Los Angeles icons change throughout the decades. In the 60s, LA was known for its City Hall, Dodger Stadium, and Watts Towers.
As a kid, I had a View-Master with a disk of seven popular Western destinations. Las Vegas being one with that historic sign reading, "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas," and LA with a stereoscopic photo of the Watts Towers seemingly stretching to the heavens.
Forty-something years is a long time to finally visit the historic landmark. I followed the well-marked signs through South Central LA, across the Metro Blue Line tracks and into a neighborhood of weathered homes with chain link fences and power lines with multiple pair of shoes hanging from the wires. I looked up through my windshield hoping to find one the towers guiding my way, much like the Eiffel does in Paris. One block to go and there they were.
The Watts Towers were built between 1921 and 1954 by an Italian immigrant by the name of Sam Rodia. Over the course of 33 years, he build, by hand, 17 structures, the tallest reaching nearly 100 feet high (30 meters). The towers are made of fragments of bottles, plates, pottery, tiles--anything Sam could find. The Watts Towers are another example of vernacular architecture made popular in the early to mid 20th century.