Board members Susanne Salvestrin and John Sales greet former Mayor John Aquila at the Historical Society's booth at the St. Helena Harvest Festival, 2011.
The St. Helena Historical Society is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2002 by a small group of local citizens led by former library director Larry Hlavsa. Our mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and provide access to the history of the St. Helena area from the ancient settlements of the first Native Americans until the present day.
What we do
We achieve our mission by collecting photographs, documents, artifacts, books, oral histories, and other cultural objects, and then preserving and interpreting them to the public by means of exhibits, educational programs, lectures, public events, and publications. Our collection area roughly follows the boundaries of the St. Helena School District, which stretches north to Bale Lane and south to the edge of Yountville. The area also includes Pope Valley, Deer Park, and Angwin.
Why it’s important
St. Helena is known primarily as the center of the Napa Valley wine industry. That aspect of our heritage is a great source of pride and is well documented. It represents one aspect of our multifaceted history. The land upon which our heritage stone buildings and cottage-lined neighborhoods rest hosted a parade of pioneer-spirited populations from all over the globe drawn here by the richness of the land. The downtown core of St. Helena is a National Register Historic District. Many of the building’s historic exteriors reflect the commercial districts early days.
It is the rich diversity of heritage that the St. Helena Historical Society seeks to illuminate through our exhibits, educational programs, signature events, research services, oral history program and publications. We tell the stories that expose the impact of values held by our predecessors and inform the decisions we make today about our future.
The historical society is currently housed in donated space on the second floor of the St. Helena Library where we maintain a small office and collections storage space. As our collection grows and research requests increase, the need for a dedicated facility becomes more apparent. Our goal is to create the St. Helena History Center for the benefit of the entire St. Helena community. The Center would act to preserve, document and exhibit local history, provide a meeting place for local organizations and offer research facilities for local students and residents.
If you would like more information or wish to make a donation– either a monetary donation or donate to the collection– please contact us.