PLace Names 

Early historic immigrants adopted many of the existing Wappo and Patwin place names. In fact, the majority of Mexican Ranchos adopted the name of the villages they surrounded, such as Caymus, Tulucay, and Napa. The one exception is Mount St. Helena named by Russian colonists in the early 1800s before the period of mass historic migration. As the immigration population grew, naming shifted to surnames, identifying roads and towns. Yountville, Rutherford, Pope Valley, Chiles Valley, and Brown’s Valley all carry the surname of an early immigrant. As the fame of Napa Valley’s mineral waters and beauty spread, naming was used to promote these attributes. The name Calistoga is a combination of California and the renowned New York resort Saratoga

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Nathan Coombs

Intersection of Silverado Trail and Coombsville Road in Napa, Ca

The name Silverado comes from the Silverado Mine in St. Helena located at the base of Mount St. Helena.

Coombsville is named after Nathan Coombs, a former California State Representative who is best known for incorporating the town of Napa under Mexico in 1847.


Sign at the Former Yountville Train Depot in Yountville, Ca

The town of Yountville was named after George C. Yount who was one of the first American settlers of Napa County. He was awarded one of Mexico’s earliest land grants in Northern California, Rancho Caymus. Yountville sold and donated a portion of his land to what would be the earliest section of Yountville. The United States Postal Service officially renamed the town Yountville in his honor on May 14, 1867.

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Gertrude Patrick NCHS Photograph Collection

Partrick Road, Napa, Ca

Jasper N. Partrick opened his candy store in Napa in 1896 where he was known for his taffy candy. He closed his shop to pursue a career in politics and went on to become a Napa County Supervisor. His sons Earl and Roy opened Partrick’s in 1948 on Main Street in Napa and later moved locations to First Street in what is currently Anette’s Chocolates and Ice Cream. Gertrude, Earl’s wife, was well known for her floral arrangements which decorated the candy shop.

Tulocay Cemetery, Napa, Ca

Cayetano Juarez donated 48 acres of his ranch, Rancho Tulucay, to the city of Napa in 1848 upon it’s incorporation. The name Tulocay originates from the Patwin who lived in the area. Tulocay is the anglicized spelling of Tuluca or Tulukai.

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Cayetano and Roy Lolito Juarez NCHS Photograph Collection
NCHS Photograph Collection

Trubody Lane, Napa, Ca

Josiah P. Trubody and William A. Trubody lived in La Fayette County, Missouri before immigrating to California in 1847. In 1856 Josiah moved to Napa County where he began farming blackberries on his land. By 1880, the Trubody’s were shipping on average seventy to eighty tons of blackberries a year throughout the state.

Former Salvador Union School, Napa, Ca 

Salvador Vallejo was a military commander for Mexican Alta California. In 1838 Vallejo received a land grant for Rancho Napa which encompassed 22,718 acres  along present-day northern Napa to Yountville. Vallejo would go on to serve in the Civil War as the Major of the First Battalion of Native Cavalry, commissioned by Governor Leland Stanford.

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Salvador Vallejo NCHS Photograph Collection
NCHS Photograph Collection
Maria Higuera Juarez and Daughter NCHS Photograph Collection

Juarez Street, Napa, Ca.

The Juarez family was one of the pioneering families of Napa having received a land grant for Rancho Tulocay in 1840. Cayetano Juarez would go on to donate a portion of his land for the establishment of Tulocay Cemetery which is adjacent to Juarez Street. In 1845 Juarez built his second adobe home at 376 Soscol Avenue, Napa. The Cayetano Juarez Adobe still stands as the oldest building in Napa, Ca.

Darms Lane, Napa, Ca.

The Darms family moved from Wisconsin to Napa, Ca in 1883 after John Darms convinced his family to do so after a summer visit in 1882. In 1884 the Darms family bought 63 acres of land, six miles north of Napa for $9,000 (present-day location of Darms Lane). During the mid 1890s, John Darms began to plant cherries, apricots, apples, plums and French prunes on his land which he would sell at the Darms Station in San Francisco during the early 19th century. Darms also helped establish the German Evangelical Church in Napa in 1897. 



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Balthasar and Elizabeth Darms NCHS Photograph Collection
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Brannan Street, Napa, Ca

Samuel Brannan is best known for the first publications of the California Gold Rush spurring migration into the state. Brannan was also instrumental in founding of the Napa Valley Railroad and the Calistoga Hot Springs Resort. 

