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Old Adobe

Some of the original mud walls are seen on the Old Adobe which is being retrofitted and remodeled by Justin Altamura.

Napa’s oldest building undergoes renovation

Napans Cayetano Juarez and Justin Altamura lived centuries apart in a city that has changed exponentially. But there’s one thing that tie the two men together — a house built out of adobe mud bricks some 171 years ago.

Juarez was the first, and original, owner Napa’s Old Adobe, the city’s oldest remaining structure.

Altamura is the newest.

He’s currently overseeing a retrofit and renovation of the building, one of the most significant improvements to the structure in many, many decades.

The adobe brick building at what is now 376 Soscol Ave. was reportedly constructed in 1845 during the Mexican Colonial period.

Mexican army soldier Don Cayetano Juarez owned some 88,865 acres of land around the adobe. Using labor from Native Americans, he built the mud-walled home for his family, along with other structures that didn’t survive.

In later years, Juarez provided 48 acres of this land to establish the Tulocay Cemetery and 192 acres to build the then Napa State Asylum. He and his 11 children called the adobe home for many years. In the 1920s, it was converted to a bar and road house.

The current tenant is the Taste of the Himalayas restaurant which is closed during the remodel.

Today, the Old Adobe is in dire straits.

It needs earthquake retrofitting. The original mud bricks have deteriorated. Appendages and outbuildings were built on top of and around it along with incongruous wooden siding.

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