Explore California: Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park | Cal Parks

Explore California: Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Published: November 24, 2020

Just north of the City of Napa lies a historic mill where time stands still. Harken back to the early days of California’s settlement by westward-moving pioneers and learn about what life was like before the sprawling wine country region took shape. 

The mill itself was built in 1846 by Edward Turner Bale, 3 years before California was admitted into the United States. During the early settlement of Napa Valley, the mill was used as a meeting point for the community, as well as a functional grain mill for flour. Settlers around the region would come together at the mill to converse and have their grain turned into flour. 

Image courtesy of the Napa Valley Register 

Bale died in 1849 and the mill was soon taken over by his widow, Maria Soberanes, who was the niece of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. She eventually became one of the richest people in Napa Valley due to her business acumen. The mill remained active well into the early 1900s. 

Today, the mill still remains active and you can even buy flour produced there on milling days. Witness the restored wheel churn and the stones grind grain into the flour that sustained settlers for many years. 

Image from WineCountry Media via Flickr

During your visit, walk the 2-and-a-half-mile history trail and learn about the early development of the region. You can also visit Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, another fascinating park which is directly adjacent. 

Although Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park is currently closed due to the Glass Fire, take a virtual tour with Napa County Regional Parks and Open Space District and plan your future trip today!