The tidal river flowing through Napa enabled 19th century commercial navigation from the San Francisco Bay up to this point, where landings and warehouses were built, forming the core of early Napa. This riverfront development made the city more prone to flooding and, since 1850, Napa has experienced over 22 major floods. In 2000, construction began on the Napa River/Napa Creek Flood Protection Project, with a widened river corridor, engineered floodwalls, and longer elevated bridges spanning the river corridor.
The tide ebbs and flows daily, changing the water level of the river by as much as six feet (1.8 meters). At low tide, the tidal mudflats provide a habitat for birds, fish, and invertebrates, while at high tide, the river extends broadly to its banks.
The Napa Mill complex is the last remaining vestige of the once thriving Main Street industrial and commercial center of Napa in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Now an entertainment district, the complex has stores, restaurants (including one of our favorites, Angele), and a Hyatt hotel. Walking through the complex, we admire the landscaping, art, and river location.
Leaving the former mill and strolling down the main streets of Napa, we find lots of inviting passageways and places to stop, rest, have a quick meal or beverage, or just relax.
A block or two out of downtown, tree-lined streets are full of beautiful old-style Napa Victorian houses, dating from the late 1800s and lovingly restored and maintained. We just wander and admire.
Tree lined streets
We stop and read the sign in front of one house: Built by Samuel Holden in 1886, a person who started in the wool industry in New Hampshire, served in the New Hampshire Volunteers in the Civil War, practiced law in New Hampshire, moved to Napa in 1875, and served as President of the Sawyer Tanning and Woolen Mill, Director of the Bank of Napa, Member of the Napa City Council, and President of Napa College.
Home of Mr. Samuel Holden
This has been a fun stroll through Napa, with glimpses of the modern city and some of its history.