Moskowite Corners History

Moskowite Corners: A Short Version of a Long History

by Peter Kilkus, 6/12/22

2 Moskowite Corners Historical
2 Moskowite Corners Historical B&W

Known as a rural landmark and roadway stop, Moskowite Corners has been open since at least the 1960s. Entrepreneur and former Napa County supervisor Harold Moskowite's family was the founder of “The Corners” as it is known. George Moskowite built the Corners before Lake Berryessa completely filled. Here’s a transcript from an article in the Napa Register of October 1958 where George was also the only bidder for the development of Steele Park Resort.

From the Napa Register, October 1958

Three concessioners, bidding for leases on two of the seven proposed recreation areas at Lake Berryessa, outlined to the Board of Supervisors yesterday planned developments with a total cost of nearly three million dollars. The supervisors opened the bids and referred them to the Lake Berryessa Park Commission for further study. Six earlier proposals on three other areas were referred to the Commission two weeks ago.

In yesterday’s proposal, Wesley B. and Elsie G. Plunkett and Donald J. and Bernice M. McFarland, all of Napa, outlined a plan which calls for $1,751,000 of improvements in the area just north of Capell Creek over a ten-year period. Construction would start immediately upon the awarding of the 20-year lease, with picnic, swimming, boat launching, rental and storage facilities listed among the initial development. A resort lodge will be part of the ultimate plan.

George Moskowite of Moskowite Corners was the lone bidder on the Steele Canyon area, offering to put from $250,000 to $750,000 into the area by 1963. The initial development would be the establishment of camping and trailer sites, launching ramps, and picnic areas.

According to George Moskowite’s daughter, Moskowite Corners was established by George Moskowite and his wife Dorothy. It all started when people needed gas and something to drink. They owned a little house on Steel Canyon Road that was converted into a small restaurant. They also moved a building from the town of Monticello and established a service station to take care of people needing gas. There were many additions over the years and eventually a bar was added, and the gas station was moved across the road.   

By 1961 Lake Berryessa was on everyone’s recreation map, and advertising for new lake homes in the Berryessa Highlands saturated the Bay Area and the Sacramento region.


March 1963 saw the Corners gas station being advertised. February 1965 saw a description of the growing Corners and its peacocks!



 In March 1965 Ronald Berry took over Moskowite Corners which was still owned by Harold Moskowite.

Corners sale to Ronald Berry-1965


By the early 1970s The Corners was in full swing. The ambulance service mentioned in the ad below was started by Harold in 1969. The County asked that each concessionaire at the lake install first aid stations at their resorts.

The County Emergency Medical Committee also recommended that the supervisors accept the offer of Harold Moskowite to provide an ambulance based at Moskowite Corners. Moskowite said he would purchase a new ambulance at a cost of about $10,000 provided the County would agree to subsidize the operation of the same. He said he would man the vehicle for emergency runs to the lake. The County would also have to purchase radio equipment for the ambulance. The service lasted only to 1974 before it was deemed too expensive to continue. It finally ended in October 1974 at the same time the County was ending its management of the lake resorts and handing that responsibility back to the Bureau of Reclamation.  

Moskowite Corners ad April 1970 72

Along with the development of the Corners, Harold Moskowite also created Moskowite Lake and a dirtairstrip nearby. Harold was a pilot and member and leader of the Sheriff’s Aero Squadron.

Moskowite Ambulance Aug1970


Harold Moskowite leaves Aero Command 1968


 A 1972 ad in the Napa Register mentions “Ed’s Moskowite Lounge.

Ed's Moskowite Lounge 1972


In 1975 the Moskowite Lodge was created.



A 1975 article raised the possibility of politics in Harold Moskowite’s future.

Harold Moskowite story full Apr1975


In 1976 Harold ran for Napa County supervisor and won. Political as were a bit rudimentary without fast computers and good graphics software.

Harold Moskowite for supervisor combo ad  april1976


In September 1983, a news item documented the founding of the Berryessa Senior Citizens, Inc. at Moskowite Corners. Seventy people gathered at Moskowite Corners to discuss plans to form a senior citizens group in the Berryessa area. A great deal of enthusiasm was expressed over the prospect of a Senior Center in this isolated location of napa county. Members of the original Steering Committee were C.D. Barnett, Ruth Ennis, Frances Henderson, Ethel mason, F. Ogden Miller, Robert Pearson, Betty Pederson, Ruth Spiteri, and George Trapp. The Senior Center was located at Moskowite Corners until the final center was built at Spanish Flat next to the Monticello Cemetery.

Senior Center opens at the Corners Feb1984


The 1988 issues of the Lake Berryessa News featured Moskowite Corners businesses.

1988 Corners Businesses combo


In 1988 Lake Berryessa was a happening place.

Berryessa News Last page last issue 1988


 A letter to the editor of the Napa Register in 1999 complaining about the infamous “Rap Concerts” indicates that the Corners was run by Barbara Bray and partner.

