Calistoga, California: Wikis


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City of Calistoga
—  City  —
Coordinates: 38°34′53″N 122°34′58″W / 38.58139°N 122.58278°W / 38.58139; -122.58278Coordinates: 38°34′53″N 122°34′58″W / 38.58139°N 122.58278°W / 38.58139; -122.58278
Country United States
State California
County Napa
Incorporated 6 January 1886
 - Mayor Jack Gingles
 - Total 2.6 sq mi (6.7 km2)
 - Land 2.6 sq mi (6.7 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 348 ft (106 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 5,190
 Density 1,997.4/sq mi (770.7/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 94515
Area code(s) 707
FIPS code 06-09892
GNIS feature ID 0277482

Calistoga is a city in Napa County, California, United States. The population was 5,190 at the 2000 census.



Calistoga is located at 38°34′53″N 122°34′58″W / 38.58139°N 122.58278°W / 38.58139; -122.58278 (38.581357, -122.582757)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km²), all of it land.


According to National Weather Service records, Calistoga has cool, wet winters with temperatures dropping to freezing on an average of 34.1 days. Summers are usually very dry, with daytime temperature regularly reaching 90 °F (32 °C) or higher on an average of 72.8 days, but nights are cool, dropping into the lower fifties. Average January temperatures range from 59.8 °F (15.4 °C) to 36.8 °F (2.7 °C). Average July temperatures range from 92.3 °F (33.5 °C) to 53.1 °F (11.7 °C). The record high temperature of 111 °F (44 °C) occurred on July 23, 2006. The record low temperature of 12 °F (−11 °C) was recorded on December 22, 1990.

Average annual rainfall is 37.79 inches (960 mm) with measurable precipitation falling on an average of 66 days each year. The wettest year was 1983 with 75.38 inches (1,915 mm) and the dryest year was 1976 with 12.43 inches (316 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 32.06 inches (814 mm) in February 1986. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 8.10 inches (206 mm) on February 17, 1986. Snow often falls in the nearby mountains during the winter months, but is rare in Calistoga. On January 3, 1974, 3.0 inches of snow fell in the city.[2]


Petrified Forest

The Upper Napa Valley was once the home of a significant population of Indigenous People, called the Wappo during the Spanish colonial era of the late 1700’s. With abundant oak trees providing acorns as a food staple and the natural hot springs as a healing ground Calistoga was the site of several villages. Following Mexican Independence, mission properties were secularized and disposed of by the Mexican government with much of the Napa Valley being partitioned into large ranchos in the 1830s and 1840s. The first Anglo settlers began arriving in the 1840’s, with several taking up lands in the Calistoga area.

Samuel Brannan was the leader of a settlement expedition on the ship Brooklyn landing in Yerba Buena (San Francisco) in 1846. He published San Francisco's first English language newspaper, the California Star. Following the discovery of gold in Coloma, Brannan pursued many business ventures, which made him California’s first millionaire and became a leader in San Francisco's Committee of Vigilance. Fascinated by Calistoga’s natural hot springs, Brannan purchased more than 2,000 acres (8 km2) with the intent to develop a spa reminiscent of Saratoga Springs in New York. He is said [3] to have intended to state "I'll make this place the Saratoga of California," but to have in fact uttered "the Calistoga of Sarifornia." His Hot Springs Resort surrounding Mt Lincoln with the Spa/Hotel located at what is now Indian Springs Resort, opened to California's rich and famous in 1862. In 1868 Brannan's Napa Valley Railroad Company's track was completed to Calistoga. This provided an easier travel option for ferry passengers making the journey from San Francisco. With the addition of railroad service, Calistoga became not only a destination, but also the transportation hub for the upper valley and a gateway to Lake and Sonoma Counties. A 6 meter diorama of this early Calistoga can be seen in the Sharpsteen Museum.

Calistoga's economy was based on mining (silver and mercury) agriculture (grapes, prunes and walnuts) and tourism (the hot springs). One of the early visitors was Robert Louis Stevenson. He had yet to write his great novels, met Fanny Vandegrift in France, followed her to San Francisco and, after she had obtained a divorce, married her in May, 1880. Three days later they were on their way to honeymoon at the Calistoga Hot Springs Hotel. Desiring to stay in the area, they moved from the hotel to an abandoned cabin at the nearby Silverado Mine on Mount Saint Helena. While working on other stories Stevenson kept a journal which became the Silverado Squatters describing many local features, residents and characters.

