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.

We’re Moving!

Napa County Historical Society is moving our office and part of the collection into office space at Tulocay Cemetery while earthquake repairs begin on the Goodman Library in February 2017.  We will remain at Tulocay until the work is completed on the Goodman.  Click here for information on our hours and new location.

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 will continue our lecture series with two more lectures in February and March.  The February lecture will be presented with the Jewish Historical Society of Napa Valley.

Alexandria Brown, former Librarian of the Napa County Historical Society, will focus on the history of the black community in Napa County, updating her master’s thesis “There Are No Black People in Napa”: African American History in Napa County.  Ms. Brown’s lecture is slated to occur at the Lucky Penny Theatre (1758 Industrial Way, Napa) and will address the issues of how to conduct local historical research when the written record is sparse.

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.

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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

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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