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.


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.


Contact Us

Get in touch with NCHS.

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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

Napa County and the Anti-Chinese League

TW for racist language. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1882 and was further amended in subsequent years. The act severely reduced Chinese immigration, especially for women and children. Those who remained in California often worked in agriculture, and there... read more

2016 Napa Valley History Tour

On April 14-16, 2016, Napa County Historical Society hosted its fourth annual Napa Valley History Tour. This year we shook things up a bit with some new sites and activities. On the first day we offered guided tours of the Ackerman Heritage House, formerly known as... read more

Pope Valley’s Blacksmith

by John Holt Henry Haus came to the U.S. from Neftenbach, Switzerland, and settled in Pope Valley in the late 1880s. Henry, born in 1873, had an older brother named Ed who also immigrated to Pope Valley. The original blacksmith shop was built in 1890 by a man named... read more

Henry Haus Blacksmith and Wagonmaker Shop

by John Holt Long before there was a garage or service station on nearly every corner to keep modern fine-tuned vehicles and machinery in proper working order, the transportation go-to place was the blacksmith shop. Vital to that earlier distribution and... read more

The Battery “B” Mystery

by Marie Bowen, NCHS volunteer A small book with photographs pasted on the blank pages entitled On the Trail of the Kaiser was found recently among NCHS’s collections. The item had no donor or accession number and was a complete mystery. I was asked to find, if... read more

César Chávez Day in Napa

by Kilian Fitzgerald One of the major issues of the 2016 Presidential election is illegal immigration and how to respond to it. In the spirit of César Chávez Day, let’s take a look at his life  and the impact his movement had on California and the United States.... read more

Ellen and John Hogan

Born in Tipperary County, Ireland on May 29, 1837, John S. Hogan immigrated to New Orleans in 1849 where some of his other relations already resided. New Orleans had a thriving Irish community at the time, and many lived in the neighborhood known as the Irish Channel.... read more

Taking the Waters in Rutherford

by Marie Bowen, NCHS volunteer The March 1, 1878, edition of the Napa Register reports Elizabeth Watson’s acquisition of 500+ acres near Rutherford from “Smithsonian Springs Hygienic Medical Association” and “Barlow J. Smith.” Thinking this probably was the same... read more