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Tower of Trouble

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Jessica Garrison of the Los Angeles Times covers the fracas in Van Nuys regarding the status of Daniel Van Meter's "Tower of Wooden Pallets" as a historic monument in 1978. The Tower is actually 22-foot stack of crumbling, termite-infested Schlitz beer pallets that now stands in the way of development.Those wacky Cultural Heritage Commissioners obviously didn't take their jobs that seriously back in the 70s.

Garrison opens her piece with this quote:


It's unclear how serious members of the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission were back in 1978 when they designated Daniel Van Meter's "Tower of Wooden Pallets" a historic monument. Commission member [and THE preeminent living LA architectural scholar] Bob Winter later joked that "maybe we were drunk" when they recognized the 22-foot stack of crumbling, termite-infested Schlitz beer pallets. Winter called it "the funniest thing we ever did."

Van Meter's heirs want to develop the spot into an apartment complex- on Magnolia Blvd in Sherman Oaks- while neighbors have enlisted the aid of preservationists to leverage more control over the project's impact on their neighborhood.
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While hardly in the league of Watts Towers (with which it's compared as a justification for preservation), we think the pallets should be preserved as a monument to Van Meter's iconoclastic spirit and wry, non-commercial craftiness, traits as rapidly disappearing from the SoCal landscape as any other endangered species.

Photo credit: Bob Carey / Los Angeles Times