This small but mighty steam well was built back in the 1930s. It served a variety of purposes, but was especially useful when it came to cooking. Cooking with steam is a practice that goes back thousands of years. This particular steam well was used to boil eggs and cook pigs.
When vaporized (as in the case of steam), water is lighter than air. This is why steam naturally rises, allowing for the possibility of cooking over a well. In wells like this one, the steam would rise up and cook anything placed at the top. With temperatures around 150°F (60°C), steam wells provided an easy and natural way of cooking without the use of fire.
Steam wells were also built around Calistoga for the purposes of soaking. Back in the 1700s, the native Wappo Indian Tribe used steam and hot mineral water for soaking and bathing. The Wappos believed that the water held special healing properties. Carrying on with this philosophy and tradition, visitors travel far and wide even today to enjoy a soak in Calistoga's natural hot mineral water baths.
The Old Faithful Steam Well was constructed out of wood, cement, and volcanic rock, and is located right next to the famous Old Faithful Geyser of California. Now serving as a historical landmark, this well was taken out of commission and filled in due to the danger of steam causing
injury to visitors.