You Can Tour One Of America's First Power Stations At Folsom Powerhouse State Park In Northern California
The world has Northern California to thank for all types of inventions that we can’t picture life without today,
from Apple computers to martinis. We’ve even played a prominent role in the history of electricity! When the Folsom Powerhouse was first opened, it was one of the first examples of significant electrical power being generated so that it could be shipped across long distances. The power station shut down decades ago, but its role in history lives on at Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park.
Explore a unique piece of Northern California history at Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park. Home to one of the oldest hydroelectric power stations in the country, this place is an incredible find!
The Folsom Powerhouse represents a colorful chapter of history in the Sacramento region. It was here that a man named H.P. Livermore realized that power generated from the American River could be used for electricity in Sacramento, which was 22 miles downstream.
Before the Folsom Powerhouse was built, most electric powerhouses used direct current generators and they had to be within a short distance of where power was needed. However, the Folsom Powerhouse used alternating current (AC) power, which could be transmitted long distances to wherever it was needed.
The opening of the powerhouse in 1895 was a big deal. It even resulted in a "grand electric carnival" parade and a 100-gun salute! Today, you can still see the very same vintage generators and control switchboard that was used way back then.
The powerhouse site was turned into a 35-acre historic park in 1956, just four years after the power station shut down its operations. Visitors can tour the original powerhouse and see the massive General Electric transformers, each of which was responsible for converting the electrical power to high voltage so that it could be transmitted to Sacramento over a 22-mile-long distribution line - one of the longest lines in the U.S. at the time.
Group tours are available throughout the week by special arrangement. Led by knowledgeable docents, these tours are a great way to understand the prominent role the Folsom Powerhouse played in California history.
The park is located near the town of Folsom and can be reached from Highway 50 or I-80. Learn more about what the park has to offer by visiting the California State Parks
Have you been to this historic state park in Northern California? This unique destination would make for a fantastic and informative day trip! Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Explore Northern California
Folsom Powerhouse | State Historic Park, 9980 Greenback Ln, Folsom, CA 95630, USA