|Born||April 15, 1875(1875-04-15)
Serino, Avellino, Italy
|Died||July 17, 1965(1965-07-17) (aged 90)
Martinez, California, U.S.
|Other names||Simon, Sam|
|Known for||Watts Towers|
Rodia was born and raised in Serino, Italy. He emigrated to the United States with his brother at the age of 15; the two first lived in Pennsylvania until the former died from a mining incident. Rodia then moved to Seattle, Washington, where he married Lucia Ucci in 1902. The couple moved to California and resided in Oakland, where Rodia’s three children were born. Following his divorce from Ucci in 1912, he relocated to Long Beach and worked odd jobs before settling in Watts in 1920.
He began construction of the Watts Towers in 1921, but did not finish them until 1954. Find out more about this man’s life achievement at: http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Simon+Rodia. In 1954 Rodia moved to Martinez, California where he remained until his death on July 16, 1965. Generally, it is believed that Rodia never returned to Watts after moving away from the city.
The Watts Towers official website has photos of the details work that went into the Towers: Some monuments were reconstructed after entire castles were shipped building block after building block from Europe (Hearst Castle), and other were rebuilt, from memory, such as the Watts Towers (Rodia Towers). I think Rodia wanted to rebuild a corner of Italia, here on California soil.
Simon Rodia is member of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, and he is featured on the LP’ Cover on the top row, the next to the last picture and next to Bob Dylan : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_images_on_the_cover_of_Sgt._Pepper’s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band