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About St. Helena

 

The City of St. Helena is located in the center of the world famous wine growing Napa Valley, 65 miles north of San Francisco.

The area was settled in 1834 as part of General Vallejo's land grant. The City of St. Helena was incorporated as a City on March 24, 1876 and reincorporated on May 14, 1889.

The City from its inception has served as a rural agricultural center. Over the years, with the growth and development of the wine industry, the City has become an important business and banking center for the wine industry. The City also receives many visitors as a result of the wine industry and the area's scenic qualities. The main goal of the City is to maintain a small-town atmosphere and to provide quality services to its citizens.

The official population of the City of St. Helena as of 2000 is 5,950. St. Helena is a full service City and encompasses an area of 4 square miles. 

The City of St. Helena is a General Law City and operates under the Council-City Manager form of government. The City Council is the governing body and has the power to make and enforce all laws and set policy related to municipal affairs. The City Manager is responsible for carrying out the policies of the City Council and for the proper and efficient management of municipal activities. The City Manager directs and manages the various departments and municipal services through appointed Department Heads who directly supervise and administer the various City programs, services, and activities.

Nestled amid the vine-draped upvalley hills, St. Helena is the charming and welcoming heart of the Napa Valley. Winemaking began here in the 1800s, its history echoing through the gables and turrets of the Rhine House, now home to Beringer, and gracious carriage house of the region's first winery, Charles Krug. Today, the wineries in St. Helena range from powerhouses such as Sutter Home and Louis Martini to critically acclaimed small producers including Vineyard 29 and Terra Valentine Winery. Housed in the grand stone building that was once the Christian Brothers winery, the Culinary Institute of America offers superb culinary education with classes, a tasting bar and an acclaimed onsite eatery. Down highway 29, restaurants in St. Helena, including The Restaurant at Meadowood, beckon with well-deserved Michelin stars, and Chef Cindy Pawlcyn creates quintessential California cuisine at Cindy’s Backstreet KitchenSt. Helena hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts, ranging from Harvest Inn to renovated mid-century motel El Bonita, offer casually elegant hospitality  -- the perfect way to rest a full stomach and dazzled mind.

St. Helena, CA is a vibrant and engaging community that celebrates the finest in wine country hospitality, culinary adventure, wine immersion, the arts, health and wellness. Experience fine dining in our award-winning restaurants, shop for one-of-a-kind keepsakes in our boutiques and galleries or simply pamper yourself at one of our indulgent spas.

History

The local Callajomanes tribelet village was called Annakotanoma or Anakanoma and was located where Sulphur Creek meets the Napa River. The earliest white settlers in St. Helena were John York, who lived on what is now Dean York Lane, and David Hudson, whose house is still located at Beringer Winery.

 

Dr. Edward Turner Bale was a British surgeon who was appointed to General Vallejo’s California forces. When he married Maria Ygnacia Soberanes, a niece of Vallejo’s, he converted to Catholicism and became a Mexican citizen. This allowed him to receive a Mexican land grant in Napa Valley of 17, 962 acres. Bale and his wife moved to their home on Whitehall Lane in 1843 and their family grew to six children. After Dr. Bale died in 1849, his family began selling portions of their vast holdings. One such sale was recorded in 1854 when Henry Still and Charles Walters bought 126 acres from Señora Bale. Lots on the property, which lay on the west side of the county road from Sulphur Creek to the future Madrona Avenue, were given to anyone who would start a business.

There are two theories about how the town was named. One says it was after the local branch of the Sons of Temperance; another gives credit to Mount St. Helena, a prominent landmark to the north. On March 24, 1876, St. Helena was incorporated as a town and by 1886 the population was 1,800. People from many lands and walks of life continued to relocate here, all adding to the town’s complex and diverse history. [more...]


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