ContentsPutah and Cache: Lake Berryessa

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March of Empire, Chapter XVI

Mrs. Mallie Stafford, 1884

A few weeks spent in patient search for a location for a home, and at last Berryessa Valley, in Napa County, was selected. Here we arrived on the 2d of January, 1870 . . . .

There are long lines of fences—vast fields of grain and corn—homes of wealth, beauty and refinement-and herds of cattle and horses and flocks of sheep feed on the green hill pasture. For miles the valley is level as a floor, without hill or hollow, and save the numerous 'weeping oaks,' presents an open scene of beauty and prosperity. Through its entire length flows a crystal stream, and in its centre is the quaint and pretty village of Monticello. For a period of ten years this beautiful valley was our home.

It was midsummer—the early morning cool and balmy—and in company with a small party of friends with capacious vehicle and camping outfit, we were intent on a protracted journey for the purpose of visiting friends in the neighboring county. Down the cañon, which is the natural outlet of Berryessa Valley, we made good time. The morning air was laden with the delicious perfume of wild grape blooms, wild roses, and the flashing waters of the crystal stream of Putah. On either side, the mountains, grand and imposing, reared their peak-like battlements. A ride of a few miles brought us to the Devil's Gate, a ponderous mass of boulders, between which the old road of Putah Canon formerly ran. A sulphur spring in the vicinity, from which we drank, and which, when coupled with the Satanic title of the gate, was strongly suggestive of a very hot climate and things not pleasant to contemplate. Here is the dividing line of Napa and Yolo counties. It is written in large, white letters on the black face of the rock, and at the right, a corner of Solano county juts out in a huge mass of mountainous rock.

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Monticello Dam
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Upper Putah Creek