Rumors of Espionage at the Old Vienna Gardens
It was 1936 when Bavarian-born August Furst and his family arrived in Los Angeles from New York City. They bought a hillside orange grove on a winding dirt road and built the Old Vienna Gardens Restaurant.
Their timing couldn’t have been worse. By 1936, the Great Depression already had a stranglehold on most Americans. Locals were suspicious of outsiders – people escaping the Dust Bowl, Mexico and Europe. While Adolf Hitler was terrorizing people in Germany, the German-American Bund was active in Los Angeles. Its goal was to turn the U.S. into a Nazi state. Citizens became the eyes and ears of government.
It wasn’t long before people began reporting August Furst to the police and the FBI – they were certain he was a German spy – a former officer in the German army. They told of secret Bund meetings there, that there were illegal radios transmitting to German U-boats, that there was a cave being used as an arsenal, that armed guards with vicious German shepherd dogs patrolled the area, and much more.
Furst later built a Moorish-style castle on the hill behind the restaurant, and soon there were rumors of tunnels connecting them. Some say Hitler, himself, was a guest.
The Old Vienna Gardens sold in the ‘70s and became an Italian restaurant and then a Mexican restaurant before it emerged as the beautifully restored Villa Terraza. The management and staff of Villa Terraza welcome you, and promise the highest quality food and excellent service. We promise to treat you like family.
If, by chance, you see a ghost here or you have information that can contribute to the history of this landmark, please let your server know so our historian can call you.