National Register of Historic Places in Contra Costa County

National Register #78000658: Winehaven in Richmond 16 May 2006
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National Register #78000658
Winehaven Historic District
Western Drive
Built 1907

Winehaven held the title of "world's largest winery" from 1907 when it was built until 1919 when it was shut down by the Volstead Act, never to reopen as a winery.

After the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire left the city in ruins, the California Wine Association moved to Point Molate, a promontory on the east shore of San Pablo Bay, and began construction of Winehaven. At the peak of the season, as many as 400 workers lived here, as all of the California Wine Association's shipments to foreign, coastal and New York markets sailed from the Winehaven dock.

The winery was shut down by Prohibition in 1919; and the company sold off its assets to avoid bankruptcy. Winehaven went mostly unused from about 1920 until the late 1930s.

The Navy bought the site in 1941 and converted it into a Naval Fuel Depot. Thousands of drums of fuel were stored in huge buildings. The old Winehaven Hotel was pressed into service as barracks and mess hall The workers' houses were renovated for the use of naval personnel. The Commanding Officer was assigned the largest house on the bluff overlooking the others, which previously had been the home of the winery superintendent.

Despite the switch from wine to fuel, the historic district remains virtually unaltered from its days as a winery.

Thirty-five buildings, constructed between 1907 and 1919, contribute to the historic district. Among these are:

  • the Winehaven Building with crenellated parapet and corner turrets
  • the Winemaster's House (Building 60), which became the Commanding Officer's residence
  • a row of turn-of-the-century cottages used to house Winehaven and military families

The Navy continued to operate the fuel depot during the Korean War and Vietnam War until it was decommissioned in 1995.

Adapted from Wikipedia.

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