Atlas Obscura

At least once, sometimes twice a week, I get a feed from this website, which is subtitled “The Definitive Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders.” Each feed carries four to six stories, and if they’re not all absolutely wonderful, they come close. Did you know that congressional clocks have a secret code? Ever wonder why we picture bombs as black balls with burning fuses? How did the pink lawn flamingo come to be? Atlas Obscura is a collaborative project, similar to Wikipedia; anybody can send in a story to members who serve as editors, and if it passes muster—the “wonder” factor—it goes on the site. I tested it out by doing a search for Forestiere Underground Gardens, in my hometown of Fresno. Forestiere was an Italian immigrant who, having bought 60 acres to farm and discovered hardpan that rendered it useless for growing, spent the next 40 years digging a quite beautiful subterranean home under the hardpan. Now it’s one of hundreds of “hidden wonders” on Atlas Obscura.