The Napa River was the main transportation system for the early growth of the City. Before the growth of the railroads, and later the highway systems, the River promoted commerce along Napa's waterfront many years before other cities were founded. Napa's world-famous tanneries relied on River transport to bring in their raw materials and ship out their finished products. In the war years, the River was a vital link to transport barges built at Kaiser Steel.
In the post-war era, the River became neglected. The revitalization of the River and the waterfront took a leap forward with the creation of the Napa River-Napa Creek Flood Protection Project. As this major civic works effort continues, private development and interest in the River has grown year by year.