Corners owner 1999 Rap Barbara Bray


On Sunday, August 25, 2002, the Napa Register highlighted the Corners community

Moskowite Corners: Community at a crossroads

 Moskowite Corners doesn’t look like much. It’s a fork in the roadnear Lake Berryessa where a few small businesses, a church, and a mobile home park have nestled. Anyone racing up to the lake for boating or fishing can zip by and pay it no mind­. If they stop for a fill-up or resupply, they quickly move on. But for some, Moskowite Corners is a community, a place where all the essentials of life come together. Everyone turns out to be friendly, even the guys who roared up Corners Bar on Harleys.

The residents of Moskowite Corners live a world away from Napa and the Napa Valley. People are up here because it isn’t the city. They’re ordinary folks. People hang out at Jeri’s Got Gas, the Moskowite Corners Store and the Corners Bar. On Wednesday night the Community Church, a non-denominational congregation, has a weeknight session of singing and prayer. The pace of life is different at the Corners. Some of the 120-plus residents have jobs in Napa in Vacaville but at night come back to the tranquility of their place in the country.

Moskowite Corners sits at the junction of Monticello Rod and highway 128. It’s the unofficial gateway to Lake Berryessa, the reservoir and recreation area created by the federal government in the 1950s. With the completion of the dam and subsequent inundation of the Town of Monticello, the Corners grew into the community it is today. Tourism keeps the place alive. Cucina Italiana, the Corners’ dining establishment, serves simple fare by day and fancier cuisine at night.

Jeri’s Got Gas, run by Jeri Crawford, a single mom with a family to support, reopened early this summer to tap into the stream of RVs and SUVs that sail by. Without many nighttime entertainment options, teenagers from the Corners meet at Jeri’s Got Gas in the evening to hang out. Moskowite Corners may look like just another blip on the landscape, but it’s not. For some, it’s home.


In 2007 Ron Watt opened the Corners Café and Shopping Plaza. The owner was one of the co-owners of Spanish Flat Resort, Lee Johnson. The business was unsuccessful. Ron Watt went on to run the Berryessa Quick Stop in the closed gas station across the Steele Canyon Road from the Corners. It too was unsuccessful.

Corners Cafe final 091706


Jim Keller bought the property in 2008 in a bankruptcy sale for $1.1 million in September 2008. And in April 2009: Mike Schildknecht and Jim Keller hoped to make Berryessa Corners a community gathering place for nearby residents. The business became the Berryessa Corners in January 2009; the restaurant and the bar were all open by May 2009. Mike’s sudden and unexpected death on June 9, 2009, left the whole Lake Berryessa community in shock. The Berryessa Corners enterprise ended with him.

An article in the Napa Register at the time described the high hopes that Mike and Jim had for the business.

New store, bar, restaurant at Moskowite Corners, by Mike Treleven, Apr 30, 2009

Mike Schildknecht and Jim Keller hope to make Berryessa Corners a community gathering place for nearby residents. Keller purchased Moskowite Corners, which had been in bankruptcy, and is launching a store and restaurant. Some old-timers in Napa County refer to the intersection of highways 121 and 128 as the Corners. Most know the crossroads near Steele Park at the southern end of Lake Berryessa by its more formal name, Moskowite Corners. The grocery store, restaurant, bar and two outdoor patios at the corner have been shuttered for a while and in bankruptcy.

Napan Jim Keller purchased the one-acre retail center in September 2008 and is giving the place a much-needed face-lift. “We are after all, the gateway to Lake Berryessa. We are the first impression that most people get when driving up here to go to the lake. So it’s important to make a good impression,” said Michael Schildknecht, who will be operating the retail businesses for Keller.

The two men are changing the name of the retail outpost to Berryessa Corners. “But for many it will always be The Corners,” said Schildknecht. Keller said he paid about $1 million for the 6,000 square feet of store, restaurant, bar and two outdoor patios. He said he has “invested thousands of dollars cleaning the place up” so that improvements can be made. “We are not just investors trying to make money but are trying to blend in and be a part of the community,” Keller said. “We are here to cater to the locals and not so much the tourists,” Schildknecht said.

For Schildknecht that means having a well-stocked grocery store where residents can buy not just chips, soda and beer, but all the items for fixing a home-cooked meal. Shoppers will now find shelves of pastas, soups, bread, fresh vegetables, eggs, milk and more. Schildknecht said that 75 percent of the area locals have told him they’ve never come into the place before, and he’s aiming to turn that around.

Lake Berryessa is headed for what may be a slow summer, with at least four of the lake’s seven private resorts expected to be closed for a second consecutive summer as the transition from old operators to new continues to be hammered out by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Yet Schildknecht and Keller believe that the lake will thrive when things settle down and that they hope to help set the tone. “We are trying to be visionaries. We think this place has a lot of potential.” Both men said the locals seem to be embracing the changes going on at Berryessa Corners. Unfortunately, Mike died unexpectedly that year and his Corners dreams ended.

Mike and Jim Corners

Above: Michael Schildknecht and Jim Keller 

Berryessa Corners opening 020509
Corners 060409 web
Mike's BBQ


In August 2010 Jim Winchell and his family took the business over under lease from Keller and opened the Crossroads at Lake Berryessa. They had a great pizza shop and restaurant and remodeled the bar. Unfortunately, they did not have a liquor license and could only serve beer and wine. After a couple of years of hard work, with no help from the delayed rebuilding of Steele Park Resort by Pensus, the Crossroads closed in March 2012.

