Watts Towers


Many people remember the Watts district of South Los Angeles as the center of violent 1960s race riots, but this neighborhood also boasts one of the most lyrically and bizarrely beautiful assemblages of folk art in the whole U.S. Built single-handedly by Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant and tile-layer who devoted every bit of his free time between 1921 and 1954 to the project, the eight Gaudiesque towers are made of concrete over a slender framework of steel. Embedded in the concrete are seashells, shards of dishware and tiles, and other objects trouves. City officials tried to prove the structures unsafe in a 1959 stress-test; the towers, the tallest of which rises nearly 100 feet into the sunny California sky, stood their ground. Today, they are preserved as Watts Towers of Simon Rodia State Historic Park. Be sure to stop by the adjacent Watts Towers Art Center. The towers hum with the sounds of jazz each September during the Watts Towers Simon Rodia Jazz Festival.


1765 E 107th St
Los Angeles, CA 90002


33.93880800, -118.24216500
Visit Website
(213) 847-4646

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