Local Register of Historic Resources

H.P. #177
Forestiere Underground GardensForestiere Underground Gardens (1906-1946)

5021 W. Shaw Avenue
Baldasare Forestiere, Designer and Builder
Vernacular Subterranean

The Forestiere Underground Gardens were designed and hand-sculpted by Baldasare Forestiere, a Sicilian immigrant. A vineyardist and horticulturalist, Forestiere began in the early 1900s to carve and sculpt a thoroughly unique underground retreat to escape the San Joaquin Valley's excessive heat. After nearly forty years with hand tools and persistent effort, he succeeded in creating a cool subterranean complex fashioned after the "visions stored in my mind." Forestiere worked without blueprints or plans, following only his creative instincts and aesthetic impulses. He continued expanding and modifying the gardens throughout his life. Baldasare Forestiere died in 1946 at the age of sixty-seven. After his death, the Underground Gardens were opened to the public as a museum.

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