Bale Lane, Calistoga, Ca

Edward Turner Bale was an English physician who served as a surgeon for the Mexican Army under General Mariano Vallejo. In 1841 Bale received 17,962 acres of land which he named Rancho Carne Humana, a play on the word “Callojomanas” which was the Wappo name for the location. The Bale Grist Mill was established by the Bales in 1846 and served as a community resource for early Napa Valley settlers.

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Maria Soberanos Bale St. Helena Historical Society
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Conn Dam, St. Helena, Ca

Lake Berryessa, Napa County, Ca

Conn Dam is named after John Conn, an Irish stone mason who helped Edward Bale construct the Bale Grist Mill. Conn Damn was built in 1945 to allow for the creation of Lake Hennessy which lies within Conn Valley. Conn Creek runs through Las Posadas State Forest and empties into Lake Hennessy. 

Lake Berryessa is named after José de Jesús Berryessa and Sexto “Sisto” Berreyesa. In 1843 the two brothers received a land grant for 35,516 acres in present-day Berryessa Valley which they named Rancho Las Putahs. Most of what was Rancho Las Putah is now covered by Lake Berryessa.


Dowdell Lane, St. Helena, Ca

James Dowdell was an Irish immigrant who arrived in California during the late 1860s. Dowdell owned land in St. Helena where he grew hops and grapes, later engaging in the wine industry during its early beginnings.

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John Dowdell St. Helena Star
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Reason P. Tucker NCHS Photograph Collection

Tucker Road, St. Helena, Ca

Reason P. Tucker lived in Ohio with his family before immigrating to California in 1846 crossing the Sierra Nevada shortly before the Donner Party. Tucker is often recognized as the leader of the first Donner Party rescue effort. Tucker settled down in Napa Valley where he tried his hand in many fields such as goldmining, quicksilver mining, wheat farming and even owning part of a hot springs resort. Tucker Farm Center and Tucker Grove located near Tucker Road are also named for Reason P. Tucker.


Intersection of Chiles Avenue and Pope Street, St. Helena, Ca

Joseph B. Chiles came to Napa County from Missouri in 1841, in his first of seven trips across the county. During one of these trips Chiles brought Yount’s daughters to California. In 1844, Chiles petitioned for and was granted Rancho Catacula, 8,546 acres of land in present-day Chiles Valley. 

William “Julian” Pope and his wife Juliana Pope moved to California from New Mexico in 1835. In 1841 Pope petitioned and received a land grant for Rancho Locoallomi in present-day Pope Valley. After Pope’s death in 1843, the ownership of the rancho passed to Juliana and the Pope children.

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Joseph B. Chiles NCHS Photograph Collection
Juliana Salazar Pope Public Member Photos
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Hon. Alfred L. Tubbs Illustrated Fraternal Directory, 1889

Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, Ca.

Tubbs Lane is named after Alfred L. Tubbs a winemaker and entrepreneur most notable for founding Hillcrest Winery in Calistoga, California. Tubbs was the one of the largest producers of wine during the 1880s at one point producing 350,000 gallons of Cabernet Franc, Chasselas, Malbec, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. 

Rutherford Fire Department, St. Helena, Ca.

Thomas L. Rutherford and his wife Elizabeth Rutherford were gifted 1,040 acres from land by George Yount, who was Elizabeth’s grandfather. The land was located with Rancho Caymus.


Lawley Road, Calistoga, Ca.

Born in Franklin County, Alabama, John Lawley immigrated to Napa County in 1852. In 1854, Lawley began his grain business under the name Banner Warehouse. Lawley later became a land owner in Berryessa Valley and the principle owner of Phoenix Quicksilver Mine. The Old Lawley Toll Road in Calistoga was built by Lawley in 1866.

Napa is a Patwin/Wintu word meaning “the big town,” in reference to the Valley’s largest pre-1820 settlement. Two Mexican-era ranchos carried the name, Rancho Entre Napa and Rancho Napa.

Nappa is a hamlet in Yorkshire, England. Nathan Coombs claimed his ancestors came to Massachusetts from this area of England. When Coombs incorporated the town of Napa under Mexican law he changed the spelling of the name to “Nappa.” This was quickly changed back to the single “P” spelling.