Calistoga City Hall

Calistoga made national headlines in 1881 when Anson Tichenor claimed that he had invented a way to extract gold from the waters of the hot springs. Tichenor's invention was soon proved to be a fraud.

In 1920, Giuseppe Musante, a soda fountain and candy store owner in Calistoga, was drilling for a cold water well at the Railway Exchange when he tapped into a hot water source. In 1924 he set up a bottling line and began selling Calistoga Sparkling Mineral Water. The company became a major player in the bottled water business after Elwood Springer bought the small bottling plant in 1970 known today as Calistoga Water Company.

Today, Calistoga retains its charm of yesteryear with a walkable downtown much as it was when spa visitors arrived by train.

At the very top of the Napa Valley, centrally located between Napa and Sonoma counties, Calistoga remains the historic hot springs resort destination of wine, water, and wellness.

Named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2001, Calistoga enables a visitor to see wine country as it was before freeways and fast food - only two-lane roads lead there and fast food franchises are banned by law.

Scenes from the Disney movie "Bedtime Stories" starring Adam Sandler were filmed in Calistoga in June, 2008.[4] Local folklore holds that the town supposedly got its name from a Spoonerism uttered by Sam Brannan. He is alleged to have said (perhaps after sampling the local vintages) that the location would become the 'Calistoga of Sarifornia'. He had meant to say the 'Saratoga of California', comparing it to the famous hot springs of that New York town.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 5,190 people, 2,042 households, and 1,243 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,997.4 people per square mile (770.7/km²). There were 2,249 housing units at an average density of 865.5/sq mi (334.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.65% White, 0.33% Black or African American, 0.98% Native American, 0.98% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 17.61% from other races, and 3.43% from two or more races. 38.11% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,042 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,454, and the median income for a family was $44,375. Males had a median income of $32,344 versus $29,844 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,134. About 5.2% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.


In the state legislature Calistoga is located in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Pat Wiggins, and in the 7th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Noreen Evans. Calistoga is located in California's 1st congressional district, currently represented in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Mike Thompson.

Tourist attractions

Old Faithful Geyser of California (Erupting Geothermal Well)
Calistoga Water Truck Sculpture

Calistoga is at the north end of the Napa Valley Calistoga AVA, part of California's Wine Country. Thus there are numerous wineries within a short drive. Calistoga itself, however, is noted for its hot springs spas, a local specialty being immersion in hot volcanic ash known as a mud bath. Nearby attractions include an artificial geothermal geyser known as the Old Faithful of California.

Notable people

John Wilkinson

Dr John Wilkinson, 1914-2004 was a creator of the current spa industry in California. A California native, he first came to Calistoga in 1946 and leased the Pacheateau Resort now known as Indian Springs. In 1952, he and his wife Edy founded Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs. A chiropractor and physical therapist, "Doc" spent his early years in Mexico under the study of Dr. Edmound Szekely, founder of Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico to be later affiliated with The Golden Door. "Doc" served as the mayor of Calistoga, with his wide Edy and they were named "Entrepreneurs of the Year" by CALTIA in 1998. His innovation in alternative health care as a chiropractor and visionary was catalytic in the promotion of the "spa" industry and phenomenon in the U.S. of the "spa" movement. Dr. Wilkinson was instrumental in the combination of alternative therapies and was grandfathered as the first chiropractor deemed Registered Physical Therapist in a landmark California decision with respect to licensing of R.P.T. As an originator of "alternative therapy", i.e. massage, hot tubs, unique health care and preventative medicine, he consulted with luminaries such as Dr. Ornish, Dr. William Tiller, Jack La Lanne and others. His patients included many California and U.S. notables. His followers include luminaries such as Mr. and Mrs Joseph Koret, Moria Archbold, Natalia Makarova, Mrs Charles Crocker, Mrs. Caspar Weinberger, Mrs. George Romney, Dick Vermeil, Rudolf Nureyev and a host of others. "Doc" Wilkinson is considered a founder of the "spa" industry as it has become today. Prior to "Doc" , there were literally no "spas". His vision enabled and changed alternative "therapy" into the now common "spa" which now exists throughout the U.S. Prior to him, there was no such "industry".


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