February 12, 1879|
Serino, Avellino, Italy
|Died||July 17, 1965
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. Rodia lived in Pennsylvania until his brother died in a mining incident. He then moved to Seattle, Washington, where he married Lucia Ucci in 1902. They soon moved to Oakland, where Rodia's three children were born. Following his divorce in 1912, he moved to Long Beach and worked at odd jobs before finally settling in Watts in 1920.
Rodia began constructing the Watts Towers in 1921, but did not complete them until 1954. They were frequently vandalized by neighbors, and Rodia gave this as the reason he moved to Martinez, where he remained until his death in 1965. It is believed that Rodia never returned to Watts after moving to Martinez.
A photograph of Simon Rodia is included on the cover of the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in 1967. The public Simon Rodia Continuation High School in Watts is named for him.
Here you can share your comments or contribute with more information, content, resources or links about this topic.