Nitt Witt Ridge Enters the Real Estate Market!
The art environment known as Nitt Witt Ridge has entered the real estate market, listed for $425,000 on Trulia. Built by Art Beal (variously known as “Art,” “Dr. Tinkerpaw” and ”Captain Nittwitt”) using only hand tools, Beal worked on this project for over fifty years. He built stone and concrete foundations and topped them with wood-framed structures he adorned with abalone shells, scrap metal, glass, and industrial discards. Beal's one rule was to pay for nothing except cement. He terraced the hilly property using a pick and shovel, built rock and mortar retaining walls, and designed handrails that also functioned as irrigation pipes and sprinklers. Eventually his site boasted nine levels, with layers of assemblages connected by serpentine walkways.
As he aged, Beal had trouble maintaining the site. To allow him to live on the property for as long as he wished, and to access public funding to protect the site from destruction or developers, volunteers founded the nonprofit Art Beal Foundation in 1975. Six years later the site was awarded California Historical Landmark status. Beal continued to live on the property until 1989, when he moved to a nursing home. He died three years later. In 1999, Michael and Stacy O'Malley bought the site when it had been listed for $42,000 and has been offering tours by appointment as they restore the property.
Nitt Witt Ridge, 2018. Sam Gappmayer.