Our Mission

The mission of Napa County Historical Society is to discover and keep history alive through exhibits, lectures, and events, as well as research, publications, and educational activities. We are a membership-based archival and educational organization dedicated to the discovery, preservation and presentation of the people and history of Napa County and its place in California history.

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Sightseeing

Napa History Tours B2 copy

For a one-time donation, get Napa Valley history in the palm of your hand with these self-guided online tours for biking and walking.

Historical Research

Get started on your local history research project by learning more about Napa history and studying our research guides.

Online Catalogue

Explore thousands of historic photographs, manuscripts, scrapbooks, maps, blueprints, books, and ephemera on Napa County history in our online catalogue.

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Contact Us

Get in touch with NCHS.

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Shop

Visit our shop to buy books, postcards, photo prints, and more!

Earthquake Updates

The 2014 South Napa Quake threw us for a loop, but we are moving forward thanks to your generous support.

Our Story

Jess and Mary Doud, ca. 1979Napa County Historical Society was founded in May 1948 by locals passionate about preserving local history. In the late 1970s, then Executive Director Jess Doud secured the Goodman Library to house their ever-expanding historical research library, as well as for use in displays, exhibits, and educational programs.

Our active Board of Directors, Executive Director, and Research Librarian keep the organization running, and our corps of volunteers and interns assist with research, cataloguing, and publication. We are a small non-profit sustained by your membership and donations.

Blog Roll

A Boy’s Life

by Nancy B. Wilson, guest contributor This story concerns some anecdotes about the life of my grandfather, J. Edgar Beard, and his good friend Gaillard Stoney. My grandfather died before I was born, and I have spent much time trying to know him by surviving letters,...

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Congratulations Scott Sedgley!

Recently, NCHS had the privilege of watching Scott Sedgley receive an award from the Conference of California Historical Societies. The CCHS held its annual symposium in Southern California on June 25, 2016, and Sedgley was honored with an Award of Merit for his...

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How the Old Man with a Pipe Got His Pipe

by Marie Bowen I first saw the “Old Man with a Pipe” as a teen in the late 1950s.  Over the many years I rode or drove past the formation, I never thought – or heard anyone ask – “Gee, I wonder who put the pipe there?”  But in December 2015, while...

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Napa’s First Glider Club

by Marie Bowen In December 1930, 38 years before the Calistoga Soaring Center opened on the abandoned Calistoga Air Field, a group of Napans formed the Napa Glider Club.  Organized by Guy Winfrey, an 1898 San Juan Hill veteran, the group included Ernie Mollo, H....

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The Moore Family of Moore’s Creek

by Marie Bowen Moore Creek runs southerly year-round from its source high on the eastern side of Howell Mountain, and joins with Conn Creek before emptying into Lake Hennessey at what is now Moore Creek Park. On the way it passes through Las Posadas State Forest, land...

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You Can’t Get There from Here…

by Marie Bowen “The Valleys of Napa County,” a May 23, 1998, Napa Valley Register supplement, celebrates the 23 valleys within our county.  Eight of the 23, as many of us know, were named for easily identifiable pioneer individuals or families: Berryessa, Brown,...

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Napa County’s Uncle Sam Mountain

by Marie Bowen Created in 1850, the year of California statehood, Napa County is one of the state’s original 27 counties. By the 1860 census, the county had four townships, or units of local government:  Napa (Napa City); Yount (Yountville, Monticello, and Berryessa,...

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History of Berryessa Valley

What follows is a transcription from a photograph album in the NCHS collections called “The Buildings of Lake Berryessa.” This album was the property of Paul C. Donovan, a park ranger at Lake Berryessa. The document was used for a tour by land and air, possibly on...

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