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.

About Us: The Research Library

The Napa County Historical Society operates a non-circulating Research Library that is open to the public.  If you have a question about Napa history, need to conduct research, or would like to donate an item to our collection, you can stop by the library during our regular business hours or by appointment.  If you would like to ask a question by email or phone, we can answer questions requiring brief research into our collection free of charge.  If you wish to ask us to aid you in a research project or conduct more extensive research, we are happy to help but an hourly or project-based fee is charged.

The Research Library is open
Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 10am-4pm.


The Move is Complete!

We are located in the old office at Tulocay Cemetery, while the Goodman Library undergoes earthquake repairs.  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.


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!

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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