On the afternoon of June 9, 2015, a fire kicked up in Pope Valley. It raged on the hill above and around the Henry Haus Blacksmith Shop, a historic building owned by Napa County Historical Society. Thankfully Brad Kirkpatrick, a former Pope Valley Fire Chief, put the fire out quickly before it spread too far. According to Brad, the brush fire broke out in the area surrounding the buildings on the south side of the Pope Valley crossroads and was caused by a downed electrical wire.
Brad managed to stop it within about a foot or so of the blacksmith shop, which is completely undamaged. We all owe a big debt to Brad for risking his life and limb to extinguish the fire. All told, the fire burned through 35 acres of dry brush and rural landscape.
The blacksmith shop was built by Henry Haus, a Swiss immigrant who settled in Pope Valley in 1889. He opened the shop in 1897 (seven years after building the structure) and operated it until 1950. His son, Herman, took over the shop after that, and although it closed in 1955, he kept it in good condition until his death in 1988. Herman gave the property as a bequest to NCHS, and we have been taking care of it ever since.
Click here to see some historic photos of Pope Valley.
Below, check out some photos of the aftermath of the fire to see just how close it came to the shop.