The Watts Towers, also known as the Towers of Simon Rodia or Nuestro Pueblo, are a collection of 17 interconnected sculptural towers, architectural structures, and individual sculptural features and mosaics located in the Watts district of Los Angeles, California.

Watts Towers

The tallest tower reaches a height of over 99 feet (30 m) and the entire site, including the towers, structures, sculptures, pavement, and walls, were designed and built by Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant who worked in construction, over a period of 33 years until their completion in 1954. [9]

Watts Towers Detail

The towers are considered a unique folk-art masterpiece and are decorated with scrap metal, bed frames, bottles, ceramic tiles, and thousands of seashells. [6] The towers are also an iconic work of folk art with a captivating backstory of being built by an eccentric Italian immigrant working alone in his yard. [7]

Watts Tower, Los Angeles

Simon Rodia purchased the lot on 107th Street in Watts in 1921, where he began building his masterpiece. The Watts Towers are considered a testament to perseverance and one of Los Angeles’s best examples of outsider art. [3]

In the 1950s, the city of Los Angeles declared the Watts Towers a nuisance and ordered them to be demolished. However, the L.A. art community mobilized to save them and convinced officials to perform a stress test in 1959. A steel cable was attached to each tower and connected to a crane exerted 10,000 pounds of lateral force.

Watts Towers │Watts, CA

When the towers didn’t budge, the city was forced to declare the Watts Towers structurally sound and lift the demolition order. [1]

The Watts Towers are considered Simon Rodia’s articles of faith and his innate genius encompassed not only an astounding artistic inventiveness but an equally amazing, intuitive sense of engineering. [2]

Watts Towers

Visitors to the Watts Towers can take guided tours to learn more about the history and significance of the towers. There are also pictures and information available online, but many recommend visiting in person to truly appreciate the towers. [5]

Watts Towers

The Watts Towers have also come to symbolize hope in the Watts community. In 1992, the L.A. Times published an article highlighting how the towers had become a “Towering Symbol of Hope in Watts” after 30 years of involvement with the site. [10]