The Watts Towers, closed to the public for seven years during a state-funded $1.2-million restoration, officially reopened to the public Saturday at 10 a.m. during the ninth annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Music & Arts Festival.
Simon Rodia, an unlettered immigrant from Italy, built the three towers and subsidiary structures alone and by hand over 33 years, beginning in 1921. He used concrete over "armatures" of steel rods and wire. He then embellished them with mosaic-like designs of seashells, broken bottles, fragments of tiles and other bric-a-brac collected from railroad tracks, beaches and wherever else they had collected.
The towers complex and the adjoining Watts Towers Arts Center are under the auspices of the Los Angeles City Cultural Affairs Department. The towers are at 1727 East 107th St. and may be visited during daylight hours. Further information is available from the cultural affairs department in the Los Angeles City Hall.