Built solely by an immigrant named Sam Rhodia on his own property, the highest tower is 99 feet tall.
I went with Beckett’s school class recently and we had a wonderful tour guide. He said he used to climb the towers when he was a kid growing up in Watts.
In the photo below, notice the mail slot he built in!
Sam built the towers with steel reinforced concrete and adorned them with mosaics of pottery, glass, tile, shells and engravings.
He worked on the towers for 33 years. His neighbors say that’s all he did in his spare time.
In the 1950’s the city wanted to take them down claiming that they were falling apart. The did a load test and they were unable to knock them down. That’s how structurally sound this one little Italian man built these towers!
There’s a lot more information here as well as video of the towers. If you’re visiting Los Angeles, I highly recommend you make time to see the Watts Towers and get a tour. There’s a lovely art gallery there now too which holds classes for local kids.