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Kelseyville, California

Coordinates: 38°58′41″N 122°50′22″W / 38.97806°N 122.83944°W / 38.97806; -122.83944
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Kelseyville, California
The Brick House, downtown Kelseyville
The Brick House, downtown Kelseyville
Location within Lake County and the state of California
Location within Lake County
and the state of California
Coordinates: 38°58′41″N 122°50′22″W / 38.97806°N 122.83944°W / 38.97806; -122.83944
CountryUnited States
 • Total2.891 sq mi (7.487 km2)
 • Land2.885 sq mi (7.472 km2)
 • Water0.006 sq mi (0.015 km2)  0.20%
Elevation1,384 ft (422 m)
 • Total3,382
 • Density1,200/sq mi (450/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code707
FIPS code06-38044
GNIS feature ID0277532

Kelseyville is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lake County, California,[2] located six miles (9.7 kilometers) southeast of Lakeport,[3] at an elevation of 1,384 feet (422 meters).[2] Its population was 3,382 according to the 2020 United States census.[4]



The area has been formerly designated by European American settlers Kelsey[5] or Kelsey Creek, after Andrew Kelsey,[6][7] one of the first Anglo-American settlers in Lake County, and his brother Benjamin Kelsey.[8][9] Both men, along with Charles Stone and E.D. Shirland, acquired Salvador Vallejo's livestock in the Clear Lake area in 1847. Andrew Kelsey and Charles Stone were killed in 1849 in an uprising against him by bands of Wappo and Eastern Pomo whom they had enslaved. This episode led to the Bloody Island Massacre in May of 1850.[10]

The town was also sometimes designated Uncle Sam[6] after Mount Uncle Sam, the name soldiers gave to Mount Konocti when they set up camp there in 1850.[3] The Kelseyville name first appears in records in the 1860s[11], the result of lobbying on the part of William and Barthena Kelsay, who arrived with the Harriman Party in Lake County in 1861, "in honor of their Kelsey cousins".[12] Voter registration records list the town as "Kelsey" in the 1860s, and the area is designated "Kelsey Creek" in the 1870 U.S. Census while voter records list "Kelseyville" in the same decade, that name also appearing in the 1880 U.S. Census. The name was officialized by federal authorities when the Uncle Sam Post Office was renamed to Kelseyville in October 1882.[13][3] Kelseyville has also been nicknamed "Peartown" for its significant pear orchards planted during the Prohibition era.[14]

The Kelseyville name has been the source of controversy since at least the 1980s[15] because of its association with Andrew and Ben Kelsey. Several attempts have been made through petitions to suggest a name change[16].[17] In 2020, a group of local community and tribal members, Citizens for Healing, formed in order to change Kelseyville’s name. The group originally planned a petition to put the issue on the ballot[16] (another petition was launched online in 2020,[18]), until they were informed of another option. The group filed a petition in October 2023 with the United States Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) requesting to rename the town “Konocti”, after the mountain dominating the town’s landscape.[19][20] The California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names is expected to provide a recommendation as part of the process. The initiative has triggered opposition from another group, which has been campaigning under the “Save Kelseyville” slogan, arguing a renaming could be costly and cause confusion. A decision from the USBGN is expected in 2024.[19]

19th century[edit]

In the centuries before Europeans arrived, the Eastern Pomo and Clear Lake Wappo people lived along the shores of Clear Lake. In addition to the plentiful fish caught in the lake and streams, they hunted waterfowl and gathered berries, seeds, clover and acorn. The Pomo and Wappo built homes and canoes of tule reeds found at the lakeshore.

