Wine, Dine, and Trivia

Last night NCHS hosted our second Winemakers Dinner at Napkins Bar & Grill, featuring four exquisite wines from Buoncristiani Family Winery. Besides all the wine tasting, delicious foods, and good times, we played a hearty game of “Stump the Librarian.” Guests wrote questions about Napa history on note cards, and I, your friendly neighborhood Research Librarian, had to try to answer them.

Three questions are still unresolved, but if you think you have an answer, let us know!

“What was General Mariano Vallejo’s daughter’s name?”
Vallejo had 16 children with his wife, Francisca Benicia Carrillo, 10 of whom survived to adulthood: Andronico Antonio, Epifania de Guadalupe, Adelayda, Natalia Veneranda, Platon Mariano Guadalupe, Jovita Francisca, Benicia, Napoleon Primo, Luisa Eugenia, and Maria Ignacia.


“What was the family name of the Italian immigrants that married into the Vallerga family that was listed on an outside Copia plaque?”
The Massa family.


“What happened to the old photos that are/were in the courthouse?”
We don’t the official word, but it’s likely that if they weren’t damaged then they were probably placed in storage.


“Is the Post Office building being saved?”
The USPS is still evaluating the Franklin Station Post Office. It suffered extensive damage, and their experts are looking into how to undertake repairs and what it might cost. There is no official word on the status of the building, but the USPS has expressed interest in saving it.


“Is there anything left of the Sawyer Tannery? If so, where is it?”
Yes! Much of it remains. Several structures, outbuildings, processing buildings, and warehouses are still standing on Coombs Street just north of where it intersects with Imola Avenue. The water tower that you can see from just about everywhere in South Napa is from Sawyer Tanning Company.


“Where did the Moonies reside?”
They owned and resided in the Aetna Springs Resort property as their religious enclave in the late 20th century.


“What was the name of the undertaker who ran his business in the building now filled with Cole’s Chop House?”
D.S. Kyser owned and operated Kyser’s Furniture and Undertaker in the Kyser Building.


“During WWII, what happened to the Japanese living in Napa? Were there many? Where were they interned? What happened to their land?”
Napa County had many Japanese families, with most living in unincorporated territory and the Carneros region on farms and ranches. Japanese Americans made up a large part of California’s agricultural producers in the early 1940s, and many living in Napa were part of the same trend. It is believed that most from Napa were sent to Granada War Relocation Center (aka Camp Amache), as most of its occupants were from the Central Valley, southwest Los Angeles, and the north coast. Japanese Americans sent to the camps were only allowed to bring one bag of personal belongings. What they couldn’t sell before being forcibly relocated, they had to abandon. Valuable farmland was often sold off by the US Farm Security Administration with the help of the California Evacuated Farms Association, and urban real estate rarely stayed on the market very long. The Japanese Americans never received any of the profits of the sale, nor were given back their land when they returned. In San Francisco’s Japantown, thousands of African Americans who had arrived seeking wartime employment settled in the newly vacant neighborhood.

NCHS recently received a large collection of correspondence and ephemera relating to Paul Fullert and his family that sheds some light on what life was like in the internment camp. The Fullerts were a half German, half Japanese family living in Napa who were sent to Camp Amache during the war.


“Is it true that when California was divided into counties, Napa County was quite larger? Which adjacent county was made from this split?”
Napa originally contained parts of what is today Lake County (Lake was formed from sections of Napa and Mendocino Counties). The counties split in 1861.


“What electrical component that all of us use everyday was invented in Napa?”
Hmm…is it something to do with the Magnavox Loudspeaker?


“Who were the family that served Italian food at the Old Adobe Hut in the 50s?”


“Why is Blood Alley in St. Helena (behind Hudson Avenue near Spottswoode) called Blood Alley?”