You may notice, when you turn onto our street, that some of the street signs call it Wappo Avenue, while others call it Wapoo. Your GPS may find one spelling right away and come up blank on the other.
It’s one of those only-in-Calistoga stories.
The area’s first inhabitants were the Mishewal-Wappo, a Native American tribe. Arriving on the scene in the 19th century, Calistoga founder Sam Brannan named the street after the tribe, or so he thought, but as with the Saratoga of California, it didn’t come out quite right–and Wapoo it was, until 2003.
That’s when local high school students and many townspeople joined current Wappo tribe members, asking the City Council to get the spelling right as a matter of respect for the first residents. Some members of the business community supported the concept but worried about the far-reaching practical difficulties a street name change would cause.
In response, the City Council officially changed the street’s name to Wappo Avenue, and ordered three of the six street signs changed to the new name while the other three kept the old spelling. This ingenious solution has been in place ever since.
Welcome to the Brannan Cottage Inn blog! I’m thrilled to kick this off on the decidedly celebratory day that is July 4th and tell you what we have in store for future guests and friends of the reimagined Brannan Cottage Inn. This beautiful and elegant lady is being redressed to the nines and I’ll be able to share some enticing glimpses in the coming weeks and months. And I can’t wait for you to see her for yourself.
Calistoga is a special place, and this Inn is a particularly special part of this town’s history and character. This friendly, casual, genuine town of 5,000 people, surrounded by the stunning Palisades and Mayacamas mountains, has been my home for over twenty years and I can’t imagine living anyplace else. As someone who’s enthralled by history in general, to work every day in an 1860 landmark building (with eleven foot ceilings yet) is a privilege. Thanks to the superb diorama of the original Calistoga Hot Springs resort at the Sharpsteen Museum here in town (a must-see), my mind can drift 150 years back in time, to Sam Brannan’s time, and what it was like in this very spot where we are today. And the best part is, this grand Italianate Victorian, kind of a western town’s take on a farmhouse on a grand scale, has never looked better and has been lovingly preserved for future generations.
I feel lucky to be part of the team here at the BCI and will most likely be the person who greets you when you arrive, or steer you in a direction to sample our exceptional wine, food, art, spa magic and hospitality for a surprising and hopefully unforgettable stay. My job is easy: I get to invite people to come here to have an amazing time in this enchanted part of Napa Valley. And since I know this part of the world like the back of my hand, including some well-kept secrets that I suspect you’ll love (we’ll talk!), I’m excited to share these jewels with you, and have you fall in love with them too.
– Eden Umble, Marketing & Hospitality Director
Brannan Cottage Inn