Charles Stone and Andrew Kelsey were reportedly the first Anglo-American colonists in the region arriving in the fall of 1847 to graze cattle and horses purchased from Californio landholder Salvador Vallejo. Stone and Kelsey enslaved the Pomo and Wappo people, forcing them to work under threat of torture and death. Many native people died of starvation and neglect. Stone and Kelsey were also known to rape native women and girls.[21] Kelseyville became the first white settlement in Lake County. The first blacksmith shop was opened by a blacksmith named Benham in 1857. It was not until 1864 that a second business was opened, a store owned by T. F. Fall. That same year, another general store and a boarding house was opened by Rosenbreau and Pace.[22]


Kelsey Creek runs through the town and ends in Clear Lake.[3]

The Kelseyville zip code also encompasses part of Big Valley, Soda Bay, Riviera Heights, Buckingham Park, Riviera West and Kelseyville Riviera neighborhoods. The community also encompasses Clear Lake State Park and Mount Konocti County Park.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.9 square miles (7.5 square kilometers), with over 99 percent of it being land.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[23][4]


The 2010 United States Census[24] reported that Kelseyville had a population of 3,353. The population density was 1,159.9 inhabitants per square mile (447.8/km2). The racial makeup of Kelseyville was 2,213 (66.0%) White, 22 (0.7%) African American, 51 (1.5%) Native American, 32 (1.0%) Asian, 2 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 888 (26.5%) from other races, and 145 (4.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,337 persons (39.9%).

The Census reported that 3,349 people (99.9% of the population) lived in households, 4 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 1,224 households, out of which 438 (35.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 574 (46.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 173 (14.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 75 (6.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 80 (6.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 13 (1.1%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 323 households (26.4%) were made up of individuals, and 163 (13.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74. There were 822 families (67.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.31.

The population was spread out, with 883 people (26.3%) under the age of 18, 298 people (8.9%) aged 18 to 24, 783 people (23.4%) aged 25 to 44, 912 people (27.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 477 people (14.2%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.

There were 1,329 housing units at an average density of 459.7 per square mile (177.5/km2), of which 785 (64.1%) were owner-occupied, and 439 (35.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.7%; the rental vacancy rate was 7.0%. 1,992 people (59.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,357 people (40.5%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[25] of 2000, there were 2,928 people, 1,095 households, and 724 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 905.5 inhabitants per square mile (349.6/km2). There were 1,175 housing units at an average density of 363.4 per square mile (140.3/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 76.98% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 2.66% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 14.58% from other races, and 4.75% from two or more races. 28.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,095 households, out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 28.4% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $24,363, and the median income for a family was $28,958. Males had a median income of $26,758 versus $20,036 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $15,651. About 12.8% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.7% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.


Kelseyville is part of the North Coast American Viticultural Area. The Kelseyville area also includes parts of the Big Valley District, Kelsey Bench and Red Hills AVAs. Other notable crops include walnuts, pears, olives, and cannabis. The community is home to the largest producer of organic saffron in California, Peace and Plenty Farm.,[26] as well as the Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa.

Kelseyville is also home to several wineries, an olive mill, packing facilities, as well as to Stokes Ladders, an orchard and industrial ladder manufacturer.[27] Several wine tasting rooms and a brewpub are located in downtown Kelseyville.[28]

Since 1993, the town hosts the annual Kelseyville Pear Festival on the last Saturday in September.[29]


In the California State Legislature, Kelseyville is in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Mike McGuire, and in the 4th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.[30]

Federally, Kelseyville is in California's 4th congressional district, represented by Democrat Mike Thompson.[31]

Kelseyville is served by the Kelseyville Fire District, headquartered at station 55, on the town's Main Street.


Public education in Kelseyville is facilitated by the Kelseyville Unified School District (KVUSD), which includes Kelseyville Elementary, Monte Vista Middle School and Kelseyville High School. Shade Canyon Public Charter School opened in 2023 in Kelseyville, providing instruction from kindergarten through second grade, with plans to add a grade each year.[32]


Stone and Kelsey Home[edit]

The site of the adobe home Charles Stone and Andrew Kelsey forced local Native Americans to build them in the 1840s is located at the corner of Main Street and Bell Hill Road, immediately west of Kelsey Creek. Nothing is left of the home, which materials were salvavged by later white settlers.[33] Stone and Kelsey's remains are under the monument,[34] which is is designated as California Historical Landmark No. 426.[35]

The Brick Tavern[edit]

Located at the corner of Main and Third Streets, the Brick Tavern, also known as the Brick House or the Kelseyville Tavern, was built in 1872 by Steve Tucker, possibly using bricks made from the kiln at the Sulphur Bank Mine across Clear Lake. Over the years, it served as a carriage stop, a hotel, a bar, a restaurant and a school, among other uses. It currently hosts an eponymously named saloon as well as a pizzeria. It was designated in 1961 as the "oldest commercial building" by the Lake County Historical Society and the Kelseyville Womens Club.


