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Who We Are

Background

Napa Landmarks was founded in 1974 by John Whitridge III along with a group of local citizens who were upset by the demolition of many of downtown Napa’s historic buildings. By the 1980s it was clear that the historic structures and landscapes up-valley needed protection as well, prompting Landmarks to expand its advocacy throughout the County. As the organization extended its geographical reach, its name was changed to Napa County Landmarks in 1986.

Christine French, Executive Director

Christine brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for historic preservation. A graduate of the University of Utah and the University of Virginia, she worked as an architectural historian with the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., and at western national parks such as Zion, Mesa Verde, and Arches. She led the Modernism + Recent Past Program for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, headquartered on Market Street in San Francisco. At the California Preservation Foundation, she worked as Director of Development and Marketing and assisted with the creation of the “Doors Open California,” statewide tours event. Most recently, she served as the Director of Advocacy, Programs & Communications at San Francisco Heritage, where she significantly contributed to the advocacy effort for the Castro Theatre and promoted the city’s cultural and architectural heritage through new programming. She is also an author, recently featured as a contributing writer in Vanity Fair.

Annie Schaefer, Administrative Assistant

Our Board

The Board of Directors strives to educate our community of the vital historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the area in all aspects; extends recognition of the fine buildings and their neighborhood design representing the many periods of architecture for the enduring character of this area. Napa County Landmarks promotes research and collects information of educational significance pertaining to historical, architecturally and culturally significant sites, obtains funds specified under the IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) to achieve these goals.

Terry Wunderlich, President
Terry Wunderlich  has been a Realtor in Napa County for more than 35 years and has been recognized as a leader at the Local, State and National level, and was awarded the most prestigious honor from the California Association of Realtors in 2019 as the “California Distinguished Realtor Recipient”.  Her knowledge of community history influences her awareness of heritage properties and her interest in preserving them.  Terry enjoys matching historic homes with clients who have an interest in restoration.  Her work with NCL makes her a valuable resource and she takes pride in being a Board Member since 2012.

Bill Tuikka, AICP, Vice President
Bill Tuikka was born in Massachusetts and has lived in California since 1980 and in Napa since 1989. Bill has been involved in the preservation field since the 1970’s when he bought and restored an 1850’s house in central Massachusetts.  Upon moving to California, he studied graduate-level Urban Planning at San Jose State University, specializing in historic preservation and urban design.  For thirty years Bill was employed by several Bay Area Cities as a Planner, and recently retired from the City of Vallejo, where he served as Vallejo’s Certified Local Government coordinator and was staff liaison to Vallejo’s Architectural Heritage and Landmarks Commission.  Bill has extensive knowledge in applying the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and has supervised many rehabilitation projects during his planning career. Bill has been a board member since 2012.

Treasurer – Open position

John Sensenbaugh, Secretary
John Sensenbaugh is a retired Napa business owner who promotes interest in preservation. John is not new to NCL as he previously served on the Board from 2008 to 2013 and as it’s Treasurer from 2009 to 2013.  He also served on the Cultural Heritage Commission for 6 years. John has submitted articles for NCL’s quarterly newsletter and website. His special interest is Napa County’s Ten Threatened Treasures list which he coordinated for 2019 and continues today. John’s experience and enthusiasm is a real asset to Napa County Landmarks!

Shari Kamimori
Shari Kamimori is a Design Professional with over 35 years of experience in the architectural design field. She is President and founder of 3D Virtual Design Technology, Inc. (3DVDT), a digital survey firm based in Napa and San Francisco, servicing the architectural, engineering, construction, and historic preservation industries with as-built surveys of the existing conditions using 3D Laser Scanning and Drone Imagery capture to create 3D Building Information Models (BIM) for preservation, renovation, and construction projects. She is actively involved in historic preservation and proud to be serving as a Board Director for Napa County Landmarks (NCL) since 2013.  She also serves as a member of the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) Education Committee and Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI) Technical Documentation Western Chapter Committee.

