Antique postcards reveal the charm of old Napa

2013-03-04T21:30:00Z 2013-03-06T23:05:23Z Antique postcards reveal the charm of old NapaSOROUSH ‘MIKE’ MOSTAFANEJAD Napa Valley Register
March 04, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

When I was 19 years of age, I had a basic certificate in engineering from a college in Devon, England, but was not interested in pursuing further studies in engineering.

I had written a letter of inquiry to my uncle, a surgeon in Los Angeles, and asked about the American colleges. In a matter of weeks he had sent me a ticket to Los Angeles and an application from a college in a town I had never heard of, Napa. My uncle had been one of the first foreign students to attend Napa Junior College in about 1950 and had married a Napa girl when he left for L.A. to study medicine.

What I knew of America was what I saw in the movies or on TV. In my mind I had imagined Napa to be either orange groves, cowboys or tall buildings.

I arrived in Napa late on an August evening in 1967 on a Greyhound bus. My uncle’s mother-in-law picked me up from the bus station, which in those days was on Third Street almost kitty-corner from the old Conner Hotel (now Veterans Memorial Park).

My uncle’s mother-in-law lived 5 miles north of the city. The next morning she asked what my plans were for the day and I stated that I wanted to explore the city. To my amazement, she replied that that would take me about 15 minutes.

I told her she was being modest and she gave me a ride to downtown. It took me about 15 minutes to walk along First and Main streets. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing pool at a pool hall across from the sheriff’s office and waited out the summer heat inside the Uptown Theatre.

With the exception of one year in San Francisco, I remained in Napa for approximately 37 years, and studied at Napa College as well as Sonoma and San Francisco state universities. My profession was that of special educator in the departments of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Corrections.

My wife and I raised our two boys in Napa and they are both Napa High School graduates. Since I had always had to move as a child, I wanted to make sure my family had a community to call their own.

I began my antique postcard collection because of my interest in photography and in order to learn more about the history of Napa and share this with my boys. I do not collect for investment, but rather for the variety and the history. My favorite cards are those that show buildings, people and transportation.

I left Napa for Fair Oaks in late 2003 and now pursue my interests in photography in the Gold Country. I am vice president of the Gold Country Artists Gallery in Placerville and associate with other artists and galleries in the Sacramento area.

Copyright 2016 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. concerned in napa
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    concerned in napa - March 05, 2013 8:15 am
    Great images that help us connect with our past! There was an excellent book written specifically about Napa Valley postcards by local author Todd Shulman wrote a few years back, for Arcadia Publishing. The book is titled "Napa County (Postcard History) & is available on Amazon in print or e-book format.
  2. Peggy J
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    Peggy J - March 05, 2013 9:48 am
    thank you for your pictures and the wonderful story
  3. QofV63baby
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    QofV63baby - March 05, 2013 5:19 pm
    Great stuff Mr. M! I was around in the 60's and am fortunate enough to be a third generation Napkin that got to hear about the many things that took place in or around many of those places. Napa was a great little town!
  4. napa1957
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    napa1957 - March 05, 2013 5:34 pm
    I don't think I have ever saved an article or page (ok...maybe when one of my kids or grandkids had a writeup) to my Favorites...but this one went there immediately! I could look at these photos over and over. I've been a Napan since 1957, but my husband (at Parks Victory)and his mother, aunts, uncles etc. were all born here (at home on Second St.) so the history of Napa really "sings" to me. Thank you so much, Mike, for sharing!
  5. tomo
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    tomo - March 11, 2013 10:56 pm
    How can you be a real Napan and call yourself a napkin? Yes, I am a snob about that one.
  6. tomo
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    tomo - March 11, 2013 10:57 pm
    I was born at Parks Victory on a dark and stormy night in November of 1953.
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