Posts Tagged ‘Monument’

QUIZ – What Lies Beneath #5

The answer is posted after the jump! :)

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Hint: this week’s What Lies Beneath is holiday-themed!

Just to refresh your memory, here’s how this little game goes… we’ll show you a spot on a google map (see below). We’re thinking of a reason this location is notable. Within 24 hours we’ll give you the full details… but as always, we’re going to give you a fair amount of time to guess what we’re referring to first. We encourage you not to cheat by googling the address and if you know the answer right away please try not to announce it too quickly and ruin the game for the people who don’t.

Here it is!


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ODDITY – The Late, Great, Tower of Pallets Monument

Even the National Enquirer was taken aback after the city of Los Angeles designated Daniel Van Meter’s Tower of Wooden Pallets a historical landmark. A photo spread of the Sherman Oaks structure was accompanied by a headline that said, “No kidding! This pile of junk is a historic monument!”

Robert Winter, a former member of the Cultural Heritage Commission, joked later that the 1978 vote might have been influenced by fumes emanating from the pallets, which were discards from a brewery.

“Maybe we were drunk,” said Winter, a prominent architectural historian. (SOURCE)

Photo Credit: BigOrangeLandmarks.comDaniel Van Meter began construction of the 22-foot-tall structure in 1951 using 2,000 wooden pallets tossed out by a local brewery. The slatted wood was stacked like bricks and placed in a circle with a radius of about 22 feet wide. According to Van Meter, the tower, his own personal sanctuary, was built around the grave of a child buried in 1869.

“I have a place where it is quiet, despite the apartments, the noise of the boulevard and the hum and screeches of the rat race on the freeway 200 feet away,” he said.

At night, Van Meter said, he climbs to the top of the tower and looks at the moon and the stars. “To me, this is a spiritual place.” (SOURCE)

The tower was bulldozed in 2006 and in January 2009 the 2.5 acre property was sold by Dan’s heirs for $4.5 million. Construction began almost immediately on a new apartment building in its place, just as Van Meter predicted almost forty years ago while lobbying for his tower’s landmark status:

“… in a few years this piece of the good earth may be covered by apartments for the storing of surplus people. In the meantime, pray, let this strange structure be, let it continue to be a haven of rest for an individual – that endangered species – who once knew how sweet was our Valley.” (SOURCE)


MATINEE – Simon Rodia & The Watts Towers

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9njXNZuASi0[/youtube] rodiaTHE TOWERS (1957; 12 minutes) is a documentary about Simon Rodia (1879-1965) building the Watts Towers.

Details: Born near the Naples, Italy, Simon Rodia emigrated to Pennsylvania at 15. When his brother was killed in a mining accident, Simon moved to the West Coast and eventually settled in Watts in the early 1920s. He began creating the towers in 1921 and finished in 1948. Seven years later, frustrated by vandalism and disputes with his neighbors, he suddenly gave the property to neighbor Luis Sauceda and walked away. He was 75 years of age.

Simon Rodia lived in Martinez, California until his death in 1965. He never viewed his Towers again. (more…)