"I enjoyed it. I never thought of it as work. I was just having a good time." – Grandma Prisbrey

Bottle Village – Tressa “Grandma” Prisbrey

1896 — 1988
Simi Valley, CA
Bottle environment
Built: 1956 – 1972

“I enjoyed it. I never thought of it as work. I was just having a good time.”

In 1956 at the age of 61, Tressa “Grandma” Prisbrey started building the Bottle Village as a place to display her pencil collection. When finished in 1965, the Village included 20 sculptures and 13 buildings. Grandma Prisbrey died in 1988.

In 1996, Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s now run by Preserve Bottle Village (PBV), a private non-profit organization.

The excellent photo tour of Bottle Village on the PBV website includes info on the various constructions along with info on the condition of the structures following the 1994 Simi Valley earthquake. PBV also offers biographical info, news concerning the restoration of Bottle Village, and a detailed history. The history is particularly heartbreaking to read and shows the importance of helping to preserve these sites, even if only able to provide some small assistance.

Spending just a few dollars helps to keep Bottle Village standing! For $20.00, adopt a square foot of Bottle Village and you’ll receive a deed for your adopted property. Get all the info on the PBV News page.

Visits are available by appointment with PBV. Check the PBV Contact Information page for details.

April 13, 2006:

Many Thanks! To LanDesign West Inc., a landscape maintenance company that has donated their services to clean up Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village. Their crew was very hard-working. Aaron Landworth, who heads the company, studied horticulture at UC Davis. LanDesign West, located in Santa Monica, CA: (310) 453-1180. With this, many thanks to Albert Howell, President of Ashlee Manor Senior Living; our neighbor. Mr. Howell donated the cost for the bin that hauls away branches, and other overgrown parts of Bottle Village.

Find this site and others with the iPhone app, “Best Road Trip Ever!”

(Photos courtesy of Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations)

Bibliography & Links:

“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.

“20th Century American Folk, Self Taught, and Outsider Art” by Betty-Carol Sellen, Cynthia J. Johnson, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, 1993.

On DVD – Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, “Cali-Zona, Here We Come,” KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 2007.

“American Folk Art, A Regional Reference” by Kristin G. Congdon and Kara Kelley Hallmark, ABC-CLIO Publishers, California, 2012.

“American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies” by Florence Laffal and Julius Laffal, 2003.

“Fantasy Worlds” by Deidi Von Schaewen and John Maizels, Taschen, New York, 1999.

“Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Folk Art and Artists” by  Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Abbeville Press, New York, 1990.

“Raw Creation: Outsider Art and Beyond” by John Maizels, Phaidon Press; New Ed edition, 1996, 2000.

“Raw Vision Outsider Art Sourcebook”  Raw Vision, Ltd., 2002.

“Self-Made Worlds: Visionary Environments” by Roger Manley and Mark Sloan, Aperture, New York, 1997.

“Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art—A guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources” by Betty-Carol Sellen with Cynthia J. Johnson, McFarland & Company, 2000.