This bizarre group of towers, similar to a zoo from where three spiral towers emerge, is, curiously enough, one of the most visited and photographed sites in Los Angeles. It's one of those things that could only happen in the USA, the work of one man, an Italian immigrant: Simon Rodia. And if you've never heard of him, others have: Simon is one of the people to appear in the famous cover of The Beatle's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, right next to Bob Dylan, in the upper right-hand corner.
It all started in 1921, when he acquired a small portion of land in a triangular shape, in Watts, Los Angeles. His wish to make "something big" didn't die due to the small dimensions of the land, nor by the lack of financial means. Simon used mostly garbage and scraps: springs from matresses for the wall armours, iron tubes for the structure, wires, shards of glass, sea shells, etc. He connected this mix of materials and waste with mortar and cement and called the set Nuestro Pueblo.
The towers are the most peculiar part. They are vaguely reminiscent of a few of Gaudí's works, namely, the Sagrada Família, in Barcelona. They aim at symbolicly evoking Marco Polo's boat with its adorned masts and sails, the tallest reaching the 30 metres in height. It has been said that Simon didn't use any scaffold to build them...
In 1954, after the work was concluded, he left the place and donated his property to a neighbour. He died a few years later, in 1965, without ever returning to Watts. During that time, the city's municipal authorities wanted to demolish the towers, stating security reasons, but never got around to it. The notoriety of the set, in the meantime, was rising and the municipality finally admited its importance. It's now a part of the California State Parks and cultural and artistic patrimony of the city of Los Angeles.
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