History Worth Revisiting
If you haven’t been to Folsom lately, you might not realize all it offers. Like its rich history. Folsom’s past is full of exciting stories and characters, from the Gold Rush to innovations that are still with us today.
Stories of Yesteryear
Folsom’s rich heritage is visible throughout the region, in museums and historical sites, but also in buildings like those found on Sutter Street and in the Historic District, and on trails along the American River. Explore living history through walking tours of Sutter Street or take a cooking class in the historic Murer House.
Historical Sites to Explore in Folsom
Documenting the area’s history, the Folsom History Museum offers a thorough overview that starts with the home of the Nisenan to the Gold Rush, the arrival of the railroad, agriculture, and modern history from the 1960s through current times, highlighting the interwoven history of innovation.
Kids and kids-at-heart will enjoy exploring this outdoor museum and maker space in the heart of Historic Folsom. Try your hand at gold panning and a working blacksmith forge! There’s also a miner’s cabin and an authentic Southern Pacific Railroad caboose.
A formidable example of early innovation in Folsom, the Powerhouse was one of the first in the nation to transmit high voltage alternating current over long-distance transmission lines. Built in 1895 by H.P. Livermore, the Powerhouse remains much the same as it was when it opened over 100 years ago. Check out the enormous General Electric transformers. Each one can conduct 800 to 11,000 volts of electricity!
Folsom Prison opened in 1880 and was the first prison in the United States with electricity and the second-oldest prison in California. While it’s better known for musician Johnny Cash’s iconic performance in 1968, the prison has a fascinating history of its own.
The Folsom Prison Museum offers a look into that history, with expositions, displays, memorabilia, and even an eight-foot motorized Ferris wheel created by a prisoner in the 1930s, made of a quarter million toothpicks.
The advent of the Gold Rush drove innovation in Folsom, most importantly, the railroad. Folsom Depot was home to the first passenger train service in the state as part of the Sacramento Valley Railroad. Today, you can visit the museum, housed in a Sante Fe passenger car in Historic Folsom, along with the neighboring Historic Railroad Turntable.