How would you like to live in a cool underground dwelling while it’s sweltering topside? Yes, this dwelling would have all the creature comforts available at the time it was built. You may not have that option today, but in 1906, Balasare Forestiere began digging to escape the heat of his new home in Fresno, California.
An immigrant from Sicily, Forestiere bought this land hoping to plant trees like those in his native country. However, the soil was not conducive to growing anything and the heat was oppressive. So, Forestiere began digging his home–air-conditioning was not an option then! He dug and planted until his death in 1946, leaving acres of living area in the cool underground. Some of it was sold by the family and some bought by the government via eminent domain for highway 99. His brother held on to the current acreage, finishing what Forestiere had planned. Today, his nephew still tends to the place with the help of The Forestiere Historical Center. While the land is still privately owned, it has been designated as a California Historical Landmark, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
I did introduce the gardens to you in my last post, but wanted to show you more of this amazing place. I was impressed with how airy and well lit from natural sources the catacombs were. Forestiere had planted citrus trees underground and they grew to the surface and beyond via openings. As he dug, he kept changing his living quarters. In the end, it was like a maze. He wanted to have people come to escape the heat, enjoying the cool underground quarters. But, that never materialized as a business, He did have guests though.
Take a look at this amazing cool underground dwelling. If you are experiencing hot weather, you’ll wish you were here!