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Watts Towers Scaffolding Removed as Work Continues

For the first time in two years, the tops of the Watts Towers, which had been boarded up for restoration, are visible.

The scaffolding that surrounds the intricate, spindly structures was taken down over the last week, marking the halfway point in the reconstruction process, said conservation engineer Bud Goldstone. The project is expected to be completed in about two years, he said.

The towers and surrounding walls were severely damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The force of the quake had torn the much of the mortar away from the steel reinforcement, Goldstone said.

The restoration effort, which is estimated to cost $700,000, is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Goldstone said.

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The towers were built by Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant who worked as a day laborer. Rodia completed the towers in 1954, decorating the structures with pieces of colored glass, tile, shells and other found objects.


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