National Register of Historic Places in Napa County
The Francis House is believed to be the only stone residence in the Second Empire style in Napa County. It exhibits a high degree of craftsmanship attained by local stonemasons in the 19th century which is usually seen in winery rather than domestic architecture.
The Francis House, built for James H. Francis, Calistoga merchant and rancher, is one of two Second Empire residences in Calistoga. It complements the Palmer House which is also in the Second Empire style but in wood. The two residences are the only architect-designed houses remaining of this era of the 1870s and 1880s in Calistoga which an era of prosperity in Napa County.
James Francis owned a mercantile store and several ranches, including one producing silver ore just north of Calistoga. His brother, George M. Francis, was owner of The Napa Register newspaper in the City of Napa.
In 1918 the Francis House was converted to a hospital and served as the Calistoga Hospital until 1964.
When the Francis House was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it already "[stood] in rapidly deteriorating condition."
Source: NRHP nomination form.
Ten Threatened Treasures in Napa County
This property was on a list of ten threatened historic properties compiled in 2015 by Napa County Landmarks:
When we photographed the Francis House in 2017, restoration was in progress. After the restoration was completed in 2018, The Francis House opened as a luxury inn with five rooms. The owner kindly provided us a photograph for publication here.