Eccentrics: Captain Nitt Witt and his House made of Junk

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Arthur Harold Beal, aka Captain Nitt Witt or Der Tinkerpaw (self-named because he ‘tinkered with his paws’) was — as far as eccentrics go — up there best the best. Beal worked as a garbage collector for the town of Cambria in California during the 1940′s/1950′s and this occupation gave him plentiful access to materials to add to his home, Nitt Witt Ridge.

Beal bought the lot in 1928 and single-handedly carved his home out of the hillside, constructing it using natural materials he found around the property and the surrounding area — together with a monumental amount of ‘trash’ that other people had discarded. He made ingenious use of such things as beer cans, bottles, old toilet seats, old tyres, discarded pipes — in fact anything he could adapt to incorporate into his home. Beal is thought to have at one point worked on William Randolph Hearst’s estate, Hearst Castle –  and it may be the case that some discarded pieces from there made their way into Beal’s creation. His work went on for fifty years and the result was a ramshackle — but strangely wonderful — property, which is now a California Historical Landmark.

It makes me sad to know that Beal did not finish his days in his precious home but was admitted to a nursing home ‘for his own good’.

A little piece of film on Nitt Witt Ridge:

Lot’s more information and pictures:

here and here and here

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