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Watts Towers Restricted During Repairs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Morales   
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Public tours of the Watts Towers will be restricted from May 19 to February 2009 for repairs to the central tower.  The Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department applied for FEMA funding to repair the tower after damage sustained during storms in 2004 and 2005.  Initially turned down, the City finally received $569,000 in March 2008 for the repairs, including the construction of special scaffolding that will not lean against the structure.

wattstowers.jpgWatts Towers was built from 1921 to 1955 by Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant who worked alone on the towers using mainly hand tools.  The sculptures are made from steel and wire mesh and covered with mortar, the bases of which are decorated with ceramic tiles, seashells, colored glass and other found objects.

Rodia's work was controversial and caused some friction with his neighbors until he finally abandoned the property in 1955.  In 1959, the property was purchased with the intent of preserving the art that Rodia had created.  Before the purchase was finalized, the City attempted to demolish the structure, but the community rallied to save it and created the Committee For Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts.  The committee administered the towers until 1975 and it passed into the State of California's hands in 1978.  In 1990, the site was declared a National Historic Landmark, one of only 9 folk-art sites in the nation to receive such a distinction.

Escaping damage in the Watts Riots of 1965, the towers were not so lucky in the Northridge earthquake and underwent a complete seismic retrofit from 1994 to 2001.  Severe wind storms in 2004 and 2005 caused additional damage.  During this latest round of repairs, the grounds and Watts Towers Arts Center will be open and perimeter tours will still go on, but visitors must stay outside of the security fencing.  

Source:  Los Angeles Times, Watts Towers tours restricted due to repairs
By Lynell George, 15 May 2008

Source:  Wikipedia, Watts Towers


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 May 2008 )

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Does anyone know if the scaffolding is still up around Watts Tower? I would like to go visit the tower, but I would rather go when the scaffolding is down so that I can get pictures.

Posted by Vanessa, whose homepage is here on 04/16/2009 at 17:42

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Did you know?
The grand opening of Jensen's Raymond Theatre was held on April 5, 1921, with a gala vaudeville performance.  It was heralded as one of the great legitimate theatres on the West Coast.
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