Nitt Witt Ridge, Cambria

3.3
#2 of 8 in Historic Sites in Cambria
Nitt Witt Ridge is a house on two and a half acres in Cambria, California, United States. Artist/recluse Arthur "Art" Harold Beal (d. 1992) bought his hillside lot in 1928 and spent most of the next 50 years carving out the terraces with only a pick and shovel, creating his own "castle on a hill".
Arthur Harold Beal is known as Der Tinkerpaw or Captain Nitt Witt. Beal was garbage collector for the town of Cambria in the 1940s and 1950s and made good use of what Cambrians were throwing away, as well as the natural materials on the property, in the nearby pine forests, and on the area's beaches. Some parts are also reportedly remnants from Hearst Castle where he supposedly worked for a time. Other common building materials are beer cans, abalone shells, and concrete. There are also washer drums, car rims, tile, car parts, and old stoves.
After Art died in 1992 at the age of 96, his ashes were spread around his favorite redwood tree on Nitt Witt Ridge. The house still is full of knick-knacks and architectural uniqueness, despite the deterioration and ransacking it suffered after Art's death.
In 1999 Michael and Stacey O'Malley became the owners of Nitt Witt Ridge. They have repaired some of the house and cleaned up the gardens. Their enthusiasm for Nitt Witt Ridge is apparent in Michael's guided tours of the property. Tours are available at various times and include a four-minute video. A $10/person donation is requested at the end of the tour.
Nitt Witt Ridge is California Historical Landmark No. 939. It is considered a thematic landmark, in connection with the Twentieth Century Folk Art Environments. The plaque reads: Nitt Witt Ridge, one of California's remarkable twentieth-century folk-art environments, is the creation of Arthur Harold Beal (Der Tinkerpaw, or Capt Nitt Witt), a Cambria Pines pioneer who sculpted the land using hand tools and indigenous materials, inventiveness and self-taught skills. A blend of native materials and contemporary elements, impressive in its sheer mass and meticulous placement, it is a revealing memorial to Art's cosmic humor and zest for life.
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Nitt Witt Ridge Reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • We had the pleasure of visiting the phenomenal Nitt Witt Ridge recently, and if you're ever in the vicinity of Cambria CA and fail to do so, the true nitwit is YOU. The tour guide Mike is an absolute ...  more »
  • The tour guide is very knowledgeable about property and about the previous owner and its creator Art Beal. The house is an eccentric summation of one individuals perception of the way things should be...  more »
Google
  • This is an an absolutely brilliant experience. Mike (owner and tour guide) brings the place to life with his fab tour. The whole family LOVED it (including 2 teenagers), so much so we are considering going again!!
  • Interesting to see. The history is on a pamphlet in front of the house. Wish we could have been able to take the tour, just didn't plan well. There is a turn out to park but the road is very narrow. Be careful

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