Mental Floss

Geo-stumper: name these shadows

Ransom Riggs

One of the country's most famous hand-made structures, this week's geo-stumper is considered a towering feat of do-it-yourself engineering by some; an ugly, overgrown yard ornament by others. Built over 30 years by an unschooled Italian immigrant with nothing more than a window-washer's tools at his disposal, its 100-foot interlocking spires may be the world's tallest found art piece: they're decorated with rusted bed frames, Bubble-Up cola bottles, sea shells and whatever other pieces of aesthetically-pleasing garbage he could get his hands on.

After spending half his life constructing it bit by painstaking bit, at age 75 he sold the monument to a neighbor for a paltry $1,000 and moved away, reportedly tired of neighborhood NIMBYs vandalizing it. Before earning its rightful place in the pantheon of American architectural oddities, it would survive multiple municipal threats to tear it down, a fire, two riots and an earthquake.