A Warehouse of Memories
The Hatt/Napa Mill buildings are the last vestiges of a once-thriving Main Street industrial and commercial center of late 1800s and early 1900s Napa City. This historical significance has garnered the complex local landmark status and National Register of Historic Places listing. Within their walls, the Hatt/Napa Mill Buildings have been a warehouse for more than just commodities. This complex stores the histories of the lives and times of the owners, workers and community of Napa.
The first signs of Captain Albert Hatt's plans to build a new warehouse were on January 20, 1882 when the Napa County Reporter documented the sale of a block of property at Main and Fifth streets. Hatt purchased the property from Napa founder William H. Coombs for just $1. Hatt also owned a steamship in connection with the business, which he named after one of his daughters, Amelia.
When finished, the Hatt Building included a second story, complete with a skating rink. A year later, in 1885, the captain improved the rink with a new floor of tongue-and-groove planking made of White Rock maple and shipped from Chicago. Fifty pairs of new nickel-plated clamp skates were also added to the 165 pairs already available at the rink. Many Napans enjoyed frequent social events at the Hatt skating rink.
Hatt's wife, Alma, was a woman ahead of her time. In addition to being a devoted wife and mother, Alma had a career. On July 10, 1885, Alma opened her Oyster House and Restaurant. It was located on the Opera House's first floor. The Napa Register reported: "Meals $.25, served all hours of the day and night. Lunches put up for order for excursions and other parties. Wines served to order."
The Keig family purchased the Hatt/Napa Mill in 1912 and conducted a number of allied businesses. The warehouse stored and sold hay, grains, seeds, coal and feeds, and an egg candling business was run in the back portion of the mill. Prior to 1940, all the feed ingredients were stored in sacks and employees had to mix the feed by hand. Then in the 1940s, the Kegs added the silos to the mill.
After more than a decade of efforts, the Napa Mill is on the threshold of a new beginning as the "Napa River Inn" and the "Hatt Market."
Excerpts from Rebecca A. Yerger's "A WAREHOUSE OF HISTORY AND MEMORIES - A Historical Sketch of the Hatt/Napa Mill" were used in this chronology. All rights are reserved by Rebecca Yerger and Napa Mill LLC.