Church History

At that time, Napa City was divided into two sections: Lower and Upper Napa with Division Street as the dividing line. Randolph Street ended at Division and beyond it to the south it was called Washington Street. The church decided that the original building was too small and that not only a new parsonage was required but a new church building as well. Several African American families were attending the Methodist church and decided to organize the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. They bought the old church and moved it one block south onto Washington Street (now Randolph) near Oak. Recent research has discovered that the lot they purchased is now the site of a house built in the 1920s at 519 Randolph St. Two bird’s eye view maps, one dated 1871 and the other believed to be early 1880s, show a small church building in that location labeled Colored M. E. Church. The History of Napa and Lake Counties, published in 1881, mentions that “They never had any regular pastor, and now the building is the abode of bats and mice, being entirely dilapidated.” A Sanborn insurance map dated 1891 showed an empty lot and in 1893, the surviving trustees sought and obtained court permission to sell the property with the proceeds going to an AME Zion church in Contra Costa county where many of the former residents of Napa were worshipping.

The new church — the second structure to house the congregation — was dedicated in 1867. The new church building and parsonage were valued at $15,000. With the new building, the church was renamed the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church. The elaborate Victorian style building served the congregation well into the twentieth century but in 1912 a rebuilding committee was established and it was decided to build a new structure. An architect was chosen, Luther M Turton, and the contractor, William Coffield. Closing services in the old church were held in March and April of 1916 — called “Services for Old Times’ Sake.” The old church was torn down and the next “new” church, the current sanctuary structure, was dedicated on the 10th of June 1917.