Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee 5006 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood
Even the National Enquirer was taken aback after the city of Los Angeles designated Daniel Van Meter’s Tower of Wooden Pallets a historical landmark. A photo spread of the Sherman Oaks structure was accompanied by a headline that said, “No kidding! This pile of junk is a historic monument!”
Robert Winter, a former member of the Cultural Heritage Commission, joked later that the 1978 vote might have been influenced by fumes emanating from the pallets, which were discards from a brewery.
“Maybe we were drunk,” said Winter, a prominent architectural historian. (SOURCE)
Daniel Van Meter began construction of the 22-foot-tall structure in 1951 using 2,000 wooden pallets tossed out by a local brewery. The slatted wood was stacked like bricks and placed in a circle with a radius of about 22 feet wide. According to Van Meter, the tower, his own personal sanctuary, was built around the grave of a child buried in 1869.
“I have a place where it is quiet, despite the apartments, the noise of the boulevard and the hum and screeches of the rat race on the freeway 200 feet away,” he said.
At night, Van Meter said, he climbs to the top of the tower and looks at the moon and the stars. “To me, this is a spiritual place.” (SOURCE)
The tower was bulldozed in 2006 and in January 2009 the 2.5 acre property was sold by Dan’s heirs for $4.5 million. Construction began almost immediately on a new apartment building in its place, just as Van Meter predicted almost forty years ago while lobbying for his tower’s landmark status:
“… in a few years this piece of the good earth may be covered by apartments for the storing of surplus people. In the meantime, pray, let this strange structure be, let it continue to be a haven of rest for an individual – that endangered species – who once knew how sweet was our Valley.” (SOURCE)