History of Calistoga, CA
From: History of Solano County, California
By: Marguerite Hunt
And
Napa County, California.
By: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago 1926


The third town in the county in point of size is Calistoga and to Samuel Brannan must be given the credit of having been the founder of this interesting and beautiful community. The Menefee Sketch Book has the following to say regarding Brannan:

"Samuel Brannan was born in Saco, Maine, in 1819; in 1833 he moved to Lake County, Ohio, and learned the printing business. In 1859 Mr. Brannan came to Napa County and purchased of Captain Ritchie a square mile of land at Calistoga, on which tract are located the famous hot springs. Soon after he purchased other lands from Messrs. Fowler & Hargrave, till his landed possessions about Calistoga exceeded two thousand acres. It was his design to make this place, called by him the 'Saratoga of the Pacific,' a great watering place. His expenditures for buildings, laying off of grounds and other improvements at this place have been not less than half a million dollars. Mr. Brannan has spared no efforts to make his chosen town of Calistoga and the whole upper part of the valley prosperous. He has, since permanently locating there, added largely to his landed possessions, and has ever been liberal to actual settlers and those desiring to carry on trade and business, calculated to enhance the value of property by making the community more prosperous. The name, Calistoga, was given to the place by Mr. Brannan in the fall of 1867. It was his boast that he was going to make the place the Saratoga of California, so he spliced the names and called it Cal (is) toga, the middle syllable for euphony. The place had previously been called Hot Springs by the few Americans and Agua Caliente by the Spaniards."

Messrs. Woodward, Gettleson and Friedberg were those who may be named as pioneer merchants in Calistoga. The first hotel was built by Mr. Deloch and called the Mountain House. In the late '60s, when the railroad was completed, fully three thousand people came here on an excursion, and all were entertained by Samuel Brannan. J. M. Finley, an old miner, was the first to discover quicksilver in this vicinity, and he located the Great Western mine, but before he had opportunity to become rich he fell from a bridge and was drowned.

The first church to be erected at Calistoga was the Methodist, in 1868, and made a possibility by the efforts of Rev. W. S. Bryant. The railroad soon needed the lot, however, and Samuel Brannan gave the church another. The first trustees were William McDonnell, Peter Teale and Alonzo Hopkins. In this church school was also held until 1870, when the primary school building was constructed. A grammar school building was put up in 1888.

The Presbyterian Church at Calistoga was organized by Rev. Thomas Fraser, exact date unknown. The first membership included A. Safely, Mrs. Margaret Safely, Miss I. G. Safely, Miss A. R. Safely, Thomas F. Towle, Mrs. Josephine Towle, J. I. Logan, Mrs. U. J. Logan, Mrs. Ann M. Fairfield, J. G. Randall, M. Garnett, Mrs. Catherine A. McDonald, Mrs. Lizzie McCrory, John McClausland, Mrs. Rachel R. McCausland, Mrs. Annis F. Wass, Miss Lizzie R. Wass, Gallen M. Fisher, Mrs. Susan F. Fisher, Miss Florence Fisher, John Wass, Mrs. Eliza A. Wass, J. R. Wright, Mrs. E. Wright, Austin J. Roberts, Mrs. Mary A. Tavor, Miss E. Tavor. A building was erected in 1872.

The Calistoga Tribune was the pioneer newspaper in the field, but in 1873 the editor died and the paper followed him. In 1874 O. P. Hoddy bought the plant equipment and issued the Weekly Free Press for a few months, when the outfit was moved into Ventura County. On April 6, 1876 J. H. Upton issued the first number of the Weekly Calistogian, continued for four months, and then the plant was shipped into San Benito County. On December 24, 1877 J. L. Multer began the publication of the Independent Calistogian. He sold out in 1892 to G. B. Douglass and I. N. Bennett, and in 1895 it was bought by C. A. Carroll, who changed its politics from independent to republican and the name to Weekly Calistogian.

The Calistoga National Bank was organized in 1909 and now has a capital of $25,000 and deposits of about $1,000,000. Andrew Rocca is president, R. W. Westover and C. S. Piner, vice presidents, and R. W. Westover, cashier.


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