The History of Napa
The undated photo here appears to have been taken in the late 1800s. It shows Main Street looking south toward First Street. At left can be seen the Napa Valley Opera House, and the building with the conical spire is the Winship Building. Both structures remain in use today.
Here is an excerpt from a book published in 1891 titled: Memorial And Biographical History Of Northern California
Napa, formerly styled Napa City, is the county town and leading city of Napa County, a place of great prosperity and extensive trade, and a favorite residence for retired wealth.
The original town plat of Napa City was planted in beans in 1847, which was the first evidence of civilization in that locality. There was then not a house in the county except a few adobes, occupied by Mexicans and a few hardy American pioneers. The first mention of the place in a newspaper was a statement in 1848 that the ship Amalek Adhel had passed up the Napa river and found plenty of water to a certain point, and that beyond that was the embarcadero de Napa. Early in May, 1848, the first building was erected, which formed the nucleus around which the present city has grown. It was one and half stories high, 18 x
24 feet in size, and was built by Harrison Pierce for a saloon. This building was still standing a very few years ago.
The town site was surveyed and laid out by of the late Hon. Nathan Coombs in the spring 1848, the limits including only the land lying between Brown street and the river, and extending 600 yards from Napa street to the steamboat landing. During that year John Trubody mowed almost the entire plat, which was covered with a rank growth of wild oats, and sold the hay to the Government. The gold discovery temporarily checked settlement here; but after the first reverberation improvements began and were continued until a beautiful city was the result...
In Napa there are two tanneries, one of them the largest wool-pulling and tanning establishment on the Pacific Coast. It has drain-tile and brick-works, a glue factory, a busy fruit-packing establishment and wineries that rank in size and reputation with the best in the State. The Napa woolen-mill has a wide reputation for making fine fabrics. A company has also lately gone largely into the business of grape drying and shipping. It has also a large sash and door factory, etc., etc., has splendid water-works and no debt.
Extracted from Memorial and Biographical History of Northern California. Illustrated, Containing a History of this Important Section of the Pacific Coast from the Earliest Period of its Occupancy to the Present Time, together with Glimpses of its Prospective Future; Full-Page Steel Portraits of its most Eminent Men, and Biographical Mention of many of its Pioneers and also of Prominent Citizens of To-day.
THE LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY
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