Watts lies with the flight path of the Los Angeles International Airport so Rodia limited the tallest tower to 99.5 feet (30 meters) in order to avoid having to comply with special regulations governing structures over 100 feet tall.
Rodia was a construction worker and tile-setter and worked on his backyard structure in the evenings and on the weekends. Within the exterior wall surrounding the plot, there are over 15 separate sculptures including towers, gazebos, seating areas, and small fountains.
Rodia made the structures climbable so that he did not need scaffolding to work on the higher portions of the towers.
A detail of a support buttress between two of the towers lined with hearts:
Rodia decorated the sculptures with tile remnants, broken glass and pottery, hand-drawn and imprinted designs, and sea shells:
For many years, Rodia worked at the Malibu Tile Company and was able to acquire broken and remnant Malibu Tiles for his towers:
At the narrow point of his triangular-shaped plot, Rodia built a sculpture called the "Ship of Marco Polo" with its helm pointed East toward Italy:
Ginger ale bottles decorating the arch over a doorway:
The Watts Towers and the adjacent community arts center are open to the public for tours on Thursdays (10:30-3), Fridays (11-3), Saturdays (10:30-3), and Sundays (12:30-3). The tours are $7 for adults, $3 for seniors and teenagers, and free for kids under 12. There is additional information about the towers and the adjacent community arts center at The Watts Towers Arts Center website, however, the information on the website is not up-to-date. For updates on hours and visiting info, call 213-847-4646.
The Towers are located at 1761-1765 East 107th St. in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.
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