Nitt Witt Ridge
Nitt Witt Ridge was home to a colorful character named Art Beal (aka "Captain Nitt Witt" or "Der Tinkerpaw") before he passed away in 1992. Nitt Witt Ridge always had the appearance of a post-earthquake death trap from afar, but up close it was an imaginative assemblage of sculpted junk -- stone walls inlayed with bottles, rusty metal, busted TV sets.
Nitt Witt Ridge was designated a California Historic Landmark in 1981. Today the property is owned by Michael and Stacey O'Malley, who conduct informative and fun tours by appointment. They offer Nitt Witt Ridge merchandise for sale.
We visited Art in 1985 -- sadly our VHS video camera was merrily shorting out during the 30 minute interview. But even a fleeting burst of Captain Nitt Witt seems sufficient.
Here are our notes on the state of Captain Nitt Witt in 1991: "Art Beal is now 96, senile, and refuses to leave Nitt Witt Ridge. According to the CoC, Nitt Witt Ridge is closed to the public, though it was mistakenly listed in the 1990 CA tourism brochure and "hundreds of people showed up" wanting to get inside. Those that did "were appalled" (among other things, Nitt Witt Ridge has never been connected to the town sewer system). Art gets his food from Meals On Wheels ladies, and Nitt Witt Ridge has been granted CA landmark status, so Art doesn't have to pay any taxes. Art was shipped off to a local hospital a couple of years back, but after a few days he disappeared from his room. He had hitched back to Nitt Witt Ridge."