History of Calistoga

With a population of over 5,300, Calistoga is a beautiful, quaint town on the northern end of the Napa Valley. First home to the Wappo people, Calistoga was known as the Hot Springs of the West due to the natural volcanic hot springs located there.


Sam Brannan was also one of the first millionaires in the area. He had lead the expedition on the ship Brooklyn that landed in Yerba Buena (later know as San Francisco) in 1848. He purchased 2,000

acres in Calistoga to build a spa that was reminiscent of Saratoga Springs in New York. He wanted the rich and famous from San Francisco to come to his spa which they ultimately did. The spa opened up in 1862 and the wealthy San Francisco elite would flock to the spa in the summer months to enjoy the natural hot springs.


In 1868, the Napa Valley Railroad Company completed their tracking. This made the journey for ferry passengers coming from San Francisco to the Upper Napa Valley much easier. This track ultimately made Calistoga a hub for transportation for the Upper Valley and a gateway to Lake and Sonoma Counties.


For more information on Calistoga and the Napa Valley, visit our museum today!