Los Angeles’ Watts Towers

Posted on November 12th, 2009 at 10:56 pm by LisaNewton


Los Angeles’ Watts Towers

Topping over 99ft., the Watts Towers can be seen from miles away. Its cylindrical maze of spikes, wires, and design are unmistakable. Close up, its vast and spectacular, beauty–created over the course of 33 years by its enigmatic and artistic creator, Simon Rodia—is crystal clear.

Watts Towers

Constructed from steel pipes and rods, wrapped with wire mesh, and coated with mortar, all found, and then used by Rodia, the Watts Tower’s were completely built by hand. Within the towers, its sculptures, and main spirals, lay one of the most creative and paradoxical cases of “urban art” yet created anywhere else in the world.

Throughout and within the Watts Towers turrets, walls, segue-ways, and elusive design–lie tens of thousands of pieces of beautiful enhanced porcelain, tile, and glass, which adorn it throughout.

Open the Door

Using mostly damaged pieces of Malibu Pottery, where Rodia worked for many years, the decorative edges also feature green glass from such famous names as 7 Up, Squirt, and Canada Dry. From 1921 to 1954, Rodia creatively “carved” his initials and street address (Can you find them?) throughout his sculpture.

Hearts and Towers

In 1955, for reasons never known–perhaps due to the lack of the neighborhood‘s support, understanding, and appreciation of his masterpiece– Rodia moved, never to return to either Los Angeles, or his spectacular and magnificent edifice; forever etched into our city’s consciousness and beauty.

By that time, the Watts Towers was condemned by the city and slated for tear down. Literally saving this iconic ode to the inner-city borne by the artist’s own brilliance, two film industry professional’s stepped in. Both the actor and film editor, Nickolas King and William Cartwright, “purchased” the property for $3,000, and not only saved this masterpiece from destruction; but preserved it for current and future generation’s to view and appreciate. Indeed, it’s also a source of pride for the Watts area of Los Angeles, which has seen its share of “hard times.”

A long time coming, Rodia had his due:

Along with King and Cartwright, other local artists, architects, and community activists–and after a stress test of its structural integrity which met all City Building Code’s–the Watts Towers was saved from its near-death, and in 1990 the Watts Towers was commemorated and celebrated as it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

See the coffee mug handle?

An amazing feature of the Watts Towers—among many which can be discerned and discovered at this incredible place—is the degree and kind of detail that its creator, Rodia, instilled into it. No detail or section–small or large– was a wasted effort by its sculptor.

From its humble and at times tumultuous past, and through its literal and metaphorical twists and turns, many turn of events ensued.

After barely surviving demolition by the City in 1959, the "The Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers,” the organization which was the caretaker to preserve the Watts Towers upkeep and maintenance for 16 years—gave it back to the people. It was subsequently deeded to the State of California in 1978.

With its accompanying museum, art gallery, beautiful courtyard, community garden, and newly dedicated childrens center, when you’re Travelin’ Local in or around the Watts area, stop by and visit the Watts Towers. By Metro, its near the 103rd Street-Kenneth Hahn Station

Indeed, time spent at the Watts Towers is a must-do:

Along with sheer art appreciation, a visit here proffers a rare glimpse into one of Los Angeles’ most historic, beautiful, and fascinating landmarks and places of interest. Indeed, I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/technorati_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/sphinn_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/mixx_48.png http://www.travelinlocal.net/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!