Mt. Carmel St. Cristina Society

The Watts Towers of LA

Did you know...

About the Watts Towers in the Watts section of Los Angeles?!? It is one of the most striking examples of folk architecture in the world. It is a collection of spires made of cement, wire, bits of pipe, steel, and other metals and decorated with broken bottles, plates and cups. It is a vision of one Italian immigrant names Simon Rodia.

Rodia began his work in 1921 and for the following thirty-three years, he worked alone at 1765 East 107th Street in Los Angeles building his monument around his home with Italian music blaring from the Victrola. Rodia would sing along as he worked on his masterpiece in the evening after his day job as a stone cutter. This was a seventy foot plus tower. He called the piece “Our Town” and saw it as his gift to the city of Los Angeles and the country of America. It was a labor of love, but the neighbors thought he was crazy building the structure of cement and wire in the middle of the immigrants ghetto, but he didn't care. To him it was an obsession, a religion, and a means of expression that his day job could never allow. Rodia said it best: "I wanted to do something for the Unites States because there are nice people in this country." And when he was 74 he moved to Northern California to be with his family and he never saw the towers again.

The Watts Towers continue to be a source of inspiration. A park and an art gallery have opened next to the work and his home and every summer they celebrate the Towers Watts Jazz Festival.

Rodio single-handedly built the largest and most personal monument ever in the United States. A tribute to the dreams of the working class!!!