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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Napa, California History Revisited - Part 1

My historical interest in Napa, California, lives very much in me.  I seek my family line but also find Napa's past quite interesting.  It's not all about wine but that does play a large role in the history of the Napa Valley.  Recently, I borrowed a book that my mom bought at Costco entitled "Images of Amercia, Napa".  You can find these books all over the place for various locations.  This book was essentially written by The Napa Valley Museum and Lin Weber.  It is very well written.  Does it include the history that I seek?  Maybe....I'm about to find out.  The following posts will include my notes from the book.

The original occupants of Napa came there about 6,000 years ago.  The group of Native Americans, who are known to the Napa Valley as the original occupants, were the Wappo Indians.  I must pause here to question if it is ok to refer to Native Americans as Indians in this day and age.  The answer that I have is "yes".  My husband has worked and works for two Indian tribes in California.  They do refer to themselves as Indians - Piaute and Wintun Indians.  They do have more formal names as sovereign nations.  California has many Indian reservations but I have not found any in the Napa Valley.

Back to Napa........The Wintun Indians were in Napa also.  In fact, they pushed the Wappo's to the northern part of the valley while they took the southern part of the valley.  The tides turned when the Mexican government (newly formed by Spanish dessenters) came to the area in 1823.  The Wintun occupied the area that Mexico claimed in the southern part of Napa and Sonoma Vallies.  While the Wintun and Wappo's were forcibly removed from the land in certain areas, their real enemy was the disease that came with these Europeans.

I've been to the museum in Yountville, California, next to the Veterans Home.  At the time and maybe even now, they have exhibits of Indian relics on exhibition.  I need to venture back to the Napa Valley Museum soon located at 55 Presidents Circle, Yountville, California.  Maybe I'll stop for a taste of bubbly at Domaine Chandon and take in the picturesque view of the Veterans Home against the back drop of rolling hills and vineyards.  You can trust that place is not your typical Veterans Home.  Many people live there, enjoy it, and the food is apparently quite wonderful.  Isn't that what you'd expect from the Napa Valley?  Of course, you've got to be a veteran to live there though. 

Take a peek at the photo gallery on their site:

Veterans Home Yountville, CA

To be continued...........

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