childhood day trips.
This cave house was built by Baldassare Forestiere, a Sicilian immigrant. He bought 28 h/a land and planned to make an orchard. Unfortunately the land was not suitable for his plan and the soil went hard in the hot San Joaquin Valley sun. And the temperatures of up to 50°C in summer were too hot to live above ground.
So he used the knowledge he had as an ex-worker of the New York City subway, and started to build a house underground. During 40 years he lived in his cave house, worked on neighbouring farms and expanded his home by adding room after room. He built more than 50 rooms, every one with an opening in the ceiling for light and fresh air. Then he planted a fruit tree under many openings, where it would be watered by the rain. The others could be closed by windows during the rare rainfalls.
At last his house extended over four hectares and contained a library, a chapel, and a glass-bottomed aquarium with a viewing room underneath. The unique cave house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it is operated as a public museum by Andre Lorraine and Ricardo Forestiere.