“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Napa in Napa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Winship Building 1888

Winship Building 1888 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, February 21, 2009
1. Winship Building 1888 Marker
Inscription. When E.A. Winship arrived from Minneapolis in 1887, it became clear that he was a gentleman and that he had money to invest. In March 1888, he purchased this site for $15,000 and announced plans for a brick building. This building, designed by Luther M. Turton, is one of the most notable of its time. In quality of design and location in the heart of town, it recalls the excitement of the time and the promise that it held.

Dedicated by
Sam Brannan Chapter No. 1004
E Clampus Vitus, March 21, 1987

[Supporting plaque below reads]:
Winship Building 1985
This building was restored in 1985 by architect AIA, builder William Cocke, and developer Ging Chan. The project won a Napa Chamber of Commerce Civic Improvement Award for Historic Preservation.

Dedicated by
Sam Brannan Chapter No. 1004
E Clampus Vitus, March 21, 1987
Erected 1987 by Sam Brannan Chapter No. 1004, E Clampus Vitus.
Marker series. This marker is included in the E Clampus Vitus marker series.
Location. 38° 17.956′ N, 122° 17.11′ W. Marker is in Napa, California, in Napa County. Marker is at the intersection of First Street and Main Street, on the
Winship Building 1888 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson, May 24, 2008
2. Winship Building 1888 Marker
right when traveling east on First Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 948 Main Street, Napa CA 94559, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Semorile Building (here, next to this marker); Oberon Saloon (within shouting distance of this marker); Napa - Birthplace of the Loudspeaker and the Magnavox Corp. (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Napa's China Town / Shuck Chan (about 300 feet away); Napa Courthouse Flag Staff (about 500 feet away); Pfeiffer Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Napa Valley Railroad (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Presbyterian Church Building (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Napa.
More about this marker. The marker is on the First Street side, to the right of the First Street side door.
Also see . . .
1. It's tough to tell a Turton. The San Francisco Chronicle's article (6/7/2003) on Luther Turton and the mark he left on Napa. (Submitted on March 3, 2009.) 

2. Napa arriving -- a little at a time. A 2001 San Francisco Chronicle article on the revival of Napa, including a 2001 photograph of the Winship building depicting it prior to the restoration of its tower and original colors. (Submitted on March 3, 2009.) 
Additional comments.
Winship Building image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, February 21, 2009
3. Winship Building
Italianate, brick, constructed in 1888. Designed by noted local architect Luther Turton (1862-1925). The building originally had a clock tower, but that was removed as a safety measure in 1906 after the San Francisco earthquake. The building was recently restored to its original colors and the tower added back on.
1. Additional Information Regarding the Marker Dedication

Jim Voss was Noble Grand Humbug when these plaques were placed. Plaque wording by Loren A. Wilson.
    — Submitted April 15, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.

2. Historical and Architectural Significance
The years 1887 and 1888 were good years in Napa. They followed several disappointing years in California, during which the dramatic growth and prosperity that many people expected had not materialized. In August 1887, the local real estate market began showing signs of improvement and the local newspapers were soon predicting a boom. The demand for city property increased greatly and the diffused excitement of real estate speculators quickly focused on the common need for a new rail line to Napa. Optimism ran high and public meetings raised money for the railroad, which opened in January of 1888. A few months later, a street railway was proposed to run north and south on Main from First Street. Although it was never built, it was indicative of the hope that many people had at that time for the future of Napa. New buildings were announced all over town, including the Masonic Temple on Second Street and a number of buildings around First and Main. By the end of the year, that intersection had emerged
Detail of building cupola image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson, April 14, 2012
4. Detail of building cupola
as the busiest in town, and for the first time there were virtually no vacant spaces downtown for building. Most of the old frame buildings had been replaced by newer, larger, more ornamented, and imposing structures of iron, brick, and stone. In December 1888, the papers noted that the year had been one of the busiest for construction in Napa’s history.

One of the most notable buildings of 1888 was the Winship Building, on First Street east of Main. In the quality of design and location at the heart of the town, this building recalls the excitement of that period and the promise that it held. As the real estate market improved in the region in 1887, local agents began receiving inquires from other parts of California and the United States. One man who responded was E. A. Winship, whose arrival in Napa from Minneapolis was recorded on the front page of the Napa Reporter in December of 1887.

His social and business life were also followed by the press during the next few months, as it was clear that he was a gentleman and that he had money to invest. Within a few weeks of his arrival he had purchased a frame building on Main Street which he remodeled, crowning each of its two stick style bays with high, crested Mansard caps. In March, Winship purchased the southeast corner of First and Main for $15,000 and announced plans for construction of the new brick building on the site. Construction on the new Winship Building began in July 1888. The walls were completed by the end of September and the building was finished shortly thereafter. At the time the building was announced, the Napa Recorder wrote, “(it) will speak volumes for the enterprise of Mr. Winship whose push and faith in the future of our city is to be applauded.”

Each grouping of windows is set in a segmental hood molding that continues around the building in a string course. The quadruple window consists of two smaller windows flanking two larger ones, each with a circular head and plain spandrels. There are four bays of paired windows on First Street. The bracketed cornice was originally covered with a slate roof which has been replaced by red tile. An ornamental iron cresting was also removed.

A circular pediment in the cornice on the Main Street side contains a sunburst pattern. There was originally another pediment in the parapet above the cornice pediment, with the name of the building and the year of construction, and a flagpole rising above it. At the corner of the building is an overhanging octagonal bay, which originally carried an octagonal tower with a tall pointed slate roof that measured sixty-one feet from ground to finial. There were three bulls-eye windows in the tower, and the tower room could be entered from the roof. The tower survived the Earthquake of 1906, but was removed probably around 1910 when the iron cresting was removed and the slate cornice replaced by tile.

There were originally three stores on the ground floor, each twenty feet wide and sixty-five feet long, reaching the length of the building from Main Street. The stores were remodeled in 1918 and 1940. In 1950 a more complete remodeling covered the still existing cast iron columns and opened up the First Street side with display windows. The staircase was moved from the south side of the old middle store to the south wall of the building, and a brick wall between the middle and south store was removed to accommodate the drug store which took over the whole floor. Upstairs there were originally two suites and a single office on Main Street, three suites on First Street, and one suite in back. The hallway was lit by a skylight which also lit the ground floor through a well. Reorganizations over the years have resulted in the creation of five suites of offices and the loss of the light well to the ground floor through the addition of a room. Although the skylight is still intact, it is partially blocked by the addition.

Loren Wilson, NGH # 10—March 21, 1987
    — Submitted April 17, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.

Categories. Notable Buildings
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 3, 2009, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 940 times since then and 18 times this year. Last updated on April 15, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California. Photos:   1. submitted on March 3, 2009, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   2. submitted on April 15, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.   3. submitted on March 3, 2009, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   4. submitted on April 15, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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