Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park, St. Helena

4.6
#5 of 12 in Nature in Napa Valley
Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park is a California state park located in Napa County between St. Helena and Calistoga. The park is the site of a water-powered grist mill that was built in 1846 is one of only two water-driven mills remaining west of the Mississippi River.HistoryThe mill was established in 1846 by Dr. Edward Turner Bale on property in Rancho Carne Humana land grant. Bale lived near the site until his death in 1849.The gristmill and granary were built with local materials, Douglas firs and coast redwoods. Some timbers were cut to length with the bark left on, while others were roughed out with hand tools. The timbers were notched and held in place with wooden pegs as well as nails and screws. The foundation of the structure is native stone. The mill was powered by a waterwheel, with water diverted from Mill Creek nearby. A ditch carried the water from a millpond to a wooden flume, which brought the water to the top of the waterwheel. The first wheel did not provide enough power during dry summers and was replaced by a larger one, similar to the one at the mill today.The mill was once the center of social activity as Napa Valley settlers gathered to have their corn and wheat ground into meal or flour. Farmers brought grain to the mill where it was placed into the boot of an elevator to be mechanically transported upstairs where it was cleaned by various types of equipment. The slow turning of the old grind stones and the dampness of the mill's site gave the meal a special quality for making cornbread, yellowbread, shortening bread and spoonbread. As old timers put it, "When meal comes to you that way, like the heated underside of a settin' hen, it bakes bread that makes city bread taste like cardboard."
Plan to visit Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended St. Helena attractions using our St. Helena trip maker website .
Source
Improve this listing »
Create an itinerary including Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park
map
Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
75 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Go for a guided tour and see flour being milled. The guiding is extremely detailed and you can get answers to all your questions.  more »
  • This is a very very old grist mill. It looks like the 1850's and they mill grains on weekends. there is a big wheel that turns this original mill. the people that run it dress in period times and are ...  more »
  • Stopped in because it was on our way home, nice little outdoors walk to the mill. We did not pay to go in, just took a picture from outside the fence. I guess it is only open on the weekends for $5.00...  more »
Google
  • I love this place. Best place for a picnic with a bottle of wine you just bought. The self tour of the mill is nice as well. It cannget hot in summer>
  • Wonderful, wonderful. Step back in time. Smell the old smells, and explore this fine old working grist Mill. Beautiful historic and fun place to see.
  • This was a fantastic little day trip located above Napa it is one of the oldest Mills in California if you have enough people with you they will actually fire up the Mill and give you samples we bought some polenta on the way out which I prepared at home and it was absolutely fantastic
  • This is an under-publicized gem with a still-working mill, great staff, and some hiking trails out back. This is one of the few restored mills in the western half of the country and you can even take home a souvenir of a ground grain product of your choice. We visited on a rainy Sunday in January so there were few visitors and we received a private tour and had a great chat with a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic docent. If you're into pre-statehood Californian history, definitely visit.
  • Fantastic opportunity to experience a piece of California history and pick up some less-common flours. The tour was great with a personable and knowledgeable guide. A great day-trip or stop over for anyone near St. Helena.
Places to stay near Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Plan your trip to St. Helena

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park by other users

30 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA November, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, outdoors, historic sites, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 22 days in California, Las Vegas & Grand Canyon National Park BY A USER FROM BRAZIL September, culture, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in San Francisco & New York City BY A USER FROM NEW ZEALAND May, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in United States BY A USER FROM PHILIPPINES October, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 8 days in Solvang, Napa Valley & San Francisco BY A USER FROM PHILIPPINES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA February, culture, romantic, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, romantic, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 44 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Napa Valley BY A USER FROM CANADA October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 55 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Sonoma BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in Coastal South Carolina & West Coast BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans