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The area that is now Napa was originally spotted by explorer Hugh Howard in 1790 while canoeing the Grand River. The land that was to become Napa was surveyed as "Township 4 North Range 2 West" in February 1827 in what was then dense forest. It was the last of the county's townships to be surveyed, and the land not offered for sale until October 1830. There would be no roads to this area for decades to come.