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Finding Aid for the N.J. "Bud" Goldstone Collection on Simon Rodia's Towers, 1959-2002
1317  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material
  • Items Removed from the Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: N.J. "Bud" Goldstone Collection on Simon Rodia's Towers
    Date (inclusive): 1959-2002
    Collection number: 1317
    Creator: Goldstone, N. J.
    Extent: 4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
    Abstract: N.J. "Bud" Goldstone was a professional engineer and member of the Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts, Inc. In 1959, he designed and executed an engineering test that proved the Towers' structural safety. The bulk of the collection consists of Goldstone's detailed photographs and negatives of the Towers, documenting a restoration project completed between 1994 and 2002. The collection also includes the original 1959 structural integrity report and test plan, a set of microfiche from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, and additional photographic materials.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Biography

    Simon Rodia's Towers were constructed between 1921 and 1955 in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Built single-handedly by Rodia, an Italian immigrant, the Towers consist of an elaborate walled enclosure containing seventeen sculptures of thin steel members covered with mortar. The sculptures' surfaces are decorated with a mosaic of tiles, glass shards and objects. Rodia deeded the property to a neighbor in 1955 when he left Los Angeles to live in the Northern California town of Martinez. After 1955, the towers were neglected and fell into disrepair. The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety determined the Towers were a public safety hazard in 1957 and ordered their demolishment. The Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts, Inc. (CSRTW) was immediately formed in an attempt to save the Towers. After a demolition hearing, the City agreed to a lateral stress test, spearheaded by aerospace engineer N.J. "Bud" Goldstone, at the Committee's expense. On October 10, 1959, Goldstone executed a successful proof-load test, demonstrating the Towers' structural stability. Goldstone continued to serve as a member and an officer of CSRTW from 1960 to 1970, and worked to advance the issue of preserving and restoring the Towers through the 1990s. In 1975, the Committee, which had preserved the Towers independently for 16 years, gave the Towers and Art Center to the City of Los Angeles for operation and maintenance. In 1978, the Towers were deeded to the State of California. The State undertook an extensive restoration project, but in 1985, responsibility for the Towers was again assumed by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department. Repair to damage caused in the 1994 Northridge earthquake was commenced in 1995 and completed in 2001. The Towers are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and are the location of cultural programs.

    Scope and Content

    The bulk of the collection consists of N.J. "Bud" Goldstone's detailed photographs and negatives of the Towers, documenting a restoration project completed between 1994 and 2002. The collection also includes the original 1959 structural integrity report and test plan; a set of microfiche from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, documenting their survey of the Towers before restoration; and a set of transparencies by Los Angeles photographer Mitzi Trumbo.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Goldstone, N.J.--Archives.
    Aerospace engineers--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
    Simon Rodia's Towers (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Archival resources.
    Simon Rodia's Towers (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Photographs.
    Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts.
    Steel sculpture--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
    Watts (Los Angeles, Calif.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
    Architecture--Conservation and restoration--Archival resources.
    Rodia, Simon, 1879-1965.

    Related Material

    Committee for Simon Rodia's Towers in Watts Records  (Collection 1388). Available at Department of Special Collections, UCLA.

    Items Removed from the Collection

    A bibliography of printed works on Simon Rodia's Towers compiled by N.J. "Bud" Goldstone was removed from the collection, and added to the collection file. Available upon request at the Department of Special Collections, UCLA.