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The Bale Grist Mill at Bothe Napa Valley State Park

The Bale Grist Mill is located on Highway 29 between St. Helena and Calistoga. The mill, built in 1846, was once the economic engine of the Napa Valley. It is still in operation today.

Tom Stockwell, Star

If you love the historic water-powered Bale Grist Mill and you’d like to share its history with the public, the Napa Valley State Parks Association is recruiting two or more paid millers.

The recruitment orientation will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the Bale Grist Mill State Park, 3369 St. Helena Highway, between St. Helena and Calistoga.

If you are interested in attending the orientation or have questions about the position, email Sandy Jones at or call the mill on the weekends, 963-2236.

Jones explains what it takes to be a miller: It “entails the desire to share our history and keep it growing by learning and understanding the mechanics of a water-powered mill. You’ll learn the history, work the mill and share both with the public on weekends.”

Additionally, successful millers will be able to lift 50 pounds, have basic mechanical skills, a real interest in interpreting history to the public and a cheerful willingness to help keep the work area and mill clean and functioning.

The millers will work some weekends throughout the year and some weekdays. The position can work up to 1,000 hours per fiscal year, approximately eight to 24 hours per week, but no more than 29 hours per week. There are also opportunities to work during the week as mill tours and demonstrations are arranged by reservation with K-12 school and adult groups.

The Bale Grist Mill was built in 1846 by Dr. Edward Turner Bale on property in the Rancho Carne Humana land grant, and the old mill is still in operation today 171 years later. It’s a place where pioneers came to have their bags of grain milled into flour, which is how the building became an early community center for farmers. It was also here, according to a plaque on the wall of the threshing room, that settlers began conspiring to overthrow the Mexican government leading up to the Bear Flag Revolt in 1846.

The Bale Grist Mill is operated by the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District along with the Napa Valley State Parks Association. Admission at the Bale Grist Mill is $5 for adults, $2 for kids 6-12, and free for children younger than 6.