Napa in Napa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Napa: A River Landing Town
The history of Napa is written along its riverfront...
Historic Commerce Along Napa River
By Barry Swackhamer, December 28, 2015
1. Napa: A River Landing Town Marker
Captions: (upper left) 19th century birds-eye view looking west at Downtown Napa, wharves, the river with Napa Creek in the background.; (bottom left) This photograph, taken looking downstream from the Third Street Bridge, shows dredging operations in the vicinity removing mud from the bottom of the river and depositing it to make higher, steeper banks. Circa 1908.; (upper right) "At that time (1854) the banks of the rather muddy river which runs through the town and is navigable to Napa from San Francisco Bay, were covered with a dense growth of alders and willows. Now (1881) wharves, tanneries and mills have taken their place, and the cleared banks of the river give it the appearance of a canal." - Briggs, 1931, First Person Narratives of CA; Scene on Napa River, circa 1910.
As other modes of transportation became more dominant, the waterfront declined. But in the 21st century, Napa has turned again to embrace the river. Much of the riverfront as been redesigned and reconstructed, while the river corridor itself has been widened to provide natural flood protection for the City.
The River is Again the Heart of Commerce
The view from where you are standing provides a vantage point into the history of Napa's riverfront. Across the river, industrial buildings have been removed and contaminated sites cleaned, clearing the way for a widened river corridor. The restored floodplains and march plains are designed to keep water flowing between its banks, freeing the City from the constant threat of flooding. One can see trees planted in 2005 as part of the Napa River/Napa Creek Flood Protection Project, returning a repairman forest to the river. Downstream to the right, remnants of the 19th century Embarcadero de Napa are still visible. Overlooking the remnants are houses in the Historic Napa Abajo District - many of these houses were built by early ship captains.
With the emergence of the Napa Valley as a distinctive wine growing region, the commerce of Napa is largely based on tourism and the wine industry.
The river is again a focal point of a community proud of its history and its river. The adjacent Napa Mill is a prime example of historic preservation of both buildings and the river heritage.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 28, 2015
2. Napa: A River Landing Town Marker
Erected by Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
Location. 38° 17.739′ N, 122° 16.964′ W. Marker is in Napa, California, in Napa County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Main Street and 5th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 500 Main Street, Napa CA 94559, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Banner Warehouse 1862 (a few steps from this marker); Hatt Building 1893 (within shouting distance of this marker); Hay Barn 1959 (within shouting distance of this marker); Silo Building 1932 (within shouting distance of this marker); Embarcadero de Napa (within shouting distance of this marker); A. Hatt Buildings 1884 & 1886 (within shouting distance of this marker); Hatt Building 1886 (within shouting distance of this marker); Ars Longa Vita Brevis (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Napa.
More about this marker. This maker is on the Riverfront Promenade.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
By Napa Chamber of Commerce
3. Napa: A River Landing Town
Credits. This page was last revised on August 12, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 7, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 205 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 7, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.