In this morning’s email, I saw this headline “Yountville story: Martha Van De Leur’s roses” in an unusual email I received from i.Buckeroo.com. I know the park named after her well but was not familiar with her history and decided to check it out. The Buckaroo email is about an article written by Kevin Nelson, Napa Valley Travel Examiner. titled Yountville story: Martha Van De Leur’s roses.
The first sentence from Kevin’s article is what Buckaroo quoted in their email. Below are a few tidbits I discovered about Martha.
Long before Thomas Keller came to Yountville, back in a time when people would have thought The French Laundry was a place to get your clothes cleaned, there was a woman named Martha Van De Leur who taught school and tended roses. This is her story.
Martha planted a rose garden on the site of the park in the 1920’s and later gifted the land to the Town. One of her Ancient Pink Climbing Roses still grows there. Her family, Mathias and Johanna Van De Leur, were Irish emigrants who settle in Yountville in the 1870’s. Mathias served as Supervisor and superintendent of Yountville Elementary School. For 50 years, Martha served as teacher and principal at Yountville and Salvador Elementary Schools.