Calistoga is a city in Napa County, California, United States. During the 2010 census, the population was 5,155.
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 18th century. With abundant oak trees providing acorns as a food staple and the natural hot springs as a healing ground Calistoga (Wappo: Nilektsonoma, “Chicken Hawk Place”) 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 1840s, 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 to have intended to say “I’ll make this place the Saratoga of California,” but to have in fact said “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. Yet to write his great novels, he had just married Fanny Vandegrift in San Francisco in May 1880, and the couple honeymooned at the Calistoga Hot Springs Hotel days later. 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 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 Sprenger bought the small bottling plant in 1970 known today as Calistoga Water Company.
Calistoga was named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2001.
Scenes from the Disney movie Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler were filmed in Calistoga in June 2008.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2), 99.30% of it land and 0.70% of it water.
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 temperatures 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. Calistoga has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa) according to the Köppen climate classification system.
Average annual rainfall is 37.56 inches (954 mm) with measurable precipitation falling on an average of 63 days each year. The wettest year was 1983 with 75.38 inches (1,915 mm) and the driest 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.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Calistoga had a population of 5,155. The population density was 1,972.4 people per square mile (761.5/km²). The racial makeup of Calistoga was 3,735 (72.5%) White, 27 (0.5%) African American, 21 (0.4%) Native American, 47 (0.9%) Asian, 10 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 968 (18.8%) from other races, and 347 (6.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2,545 persons (49.4%).
The Census reported that 5,100 people (98.9% of the population) lived in households, 20 (0.4%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 35 (0.7%) were institutionalized.
There were 2,019 households, out of which 630 (31.2%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 927 (45.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 189 (9.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 99 (4.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 141 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 20 (1.0%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 641 households (31.7%) were made up of individuals and 332 (16.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53. There were 1,215 families (60.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.23.
The population was spread out with 1,167 people (22.6%) under the age of 18, 400 people (7.8%) aged 18 to 24, 1,341 people (26.0%) aged 25 to 44, 1,283 people (24.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 964 people (18.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.0 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.
There were 2,319 housing units at an average density of 887.3 per square mile (342.6/km²), of which 1,166 (57.8%) were owner-occupied, and 853 (42.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.0%. 2,545 people (49.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,555 people (49.6%) lived in rental housing units.