In 1892 Edward S. Churchill had the 10,000 square foot Cedar Gables Inn built by the famous English architect Ernest Coxhead. It cost him a whopping $8000. It was a wedding present for his son E. Wilder Churchill and his bride Alice Ames. The couple had one daughter whom they named Dorothy. Mr. E. Wilder Churchill went into the banking business as a young man and also managed the famous Tokalon vineyard near Rutherford.
Cedar Gables Inn was best known for it's grand parties and elegant social gatherings. Both Mr and Mrs E Wilder Churchill were active in the artistic life of the community. She was a singer and he was a banker and an actor. Just after they moved into their new home E. Wilder and Alice entertained a merry company of young people with a two act farce then came dancing and general sociability. Less than a year later the couple again hosted a play at Cedar Gables. It was the social event of the year highlighted on the society page as "the home of Mr and Mrs E. Wilder Churchill again the scene of Mirth and Merriment." The pair performed in many locations including the Cedar Gables and the Napa Valley Opera House.
In 1892 the Calistoga News printed that the new residence of E. W Churchill on the corner of Oak and Union (now Coombs Street) was fast approaching completion.
The article described how the style of the house was somewhat like that of the Victorian-English Tudor of 1564 "fashioned during the days of Shakespeare and entirely different from that of any other residence in this city." "Nothing of the kind can be found in the state with the possible exception of Alameda" (a small version of Cedar Gables also built by Ernest Coxhead) the article concluded.
The day it was completed, Friday Oct 21, 1892 the Napa register noted "On the corner of Oak and Union streets stands one of the most unique dwellings in Napa County." It became one of the big 4 mansions in the Napa Abajo/Fuller Park National Register Historic District.
Over the years The Cedar Gables has had many owners, and has been home to many people.
In the 1930's Cedar Gables became a boarding house supporting upwards of 33 rooms. During World War II it housed military nurses. It became a single family home again for a while and then was turned into a luxury spa for women. Cedar Gables has many intriguing rooms, a winding staircase, and sliding paneled doorways. The picturesque tower lends a slightly Medieval air to the mansion as does the bronze soldier who stands guard on the mezzanine level.
Originally, the downstairs was not carpeted. It was kept well oiled and waxed in such a manner as to render itself to turn of the century fancy balls and gala parties galore.