Bale Grist Mill


brochure Bale Grist Mill - Brochure

Brochure of Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park (SHP) in California. Published by California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Our Mission Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Families gathered at the mill to have their grain ground into flour while they socialized and caught up on the news from around California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (707) 963-2236. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369. (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service Discover the many states of California.™ Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park 3315 St. Helena Highway St. Helena, CA 94574 Mail to: 3801 St. Helena Hwy. Calistoga 94515 • (707) 963-2236 © 2015 California State Parks the valley. T he Bale Grist Mill played an important role in the settlement of the Napa Valley in the mid- to late 1800s. The mill is a significant part of California history. Wheat, corn, oats, and barley were the main cash crops for farmers in the Napa Valley. Farmers brought their grain to the mill to be ground and bagged. Today, the mill is still operational, milling grains into flour and meal. The mill demonstrates its pioneering role in industrialization during the 19th century. PARK HISTORY Native People From about 6,000 BCE, the Koliholmanok (“woods people”) lived within the area now known as Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Their tribe’s central area, now the upper Corn grinding demonstration Napa Valley, was called Mutistul. These hunter-gatherers made fine obsidian tools — knives, scrapers, arrow and spear points — as well as intricate baskets and ceremonial objects. When Spanish settlers arrived in this area of Alta California, it is believed that they called the native people guapo for their bravery, daring, and good looks; the native people eventually became known as the Wappo. Mexican land grantees and gold seekers upset the Wappo balance of life, introducing such diseases as smallpox that devastated the Wappo population. By 1855, nearly 20 years after Missouri fur trapper George C. Yount planted the area’s first grapevines, only a fraction of the Wappo people remained. Wappo descendants in Napa and Sonoma counties continue to practice and honor their ancestral traditions. Early Pioneers Edward Turner Bale was an English citizen who came to Monterey, the capital of Alta California in the 1830s. On March 21, 1839, Bale married into the prominent family of General Mariano G. Vallejo, commandant of the Mexican army. His bride, Maria Soberanes, was the niece of brothers Mariano and Salvador Vallejo. General Vallejo appointed Bale as surgeon-in-chief of the Northern Mexican army in 1840, and Bale applied for Mexican citizenship. The following year, Governor Juan B. Alvarado granted Edward Bale four leagues of land in upper Napa Valley. More than 17,000 acres in Wappo territory were given to Bale; they encompass today’s Calistoga and St. Helena. Bale’s land grant, issued in 1841, was known by various spellings and names. Perhaps referring to the Koliholmanok Dr. Edward T. Bale, ca. 1845 native people, Bale called his rancho Colofolmana; others referred to it as Caligolmana and Huilac Nama. The grant’s official recorded name (ratified in 1845) was Rancho Carne Humana, a Spanish term translating to “human flesh.” The reason for the name has been lost. The Bales built an adobe home off what is now known as Whitehall Lane in St. Helena. Edward Bale commissioned Ralph Kilburn to build a sawmill near the Napa River. Bale also had a small, animalpowered grist mill built for neighbors to grind the grains they grew. In 1843, Bale contracted to build a larger grist mill, paying the builders with portions of his rancho land or selling off parcels to pay debts. The new mill’s water came from Mill Creek, through a ditch system with a wooden flume. The water powered a 20-foot waterwheel that turned locally quarried milling stones. In 1848, Bale left to find a lucky strike in the gold fields. He returned ill the following year, and died in October of 1849. His young wife was left with six children and huge debts, liens, and mortgages against Bale’s property. In 1941 the Native Sons deeded the mill to the Napa County Historical Society, which hired caretakers to live in the granary  —  converting the interior into a Maria Soberanes Bale house. In the 1970s, California State The census of 1850 recorded Parks acquired the property and that 27-year-old widow Bale began a major restoration project had only 1,500 acres of with funding from the California unimproved land and 50 State Parks Foundation. The improved acres left of mill was registered in the more than 17,000 acres National Register of Historic granted to her husband Places in 1972. In 1974, it less than a decade earlier. became a California State Maria Bale contracted for Historic Park. improvements to the sawmill The mill was restored to and the grist mill. She hired operating condition and milled its Leonard Lillie to expand the first grain in 1988. Beginning in 2005, grist mill, building and installing Maria Soberanes volunteers and California State Parks the larger 36-foot waterwheel in joined forces to restore the grainBale, ca. 1870 place today. cleaning and sifting machinery. The final Resourceful Maria Bale managed to phase was completed through a Proposition pay off her husband’s debts and hold on 84 volunteer-enhancement grant. to portions of Rancho Carne Humana as bequests to her children. She remarried, NATURAL HISTORY and the mill was sold by her daughter, The upper Napa Valley enjoys a mild Isadora Bruck, in 1860. Mediterranean climate. Average highs in A succession of owners then ran the July and August hover below 90° while Hollyleaf mill, installing a steam engine to power winter lows can dip below 40°. cherry the mill in times of drought. The mill was The layers of volcanic rocks under