The Sam Brannan Cottage was built in 1862 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1983. NHRP states it significance for being the last of the 25 guest cottages of Sam Brannan’s Calistoga Hot Springs Resort remaining on its original site, complete with “weedy palm” as described by Robert Louis Stevenson in the Silverado Squatters. The development of the area’s geothermal resource by Brannan was extremely significant to the commercial growth of the 19th Century Napa County and quickly inspired many other such resorts for which the valley became famous and remains so today.
The cottage’s architecture utilizes classical elements to convey a feeling of civilization and leisure in the rugged early days of Calistoga in the 1860s. Brannan’s selection of this design with gabled roofs and large arch-enclosed porches was enhanced by great attention to the landscaping around the hot springs, including the palm tree planted in front of each cottage. Today, the majority of the now-mature palms tower over the small town, still marking the original location of the cottages.