How it all started...*


Page 1





    Simon Rodia spent over thirty years of his life living in Watts and designing and building the Watts Towers.  In the mid-1950s, Simon left Watts; but not before deeding his property, his house, and his magnificent Towers over to the only neighbor he had who never called him crazy.

    Shortly after receiving title, Rodia's former neighbor had a problem.

    Some children, playing with fireworks, set the roof of the house on fire and everything that Rodia hadn't covered with his mortar burned up.  Rodia's former neighbor still hadn't figured out what to do with the Towers and now he had a burned out house that couldn't even be rented out and help him pay for whatever it was that he might have done with them.

    Fortunately for him, a creative thinker named Montoya came along.

    Montoya had concluded that he could turn the property into a unique and festive eating environment with a Latin flair.  So he bought the property, Towers and burned out house for the tidy some of $500.

   Montoya had decided to build himself a taco stand!  The structures as a backdrop!  The gazebo for outdoor seating!  Not only was it brilliant.  If Montoya's idea had come to fruition, it would have worked!!  Taco Towers?  Towers Taco?  Whatever the name, we might actually have had "Towers Taco" stands in China right now!!

    What stopped it?

    As we all know, some things never change.  The need for a city permit in order to open a taco stand is one of those things.  Montoya applied for one.  The City of Los Angeles not only denied him the permit; but The City also condemned the Towers and subsequently issued a demolition order.

    How were the Towers saved? 


  Read on...

* Aerial photos on this page were provided by USAF Colonel Mark Charles Dickerson, ret.; USAF