Crossroads ad
Winchells at Crossroads

Goodbye from the Winchell Family

It is with heavy hearts and deep sorrow that we are writing this article to inform you, the people who have become like family to us, deep regrets that we are closing the doors to "The Crossroads At Lake Berryessa." When I (Jim), sat in the empty parking lot almost 2 years ago now, counting the cars that passed by as prospective patrons, the path to which I was heading down was much like Rte.121 or Rte.128...a long and winding road. It was a road that led our family to embark upon an adventure we will keep in our hearts forever.

When we opened for business in August of 2010, we were greeted with curious neighbors, thankful bikers, and many more of you that would become "regulars."  We made some changes, first and foremost, its new name, "The Crossroads At Lake Berryessa," applied fresh paint here and there, and updated the bar for casual dining or watching the Super Bowl with friends. 

We had some of the hardest and dedicated employees. They were always willing to “work over" or "come in early," depending on the specific needs of the day. Eventually as business slowed down shortly after Labor Day and the campers and boaters went back to school or work, we did have to let some of our staff go. We thank them all, especially Molly, Tyler, Steve, Pat, Jenn, and our sons, Jim and Shawn, for hanging in with us to the end.

Whether you came on a bicycle for a banana and vitamin water, on a Harley for hot coffee and warm apple pie or stop in on Friday evening for a rib eye steak for you and tacos for her or stopping by to pick up 6-pack and a pizza on the way up to the Highlands, it was all appreciated.  Ice for the cooler and wood for the campfire seemed to fly out the door. We enjoyed the most when the "little ones" would come with pockets and hands full of coins or maybe even a 1-dollar bill and stand and look over all the candy for what seemed to be forever, before they finally made a choice!

Your every purchase, kind words of gratitude for our presence, and the manner in which you took our family into yours, does not go unnoticed. Circumstances beyond our control are unfortunately forcing us to close. So, as we exit the building for the last time as "The Crossroads At Lake Berryessa," the sounds of the motors winding thru the valley let you know the guys and gals in leather are on their way.  Sorry we missed you and God speed to you all.

With Great Love For All, Jim, Pat, Shawn and Jim III


Jim Keller listed the Crossroads at Lake Berryessa in 2011 for sale for $1.29 million but was unable to find a buyer. After the Winchell family left there was no interest until Yevo Jeworowski opened a brew pub, Steele Canyon Saloon, in early 2016. Berryessa Highlands folks would finally have a place to go again for groceries, food, drink, and socializing. Yevo will open Steele Canyon Brewery and Steele Canyon Pizza in October. He and his partner are installing a mini brewery now. The Steele Canyon Saloon has a liquor license and will serve a full range of cocktails along with delicious craft brews, pizza, and appetizers. Yevo also acquired a partner, Greeley Wright, to open a market in the site.

Yevo had previously run Boone’s Saloon in the Spanish Flat Village Center. Under a special California law that allowed liquor to be served in brew pubs, he was able to open a full bar. He invested tens of thousands of dollars in new brewing equipment and improvements. Unfortunately, he had not factored in the new state water quality regulations that had been passed regarding beer brewing systems. His effluent would not pass the new standards without an upgrade to the wastewater system run by the owners of the Capell Valley Estates across the road, which declined to do so. Despite some good bands and great times, he was forced to close the Steele Canyon Saloon before the end of 2016.

Steele Canyon Saloon ad


After the demise of the Steele Canyon Saloon, the Corners site remained closed with no buyers in sight.


On January 11, 2019, Moskowite Corners was sold by Jim Keller to Thuyen Tran of Oakland for approximately $699,000. Tran, who comes from the restaurant industry, said he bought the parcel because he has great confidence he can create a destination for both locals and visitors. Jim Keller carried the financing on it, but it took so long to revive after the pandemic, fires and closure of Lake Berryessa resorts, that Tran decided he didn’t want to move forward and essentially, he gave it back to Keller.

Keller recently listed the property for sale for $649,000. He said that to bring it up to current standards, it would cost probably half a million to a million dollars depending on what the buyer wanted to do there. He said he doesn’t see anything really happening for another two years with that property until new concessioners start building their resorts. Napa County in October 2021 decided to negotiate with Sun Communities to redevelop and run Spanish Flat, Steele Canyon and Monticello Shores resorts

A few years ago, Jim Keller told me that he had approached several mini market chains like 7/11 and Kwik Trip to locate at the Corners. None expressed interest. The success of the Corners has always been tied to the success of Lake Berryessa as a recreation destination, especially the Steele Canyon Recreation Area, formerly Steele Park Resort. The Sun Lake Berryessa revitalization of Steele Canyon Recreation Area and Spanish Flat Recreation Area is scheduled for 2024 completion.

As of June 2022, the continuing history of Moskowite Corners is still being written.

Corners for sale 2022                       © Peter Kilkus 2021