Manasse Mansion

This Napa, California beauty was built in 1886 by W.H. Corlett for the Emmanuel Manasse family.

Emmanuel Manasse was described by one of his biographers as “one of Napa’s most respected and public spirited citizens.” He was born in Germany on August 7, 1842. Following family tradition, he apprenticed as a tanner. He came to the United States in 1864, at first residing in New York. He came to San Francisco the following year with his wife, Anna Marie Amelia (Hellwig) Manasse.

Manasse bought interest San Francisco’s Hellwig Tannery. In 1871, Manasse came to Napa as superintendent of the Sawyer Tannery, a company that is still one of Napa’s largest enterprises.

Manasse contributed much towards the company’s early growth. While employed as superintendent he discovered and patented a new tanning process for sheep skin known as Napa Patent Leather. Due to this inventiveness he was given a partnership in the tannery in 1880.

After this he discovered a leather water-proofing method which became known as the Napa Tan process. Mr. Manasse also helped establish the Norton Tanning Company in South San Francisco and was associated with the Napa Woolen Mills. Emmanuel Manasse passed away, in Napa, on September 17, 1899, leaving behind six children, four of whom continued to be associated with the leather tanning trade.

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