Did you have any idea that Southern California has a variety of unique towers that all have a fascinating history? Some of these towers can be climbed, others can be toured, and one tower on this list can actually be reserved for an overnight stay. Take a look at these incredible photos and see for yourself.
1. Victoria Beach Pirate Tower - Laguna Beach
If you've ever been to Victoria Beach you've most likely seen this beauty at the north end of the beach known as the Pirate Tower. At first glance this 60-feet tower looks like it's been carved out of the rocks. Take a closer look and you'll see the tower is actually a staircase. According to California building records, this structure was built in 1926; the tower was added as an artistic looking staircase leading to the house above.
2. The Sunkist Tower - Ontario
All that remains of the former Sunkist factory in Ontario, California is this iconic tower with a faded Sunkist logo. After the factory was torn down, this tower was left standing as a reminder of the former citrus industry that once dominated this area.
3. High Tower Elevator -- Los Angeles
Tucked around the corner from Hollywood Bowl in a nearby hillside community, this 5-story elevator tower built in the 1920s belongs to the residents of High Tower Court. You can't access the elevator unless you're a resident, but you can still check out the exterior of the tower by climbing up a steep set of stairs that leads to the elevator. The view from the top is breathtaking.
4. Sunset Beach Water Tower
This tower may have the most unique history of all the structures on this list. Originally built as a water tower in the 1800s to support the railroad steam engines of the day, it was later restored and rebuilt in the '40s for local water supply use. It went through yet another transformation in the '80s when it was no longer needed as a water tower and was turned into a residential home and vacation rental. If you want an overnight stay in an historic tower, this is the place to be.
5. California Tower -- San Diego
You can't miss this striking tower as you approach Balboa Park. Since 1935 the California Tower has been closed to the public, but it recently reopened for tours in 2016. On the tour you'll take a spiral staircase to the top and be rewarded with a spectacular view of San Diego.
6. Boucher Hill Tower -- Palomar
Located within Palomar Mountain State Park, this lookout tower has been used by forest rangers since 1921 for early detection of forest fires. It's also open to the public for tours. If you time your visit on a clear day, the view from Mexico all the way to Catalina Island is spectacular.
7. Desert View Tower -- Jacumba
Built in the 1920s, this 70-foot tower located in a dusty and desolate stretch of San Diego County is a worthwhile stop along I-8. For only two dollars, you can climb to the top of the tower and take in a bird's eye view of the desert.
8. Watts Towers -- Los Angeles
Located in the Watts district of Los Angeles at the Simon Rodia State Historic Park, you'll find this magnificent structure that was built by hand over 33 years by Simon Rodia. From 1921 to 1954, Rodia created these sculptures made of concrete, wire mesh, glass and tile. There are 17 interconnected towers in total; the tallest tower is almost 100-feet tall. A close-up look at these towers reveal the handcrafted attention to detail.
So much history in Southern California just waiting to be discovered! If you want to learn more about our region’s unique architectural history, here are
8 pieces of architectural brilliance in SoCal that are worth exploring.