The town features some of the oldest buildings in Lake County and prospered in early years from nearby mining.
Historic Lower Lake is located at the southeastern end of Clear Lake where two major Native American trails crossed. Founded in the late 1850’s, the town soon became the center of commerce for the region.
Lake County was created out of the northern portion of Napa County in 1861. Lower Lake vied with Lakeport to become the county seat, succeeding in winning that distinction from 1867 to 1870.
The town features some of the oldest buildings in Lake County and prospered in early years from nearby mining of sulfur, borax and quicksilver. The first jail in Lake County, a stone structure of just one room, is said to be the smallest in the United States. It is California State Historical Landmark # 429.
The Lower Lake Historic Schoolhouse Museum, built in 1877, served as a schoolhouse until 1935. Due to the hard work of a grass-roots organization, the schoolhouse was restored and a fine museum opened in 1993.
The building has a distinctive Mansard roof, remodeled in 1906 after the great California earthquake damaged the bell tower. The 16-foot tall ceilings and nine-foot windows give the museum its true historic character. Displays include a schoolroom, Victorian parlor, gems and minerals, Native American and pioneer artifacts. The upper floor boasts an auditorium that serves as a venue for cultural and community events.
Other notable historic sights in Lower Lake are the Pioneer and Lower Lake Cemeteries, the Odd Fellows Hall, built in 1868, and the United Methodist Church, built in 1884. A very popular Bluegrass Festival, featuring well known artists, is held each September at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park just north of Lower Lake. The Park features a ranch house, archeological sites and nature trails.
Lower Lake offers a hometown shopping atmosphere with a variety of unique businesses, including a coffeeshop/cafe, wineries, and antique stores. In Lower Lake you can truly step back into rural America and “stroll around” enjoying history and shopping.