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The History of Healdsburg's Camellia Inn

Lucy Lewand is proud to be part of the longest family-owned and operated Inn in the Healdsburg area. She strives, along with her innkeepers, to combine modern business innovations with the charm and hospitality that made her parents so popular as innkeepers.

Built in 1871

The building that is now the Camellia Inn played a historic role in Healdsburg. Contractor, William H. Middleton built the Inn as a home for pioneer Ransome Powell in 1871. Powell, the son of a Tennessee farmer, was a tailor before fighting in the Mexican War.

He came to California in 1849 with the Gold Rush. Failing to find gold, he began to earn a living by hauling freight. Settling in Healdsburg in 1856, he began several ventures but it was in real estate that he made his fortune.

First Healdsburg Hospital

In 1892, Powell built a new home and sold the North Street residence to Dr. J. W. Seawell in 1908. Dr. Seawell established the first Healdsburg hospital in the east wing of his home. It was a five-room sanitarium, called Healdsburg General; a doctor's visit cost $2.00.

Dr. Seawell and his partner, Dr. Frank E. Sohler, were hard-working physicians who insisted on the best equipment and the latest medical technology for their north county hospital.

The Seawell Family

The hospital eventually expanded and moved to a new location. The Seawell family retained ownership of the home until 1969.

Mrs. Hooper, the new owner, and her twin daughters, kept the gold lettering "Dr. J. Walter Seawell," on the transom window until 1975.

Ray & Delmas Lewand

Ray and Delmas (Del) Lewand purchased the home in 1981. Looking for a small town atmosphere, the Lewands moved from Southern California and opened the Camellia Inn as one of the first licensed bed and breakfast Inn in the area. Daughter Lucy joined them in running the Inn after completing her Masters in Business Administration from University of California at Los Angeles. Ray and Del were involved in the daily running of the Inn until Del's passing in 2006.

A Family Affair

Although now mostly retired, Ray still helps from time-to-time by delighting guests with his vast knowledge of area wineries.  Some evenings, Ray can be found at the Inn pouring some our wonderful local wines.

If your call is answered by a deep voiced Scottish brogue, that will be Lucy's partner Archie providing the European touch.

A Happy History

Although, the Inn has a long and colorful history it must have been a very happy history as since the removal of the water-tower it is poltergeist-free.