Our beloved Vintners Collective building’s history has been wonderfully rich from it’s start in 1875. We are lucky to spend our days in a National Landmark!
It all started in 1861when the Bavarian Philip Pfeiffer bought a piece of land at the corner of Clinton and Main streets. By 1875 he had built a small stone building on it, for use as a brewery. When Pfeiffer’s brewery hit hard times, he sold it to Gotthelp Barth in 1879. Barth built up the area around the building, increasing the brewery’s production and size. Unfortunately, in 1881 a fire burned all of the new construction to the ground, and the lone building fell back into the hands of Philip Pfeiffer.
Pfeiffer started over, calling his new business at 123 Main Street the Stone Saloon, which at the time was at the heart of Napa’s red light district. The Stone Saloon had several small rooms on the second floor, which operated as a brothel. Madame May Howard is said to have moved her business here, where she ran a prestigious and upscale establishment, catering to bankers, ranch owners and other professionals. In 1905, more than 20 bordellos lined both sides of Clinton Street.
Between 1918 and 1937, the building housed different businesses— It was an Italian grocery, a home, the Fred Peper Saloon, and the Betterchix Hatchery. And it’s street address was changed from 123 to 1245. Long-time Napa residents know our building as the Sam Kee Laundry, which operated here from 1937 to 1977. From 1980 to 2000 it was the Andrew’s Meat Co., and since 2002 it has housed Vintner’s Collective.
To read more:
Bawdy babes and brothels in Napa's infamous red light-district (Napa Valley Register)
At Clinton and Main, a building that has seen the transformation of Napa (Napa Valley Register)