NCHS and Tulocay Cemetery Announce New Collaboration

Game-changing agreement forged to use the old office at Tulocay Cemetery to house a small history display, library, and additional NCHS office space and staff.

The Tulocay Cemetery Association and the Napa County Historical Society are pleased to announce an agreement to use the old office at Tulocay Cemetery to house a small history display, library, and additional NCHS office space and staff.

The Napa County Historical Society is creating an exhibit highlighting the history of Tulocay and its deceased occupants, which will be accessible to the public. The display will include some of the many notables interred at the cemetery including Mary Ellen Pleasant, Salvador Vallejo, and Nathan Coombs. Also featured in the upcoming display is Don Cayetano Juarez, who gifted land from his Rancho Tulucay for a cemetery in the early 1850s. The rancho was ceded to him by the Mexican government, then occupying Alta California in October 1840, in recompense for his long and distinguished career as a soldier. The land grant consisted of two leagues or a whopping 8,865.58 acres, lying on the east side of the Napa River. Juarez was subsequently named Alcalde of the District of Sonoma in 1844 and was charged with the administration of the Sonoma and Napa regions. He built the first two adobes in Napa County; the second is the Old Adobe on Soscol.

NCHS will offer information regarding Napa County’s history, historical research, and related services to visitors and will use the space for staff and volunteers, and for storage of part of its historic library. Further, Tulocay and NCHS staff will work together in the organization and preservation of Tulocay’s historical records. Additional future guest services will include guided and self-guided tours of the cemetery and an extension of our popular local history scavenger hunts for elementary school students.

Work on crafting the agreement began early in 2015 when Tulocay’s board of directors approached the Historical Society through the good offices of local historian Nancy Brennan. Tulocay invited the Society to consider occupying the old office building and forging an agreement about sharing historic resources and extending both organizations’ outreach to the community. “Our board has long sought additional ways to publicize the cemetery and our board of directors’ history,” said Jim Asbury, chairman. “We are delighted to announce this agreement between our two historic organizations,” said Nancy McEnery, NCHS co-president. “This offer came shortly after the extensive damage to the Goodman incurred in the 2014 quake and speaks to the generosity we have felt from this amazingly supportive community.”

Community Projects provided funding for the exhibit of the cemetery’s long and storied history. The Napa Valley Vintner’s Earthquake Relief Fund contributed moving and infrastructure costs.

“This is truly a milestone in our long history of collaboration with our partners in history throughout Napa and this region. Our heartfelt thanks to Tulocay’s directors for providing NCHS a space to relocate our office and some of our collections when we have to move from the Goodman Library when repairs get underway next spring,” contributed Felicia Shinnamon, NCHS co-president. The agreement is intended to remain in place for many years.

The City of Napa has announced its intention to fully restore the Goodman in all its glory with help from FEMA and CAL/OES in 2016. The board of directors is already planning our Grand Reopening for later this year.

NCHS office at Tulocay will open in March and hours of operation will be announced then.