National Geographic : 1962 Oct
Fireball sun inflames smog-tinged sky and silhouettes a forest of derricks in Long Beach. Rodia's towers are a delight of lattice-like slender arches and airy interlaced forms which climb into the sky in an irregular pattern. Every inch of the arches, walls, and towers is covered with patterns of sea shells, old tile, bits of broken pottery and mirror, green and blue bottles, and rocks (page 483). It took 33 years for their creator, working alone in his spare time with only simple tools and a window-washer's belt, to complete his castles. Then he deeded them to neighbors and moved away, north of San Francisco. 490 He is a silent man, not given to explana tions. But he once told an interviewer: "I wanted to do something for the United States because there are nice people in this country." That is the fullest statement he has ever made about his labor of love. Bottles, broken plates, rocks, and shells so described, the towers sound ugly and weird. They are not. I realized as I looked at them in a cold sunset that Simon Rodia, working only from the blueprint he read in his heart, has sent us all a colossal valentine.