GLOBALISM=AGENDA 21=SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT=WORLD GOVERNMENT=LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY=NO CONSTITUTION=LOSS OF FREEDOM=NO AMERICA
MOUNTAIN MILL HOUSE
By: James Haggart - March 1972
Thousands of travelers have passed the quiet meadow at the bottom of the northern side of Mount St Helena since the first road was opened into Lake County from the south in the 1850's. Motorists zoom by this spot today, anxious to get to the boating and fishing areas around the Clear Lake shores. They may glance hurriedly to the right and see a white house out of the corner of their eye. They will remember a sign at the gate, "Girl Scouts of America", and think of what a fine, secluded place it should make for girls to
enjoy an over-night camp.
This fine old house, surrounded by friendly porches, has served as a stopping place for many a weary traveler in former days, when the road was used for wagon and stagecoach travel. It was a slower pace in those days
Felix and Delia McNulty had built the house in 1881, replacing a smaller white house that Felix McNulty had built in 1873. McNulty was a workman on the toll road that was built over the mountain leading from Calistoga to Middle town and Lake County. He had bought 160 acres of land from Sam Brannan, one of the earliest settlers, at the base of Mt St Helena; here he made a home for his family.
William McNulty, their only son, was born in the Mill House in 1880, the year that Robert Louis Stevenson spent his honeymoon in the abandoned Silverado mine on the pass of the mountain. In 1883, Lillie McNulty, their only daughter, was born to the pioneer couple. Lillie lived there all her life, the congenial hostess of friendly Mountain Mill House.
Felix McNulty was the epitome of the pioneer American settler, moving west and carving out a life in the wilderness of California. He earned his living by hard work on the Toll Road and, finding his little Eden at the bottom of the road on the north side of the mountain, bought a quarter section and built a house.
There was plenty of water, there was land enough for a garden, and for the quartering of horses. He envisioned his' homestead as a stopping place for the passengers on the stagecoaches that started streaming over the mountain pass. His was the last stop for the coaches as they rumbled down the dusty road to Middletown and points north.
The little white picket fence by the side of the road, the sparkling cool water and the delicious home-cooked food from the hands of his wife, Delia, made a welcome sight to weary travelers. It became famed as a mountain oasis for visitors, who came from all over the world.
Felix added to his income by delivering mail on horseback between Mountain Mill House and the old Oat Hill Mine (over a trail no longer in use.)
The McNultys were close friends of the Livermore family, who owned Oat Hill Mine, a source of quicksilver, one of the most prosperous mines of the many that thrived around Middletown.
Horatio Gates Livermore had come to California from his native Maine in the Gold Rush in 1850, crossing the plains in a covered wagon in '49. Horatio Putnam Livermore owned the huge Montesol spread, including Oat Hill Mines; at the time that Felix McNulty bought his homestead at the northern base of Mount St Helena. Montesol had belonged to Thomas Van Ness previously, for whom Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco is named.
John Lawley, who started building the Toll Road in 1868, hired Felix McNulty to help him finish the road and, no doubt, gave him a franchise for taking care of the stage coaches and horses when they stopped at the bottom of the road. The freight lines also used the facilities there as they brought supplies from Calistoga to Middletown and Alfred England and his father (residents of Lower Lake,) who hauled to Lower Lake. Their wagons were drawn by six and eight-mule teams, controlled by jerk lines operated by a rider astride one of the mules.
After the death of Felix in 1914, Delia, his widow, took in boarders at the Mill House for $1 a day. Lillie McNulty, the only daughter, inherited the property upon the death of her mother.
It is interesting to note that Lillie got her schooling on the opposite side of the mountain, traveling by the stage coach to and from school. Mrs. Hunt was her teacher. Lillie's whole life was spent on, or near, Mount St Helena. Part of her schooling was at Mirabel Springs, to which she rode by pony. Mrs. Sam Osgood was her teacher.
Lillie was named after the Lillie family, who in the early days had built a mill on the stream near the present ranch house. It is from this mill that the Mountain Mill House derives its name. The old Lillie mill has long since fallen to decay, the land now being a part of the Montesol property. The waters of the St Helena Creek presumably turned its wheel.
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Compliments of: Bill Wink