purchased by Reverend Theodore Lyman the mill have accumulated over the in 1871. He installed a water-powered last three to five million turbine to replace the waterwheel. Mill years. Near the path to operations finally ceased in 1905. the mill grows a venerable Lyman’s family donated the mill to hollyleaf cherry tree the Native Sons of the Golden West in (Prunus ilicifolia), a 1923. The Napa County parlor kept the native species used by mill grounds cleaned up and repaired local Wappo for food and portions of the buildings. medicine. Coast redwoods, tan oak, Douglas-fir, and madrone grow nearby. Wildlife The pileated woodpecker rat-a-tats loudly on hardwood trees. Watch out for rattlesnakes and big banana slugs on the trail. Many creatures are nocturnal, so bats, mountain lions, coyotes, raccoons, and bobcats are rarely seen. Pileated THE AUTOMATED MILL woodpecker Inventor Oliver Evans (1755-1819) was granted the United States’ third patent for his automated flour mill in 1790. President George Washington reviewed and signed Evans’ patent application; the President later installed the system in his own grist mill at Mount Vernon. Evans’ invention was one of the first to address an entire production process, forerunner of the automated mill. The Bale mill uses the Evans system of cup elevators and screw conveyors that require little human labor. The miller controls the waterwheel and millstone speeds, but little manual effort is needed to transport product through the mill. The Wheel’s Operation This historic wooden overshot waterwheel —  one of the largest in North Corn in the hopper Millstones and first floor of mill Weighing the milled flour Organic milled grains America —  and its iron hub were installed by Leonard Lillie in 1851. The flume has about 500 to 600 gallons of water flow through it and over the wheel every minute. The miller controls the water flow onto the wheel with a control arm that raises or lowers a head gate on the end of the flume. The water’s weight makes the wheel turn about 2.5 revolutions per minute, generating about 40 horsepower. A series of four gears increases the speed of the turning millstones. Millstones The actual milling of the grain takes place between two heavy horizontal quartzite French Buhr millstones. As the top stone turns, powered by the waterwheel and gearing, grain feeds from the hopper and shoe above the millstones into the center (eye) of the top millstone. Grain flows between the runner stone and the stationary bottom bedstone; the grain is then ground into meal or flour. Millstone dressers periodically handsharpen the cuts and grooves on the faces of the 42" stones. Interpretive Exhibits Displays in the mill and granary interpret the mill’s heyday period with historic millstones, tools, and implements used in the late 1800s. The park is open for day use only, with a small admission fee. To schedule school or other group tours or for information on holding events at the mill, email For park hours and information on such events as Harvest Dinners or Old Mill Days, visit the park website at The granary has exhibits and interpretive items for sale, supporting maintenance and operation of the mill. Two-pound souvenir bags of many types of organic flour or cornmeal (bread flour, pastry flour, cornmeal, polenta, spelt, oats, barley, and rye) are available for a small donation. RECREATION The 1.1-mile History Trail leads from the Bale Mill to the Pioneer Cemetery and into the picnic area at adjoining Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES The accessible paved path to the mill from the parking lot is inclined. Call (707) 963-2236 on weekends for gate access to accessible parking at the mill. The granary and first floor of the mill are accessible. The second floor mill exhibits are reached by steps. An assistive listening device and an illustrated booklet are available to those who cannot climb the stairs. Accessibility is continually improving. For updates, visit or call the park. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Bothe-Napa Valley State Park 3801 St. Helena Highway Calistoga 94515 (707) 942-4575 • Robert Louis Stevenson State Park (day-use hiking only; no dogs) 12 miles north on Highway 29 (707) 942-4575 0' 40 to Pioneer Cemetery Cree k T G R IS BALE L SHP M IL Ac ces Mill r y Tr ail sT rail Hi s t o Mill Pond Trail P R I V AT E P R O P E RT Y B ot h e -Nap 29 P R I V AT E P R O P E R T Y a Da y -U PLEASE REMEMBER • All natural and cultural features, including down wood, are protected by law and may not be removed or disturbed. • Except for service animals, dogs are not allowed on trails or in the mill. • Watch out for poison oak. Contact (even when dormant) can cause a severe rash. “Leaves of three  — let them be!” Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park BALE GRIST MILL se E nt r a 0 n ce R oa 0 BOTHE-NAPA VALLEY STATE PARK d 200 100 50 25 to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park S TAT E H I S T O R I C PA R K 400 Feet 100 Meters B O T H E - N A PA VA L L E Y S TAT E PA R K Park Entrance 29 Legend Major Road Paved Road Flume to Mill Pond and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park Trail: Hike Paved Path Bale Grist Mill History Trail Parking Area 16 29 Hollyleaf Cherry Tree Bridge to Middletown 0 5 0 Locked Gate 10 Miles 10 Lake Berryessa 20 Kilometers Main Entrance Robert Louis Stevenson SP 128 29 Santa Rosa St. Helena Bale Grist Mill SHP 29 Picnic Area © 2015 California State Parks B O T H E - N A P A VA L L E Y S TAT E PA R K 128 Mil l Cre ek Sugarloaf Ridge SP 12 Park Building State Park Service Road Calistoga Bothe-Napa Valley SP Parking Granary Annadel SP 101 116 29 Jack London SHP 121 12 Sonoma SHP Petaluma Petaluma Adobe SHP to Vallejo Napa 221 0 0 40 Feet 20 5 10 Meters This park is operated by and receives support from the nonprofit Napa Valley State Parks Association. For more information, contact NVSPA at to Napa

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