The Watts Towers


A few days ago, I was cruising the internet and came across an old movie titled “The Tower.” It was released in 1957 and told the story of the origin of the Watts Tower. According to the narrator, the person who built the structure was an Italian immigrant by the name of Simon Rodia. Before immigrating to this country, he always dreamed of doing something great, and that dream stuck with him after he migrated here. After he settled in Watts section of Los Angeles, he decided to build something monumental.

Though he had no formal education in designing and architecture, he used his manual skills to build a tower, and what a tower it was. Construction started in 1921, and it took nearly 30 years to build. It consists of 17 interconnected sculptural towers, architectural structures, and individual sculptural features and mosaics. The foundation of the towers were steel girders, wire, and cement. Rodia wanted his sculpture to demonstrate vitality, texture, and color, so seashells collected from the nearby beach, broken pieces of glass from discarded objects, pebbles, and shattered tiles were embedded in the exterior of the structure to make it visually appealing.

Not only was I impressed with the structure, but also Park and Marie were. One of them even got a chance to see it up close and personal, and that story led to a legendary tale. Read about it in Book 5 of the JassOdyssey series.


Since we are discussing towers, I thought that I would make Dexter Gordon’s Tower of Power the Jazz Album of the Day.


As always, Take the Journey!!!

J. A. Rollins

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