The first newspaper in Kelseyville was The New Era, published in 1890. In 1901, The Kelseyville Sun was started by McEwen & McEwen. In 1912, they sold The Sun to E. E. Bryant.[22] The Sun publication ceased in 1942.[36]


  1. ^ U.S. Census Archived 2 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Kelseyville, California
  3. ^ a b c d Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 87. ISBN 1-884995-14-4.
  4. ^ a b "Kelseyville CDP, California". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Discovery of Gas". Russian River Flag. Vol. I, no. 24. 14 March 1866.
  6. ^ a b "The Knave". Oakland Tribune. Vol. 168, no. 12. 12 January 1958. p. 76.
  7. ^ "Neighborly Kelseyville... Pear Capital". The Press Democrat. Vol. 92, no. 214. 5 September 1948.
  8. ^ "Kelseys were pioneers for north section". The Press Democrat. Vol. XLIX, no. 70. 21 September 1921.
  9. ^ "Death of Lake County Pioneer". Napa Weekly Journal. Vol. XXV, no. 51. 9 April 1909.
  10. ^ Bloody Island (Bo-no-po-ti). Archived 7 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine The Historical Marker Database. 18 June 2007 (retrieved 27 February 2009)
  11. ^ "Feeling at Clear Lake". Sacramento Daily Union. Vol. 29, no. 4391. 18 April 1865.
  12. ^ Mauldin, Henry, Mauldin Files, vol. 44, p. 8302
  13. ^ "Postal Changes". Ukiah Dispatch Democrat. 13 October 1882.
  14. ^ "Scenic route to redwoods inspires awe". The Los Angeles Times. 11 June 1950.
  15. ^ "Town should change its name". Ukiah Daily Journal. 9 August 1989.
  16. ^ a b "Lake County group working to change the name of Kelseyville to redress violence against tribes". The Press Democrat. 24 March 2022.
  17. ^ "Kelseyville's name under scrutiny". Lake County Record-Bee. 20 September 2007.
  18. ^ "Petition to change the name of Kelseyville gains traction online". KZYX. 14 July 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Kelseyville was named for a man who slaughtered Native Americans. Should a town still be named for him?". The Press Democrat. 16 February 2024.
  20. ^ "Quarterly Review List 454" (PDF), United States Board on Geographic Names, 23 January 2024
  21. ^ Madley, Benjamin (2016). An American genocide : the United States and the California Indian catastrophe, 1846-1873. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-18136-4.
  22. ^ a b Aurelius O. Carpenter; Percy H. Millberry (1914). History of Mendocino and Lake Counties, California: With Biographical Sketches of the Leading, Men and Women of the Counties who Have Been Identified with Their Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present. Historic record Company. p. 778.
  23. ^ "Kelseyville CCD, Lake County, California". Census.gov.
  24. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Kelseyville CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 23 April 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  25. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 31 January 2008.
  26. ^ "The spice that's more expensive than gold", ABC 10, 23 December 2023
  27. ^ "Ladder businesses still standing in orchard industry", Good Fruit Grower, 2 May 2024
  28. ^ "Fore Family tasting room opens Saturday". 25 February 2016. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  29. ^ "This Pear-Themed Festival In Northern California Has Been Going Strong Since 1993". Only in Your State. 3 August 2023. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  30. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Archived from the original on 1 February 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  31. ^ "California's 4th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  32. ^ Carboni, Nikki (13 September 2023). "Shade Canyon school opens in Kelseyville". Lake County Record-Bee. Retrieved 22 June 2024.
  33. ^ Mauldin Files, vol. 13, p. 2516
  34. ^ Mauldin, Henry, Mauldin Files, vol. 6, p. 1119
  35. ^ "Lake". CA State Parks. California State Parks, State of California. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  36. ^ "Kelseyville Loses Only Newspaper". Healdsburg Tribune. 4 December 1942.

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