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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

St. Helena in Napa County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Robert Louis Stevenson

 
 
Robert Louis Stevenson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson, May 24, 2008
1. Robert Louis Stevenson Marker
Inscription.  In 1880 Robert Louis Stevenson, for health reasons, spent a week with his bride in one of Sam Brannan’s cottages in Calistoga. He then spent nearly two months on Mt. St. Helena at the old Silverado Mine, scene of the Silverado Squatters.
 
Erected 1980 by Sam Brannan Chapter No. 1004, E Clampus Vitus.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicScience & Medicine. In addition, it is included in the E Clampus Vitus series list.
 
Location. 38° 30.456′ N, 122° 28.173′ W. Marker is in St. Helena, California, in Napa County. Marker can be reached from Library Lane. The marker is located at the entrance to the Silverado Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1490 Library Lane, Saint Helena CA 94574, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Richie Block (approx. 0.2 miles away); NSGW & Historic District (approx. 0.3 miles away); Hudson House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Beringer Brothers Winery (approx. 0.7 miles
Robert Louis Stevenson Marker image. Click for full size.
By Diane Phillips
2. Robert Louis Stevenson Marker
At the entrance to the Silverado Museum the marker can be seen on the left.
away); Stonebridge (approx. 0.8 miles away); Charles Krug Winery (approx. 1.2 miles away); Cesare Mondavi 1883 – 1959 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Charles Krug 1825 - 1892 (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Helena.
 
Additional comments.
1. Robert Louis Stevenson 1850--1894
Born in Edinburgh in 1850 and educated at Edinburgh University, Robert Louis Stevenson had no inclination to follow the family profession of lighthouse engineering, nor, although a qualified barrister, to practice law. His one interest was in writing.

While traveling in France in 1876, he met and fell in love with a charming American, Mrs. Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. Unhappily married, she had come with her two children to the small art colony of Grez to study painting. Three years later, Stevenson followed her to America. She secured her divorce in December 1879 and six months later the couple was married in San Francisco on May 19, 1880. While waiting to marry Fanny, Stevenson had lived in Monterey and San Francisco, where fogs played havoc with lungs weak from boyhood. He was in an advanced stage of tuberculosis
Silverado Museum image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson, May 24, 2008
3. Silverado Museum
at the time of his marriage, and, to improve his health, the couple came to the Napa Valley on May 22. A week in one of Sam Brannan's cottages at the hot springs spa in Calistoga proved ruinously expensive for the Stevenson's—ten dollars a week for board and room! They then found free lodging in an abandoned bunkhouse at the old Silverado Mine on Mount St. Helena. They evicted the resident rattlesnakes, cleared out the poison oak, and settled in for nearly two months. The mountain air restored the groom's health.

His parents settled a generous annual income on him, and, with his bride, he returned to Scotland. There his health soon failed again and a long trek began in search of a congenial climate. During two winters at Davos Platz in Switzerland he relived his stay on Mount St. Helena in The Silverado Squatters, and in Treasure Island, also partially written in Switzerland. He recalled the terrain around Monterey, while Mount St. Helena became Spyglass. The Stevensons next moved to Hyeres, France, where their stay was ended by a cholera scare in the next town. They then fled to Bournemouth on the south coast of England, where they lived from 1884 to 1887, with Stevenson in the worst health he had known. However, some of his most notable works belong to this period: Kidnapped, A Child's Garden of Verses, and the world famous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. After the death
Silverado Museum image. Click for full size.
By Loren Wilson
4. Silverado Museum
of his father, Stevenson, his wife, his widowed mother, and his step-son, Lloyd Osbourne, spent a winter at Saranac Lake, New York, a resort for tubercular patients. From there the Stevenson's returned to California just long enough to charter the schooner yacht "Casco" which took them through the Marquesas and Tahiti to Hawaii. Following a stay of five months there the Stevenson's went on to Samoa, where they built their home "Vailima" and Stevenson enjoyed four years of good health. At the end of a busy, happy day on December 3, 1894, he died of a cerebral hemorrhage, leaving behind him a legacy of over sixty books that he had written.

Seventy-five years after his death on December 14, 1969 the Silverado Museum, devoted to his life and works, was opened in St. Helena, California

Edward D. Hawkins, XNGH #1
    — Submitted April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.

2. Additional Information Regarding the Marker Dedication
Dean Hemphill was Noble Grand Humbug when this plaque was dedicated. Plaque wording by Edward D. Hawkins.
    — Submitted April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.
 
The Silverado Museum image. Click for full size.
By Diane Phillips
5. The Silverado Museum
Robert Louis Stevenson image. Click for full size.
6. Robert Louis Stevenson
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 16, 2012. This page has been viewed 1,106 times since then and 6 times this year. Last updated on August 26, 2020, by Diane Phillips of Pittsburg, California. Photos:   1. submitted on April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.   2. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Diane Phillips of Pittsburg, California.   3, 4. submitted on April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California.   5. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Diane Phillips of Pittsburg, California.   6. submitted on April 16, 2012, by Loren Wilson of Sebastopol, California. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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