1228 Spring Street
St. Helena has many historical buildings that are not in the Main Street Commercial District. Some of them have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some are just old buildings with a unique history.
This tour will help you explore St. Helena’s side streets on both the west side and east side of Main Street. Discover our historic churches, hotels, social halls, saloons, schools, libraries, and post office. Learn about our historic railroad and warehouse district.
The William Tell Hotel is a unique example of 19th century false front commercial architecture in Napa County. It illustrates not only the false fronts of the 1870’s, but also the uncommon stone double wall construction (without mortar) that predates the stone masonry of the 1880’s and 1890’s seen on St. Helena’s Main Street.
The original building appears to have been built in 3 sections with the earliest on the south side with the fieldstone double wall cellar. The northern section was the bar. Bernard Tosetti was the proprietor of the William Tell Saloon in 1876. Siding is shiplap as is the false front that conceals the fact that the southern section was an independent building to which the others were attached. In 1883, Battista Salmina built a 2-story addition with a dining room below and 20 sleeping rooms above. In the early 1900’s, Walter Martini ran the hotel when it was a popular eating place. The original first floor has been modified and the façade has been stuccoed. The second story is still intact. A story of 1916 tells of a bar patron who fell out a second story window after a night of revelry. He was found in the morning by a passerby and had survived the incident.
In 1946, the Keig family converted the building to a feed store, Napa Milling Co., and added the sheet metal extension to the rear. The building now houses several offices and businesses.