Kara Brunzell
Kara Brunzell is the Owner and Principal of Brunzell Historical, an historic preservation and cultural resource management consulting firm. She has practiced in the fields of history and architectural history, cultural resource management, and historic preservation since 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from UCLA, and a master’s degree in Public History from California State University, Sacramento. Kara grew up in Ontario, California before attending UCLA, and moved to Napa County in 1996. With her husband Phil Barber (a journalist), she raised four daughters, who attended public schools in Napa. Kara and Phil live in a c1910 workingman’s cottage in Napa’s Alphabet Streets neighborhood.

Jonathan  Franz
Jonathan Franz is Head of Legal for Crunchbase. Before transitioning to Silicon Valley, he was senior attorney for a top 10 architecture firm (NBBJ) and spent nearly seven years in Hollywood representing a global entertainment company. Jonathan’s volunteer work with the Los Angeles Conservancy sparked his interest in historic preservation. When he’s not practicing law, he’s writing fiction and visiting Frank Lloyd Wright sites. Jonathan lives in Old Town Napa in a 1932 Tudor Revival with his wife, Mary, two daughters, Audrey, and Margot, and two golden retrievers, Keller and Woodford.

Vince Traverso
A former diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, Vincent returned home to the Bay Area where he revived an 1866 wine company in Napa – Migliavacca Wine Co. –  and saved a 1922 neighborhood bar in Oakland – the Kingfish Pub & Café. In addition to enterprising preservation, he consults as a winemaker in his native Napa Valley and a vineyardist in select spots from the Sierra Foothills to the Sonoma Coast. Vincent also hand crafts-stained glass windows at a studio in Saint Helena where he trained as an apprentice in adolescence and continues to ply the old-world trade today. A director on the board of Napa County Landmarks since 2021, Vincent serves on the Preservation & Advocacy Committee with a keen eye to up valley threatened treasures such as the Rutherford Depot and Aetna Springs Resort. When not bouncing between vineyards, cellars, and studios, Vincent can be found paddling the Napa River, hiking the East Bay hills, sailing the San Francisco Bay, or simply picking up litter along Oakville Cross Road, the Valley’s “magnificent mile,” along which he fights blight and plants wildflowers.

Karen Wesson
Karen Wesson is a native Californian, having lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her BA degree in Art with an interest in design. Her passion is preserving and restoring historic homes. By applying her hands-on experience and design knowledge she has developed a wide range of skill sets and expertise in the preservation of historic homes. She enjoys sharing this information with others, whether it is researching the historical background of structures and people, documenting historical information, or by sharing her how-to knowledge. She also dedicates time to the Napa community as a Commissioner on the Cultural Heritage Commission. In 2019, she won the California Preservation Foundation Award for Preservation of two homes, one an 1856 Gothic Revival Home and the other a 1907 shingled cottage in Napa. Karen was a Napa County Landmarks Board member from 2017-2019 and has joined again in 2023.

Rebecca Yerger 
This proactive NCL lifetime member has dedicated her life’s work to protecting, preserving, and promoting the historic fabric and cultural foundation of her hometown and county of Napa . . . and beyond. Postgraduate, her career began with actual, hands-on, rehabilitation and restoration professional projects to evolve into an historic preservation, architectural history and cultural resources management private practice as well as becoming a noted professional historian. In addition to utilizing traditional historic preservation methods and means, such as official research, documentation and project analysis, Rebecca has expanded her outreach to include teaching and public presentations plus both print and electronic platforms – namely writing her Napa Valley Register local history column “Memory Lane,” feature articles.  She has also contributed to national and international documentaries about Napa County filmed by NHK (Japan), NATIVA (Brazil) and PBS as well as the California State funded “Wild California” and Travel Channel’s “Haunted Hotels.” Rebecca said, “I have yet to encounter an historically insignificant person, place or thing.” She added, “It has been, and continues to be, my privilege to share their stories with the community-at-large while simultaneously honoring and preserving their historical importance.”