sea shells, generic pottery and tile, a rare piece of 19th-century, hand painted Canton ware and many pieces of 20th-century American ceramics. Rodia once said, “I had it in mind to do something big and I did it.” The tallest of his towers stands 99½ feet and contains the longest slender reinforced concrete column in the world. The monument also features a gazebo with a circular bench, three bird baths, a center column and a spire reaching a height of 38 feet. Rodia’s “ship of Marco Polo” has a spire of 28 feet, and the 140-foot long “south wall” is decorated extensively with tiles, sea shells, pottery, glass and hand-drawn designs.

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here a movie about it:

Watts Towers and Arts Center
1727-1765 East 107th Street
Los Angeles California CA 90002
USA

(text from Watts towers website)

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