Artists: G31152Oct. 15, 1965

Before its notoriety as the site of tragic riots, the Watts area of Los Angeles was more mildly famous for an architectural oddity, a trio of 100-ft.-tall latticework spires called the Watts Towers. Inlaid with 75,000 sea shells and countless bits of crockery, the tow ers were the lifetime hobby of an immigrant Italian tilesetter named Simon Rodia, who built them by hand in his backyard (TIME, Sept. 3, 1951). Since 1963 the Towers have been designated by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board as a historic monument, and, in the eyes...

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