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.

The Move is Complete!

Work will begin on the Goodman shortly, and we are open to the public at our Tulocay location!  As of March 2017, our office hours at Tulocay will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm.  Please feel free to stop by our new office, ask us questions, and do research!

We are located in the old office building at Tulocay Cemetery.  It is the stone building located through the main gates of the cemetery (pictured above).  The street address for the cemetery is 411 Coombsville Road, Napa, CA 94558.

Thanks to the Tulocay Cemetery Board of Directors for their generous invitation to relocate to the beautiful Juarez building.  We would also like to offer our sincere thanks to Community Projects and the Community Foundation’s Community Disaster Fund for Earthquake Relief for their financial support of this project.

Programs & Events

The Napa County Historical Society presents the final lecture in our series, “Roadside Napa: The County’s Quirky Landmarks” by Tom Spaulding. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, March 21st, at 5:00 pm at the St. Helena Public Library.

Rocks that look like human faces, a stump of a tree branch that was continuously redecorated for every significant occasion, people’s names stamped in the sidewalks with the year of the stamping—the county is filled with landmarks familiar to locals, but rarely thought about, and usually overlooked by visitors. How many of the county’s quirky landmarks do you recognize? Come and hear their stories—and contribute your own, if you have them.

Click here for more information on the series.

Online Catalogue

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



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.

Contact Us

Get in touch with NCHS.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook.


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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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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Guy Fling: George Yount’s Guide

By Marie Bowen Many Napa County historians concede that George Yount first visited Napa Valley in early 1831 guided by Guy Freeman Fling, the man sometimes referred to as the first American to explore the Napa Valley. They traveled over an old Native American trail...

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