The Susanne Salvestrin Lecture Series

Lecture #1: Napa: County of Stone Bridges

We’re excited to be kicking off 2022 and the Susanne Salvestrin Lecture Series with a presentation on Napa: County of Stone Bridges. Most of St. Helena's stone bridges built after the mid-1890s were replacements for old wooden spans. The stone bridges were notable for their low cost to build and maintain.

Immigrants brought their skills to their new home

Not surprisingly, it was an immigrant and famous stone builder, Scotsman Robert H. Pithie, who introduced the stone bridges to the Napa Valley. Pithie collaborated with another group of skilled immigrants, Italian stone masons, to build the Pope Street Bridge.

When: January 19 @ 7:30pm

Where: Zoom:

Meeting ID: 818 2534 2244/
Passcode: 771540

Presented by: Mariam Hansen, SHHS Research Director

The Historical Society's popular lectures are now held in our Heritage Center, 1255 Oak Avenue

Previous programs include:

  • Tony Quinn discussed the influence of the Italian-Swiss winemakers on the St. Helena area.
  • Clint McKay talked about the Native American influence in Napa Valley.
  • Historian Jay Greene explored how purposes of governance change because of actions resulting from major shifts in political, social, and religious ideas and beliefs. He wove a historical tapestry based on the successes and failures of the American, French, Russian Revolutions and the Spanish Civil War.
  • Historian and painter Lin Weber presented a talk and slideshow on several local notable women who influenced the development of Napa Valley and, sometimes, the world.
  • Pacific Legacy archaeologists described their findings from an extensive archaeological dig near the confluence of the Napa River and Sulphur Creek done as part of the Napa Valley Flood Control Project.
  • Todd Shulman, Napa detective and founder of the Napa Police Historical Society, presented “Murder & Mayhem in the Napa Valley,”a slide show and lecture about researching the frontier justice, lawlessness and cold cases that still haunt the Napa Valley.

Watch Our Lectures on the SHHS YouTube Channel

We have a new YouTube channel where you can watch many of the 2021 lectures from our Susanne Salvestrin Memorial Lecture Series. Watch videos on the Mexican Land Grants, the Bale grist mill, Chinese immigrants in Napa County and Italian-Swiss immigrants. Open a browser and key in "St. Helena Historical Society Lecture Series". To subscribe, you'll need to create an account, sign in and click on the "Subscribe" button.

SHHS Building Pope St. Bridge
SHHS Pope St Bridge 1907
The Pope Street Bridge 1907

Spirits of St. Helena Discovery Cemetery Walk

Annual Spirits of St. Helena Cemetery Tour

Vive le Vin: French Winemakers at St. Helena Cemetery, September 2019

  • Our guided walks through the cemetery begin at 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm
  • Feature actors from St. Helena High School Drama Department
  • Each tour visits selected grave sites

“This event paid homage to the French who brought their culture to St. Helena more than 150 years ago. Winemakers on the tour included Jean BrunAdrien ChaixHenry PelletGermain Crochatplus others who made a difference but were long forgotten,” explained Mariam Hansen, Research Director for the St. Helena Historical Society. Participants learned life in St. Helena and the contributions of these immigrants to the development of St. Helena.

2019 marked 163 years since the first burial at St. Helena Cemetery. Our annual Spirits of St. Helena Cemetery Tour celebrates the listing of St. Helena Public Cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places.

Jean Brun - French winemaker in St. Helena

Jean Brun, one of several French and Swiss winemakers who brought their culture to St. Helena over 150 years ago.



St. Helena High drama students re-enact history in several scenes at the 2018 Cemetery Walk.
Our 2019 poster features an image of Emma Roxanne Davis, from the Money family.
Each year's Museum for Day event gives us a glimpse into a different aspect of of St. Helena history.

Museum for a Day

Founding Families of Napa Valley

There are many multigenerational families that live in St. Helena. They are born here, grow up, marry and come back to raise their families right here in St Helena. In 2019, the Bedolla, Lincoln, MacDonald, McCormick, and Money families shared their family’s stories with us.

These are the histories of the Bedolla, Lincoln, MacDonald, McCormick, and Money families.

In 2017, the biannual event honored Hispanic families who have shaped the culture and history of St. Helena. Besides the family displays, attendees were entertained by Ballet Zenoalxochiti dancers and the Gastelum Family Band.

"Gleaners" by Christine Olivo, to be auctioned at the event.

St. Helena Historical Society’s third annual History Becomes Art fundraiser was a tremendous success, thanks to artist participation and turnout from our community.

What: Original Art Auction with Devon Bell

When: A Saturday afternoon in March 2019, from 1:00-4:00

Where: The Gallery at Brasswood Estate

What made this event special: Artisan hors d’oeuvres , live music, Local wine from Brasswood and other vintners

Help us raise funds to establish a permanent home for our collection. With such a facility, the public will be able to learn about the history of our area and enjoy some of the amazing historical artifacts that have been so generously donated to us over SHHS' 20 years.