FOLSOM POWERHOUSE STATE HISTORIC PARK
The Folsom Powerhouse is part of a colorful chapter of Sacramento history and is also an example of the tremendous advance in the commercial application of electricity. H.P. Livermore realized that the water of the American River could turn generators for electricity in Sacramento, 22 miles downstream. With his partners, Livermore built the powerhouse, which still looks much as it did in 1895.
The opening of the powerhouse brought with it a "grand electric carnival" parade through downtown Sacramento and a 100-gun salute from a detachment of soldiers near the substation. Vintage generators are still in place at the powerhouse, as is the control switchboard, faced with Tennessee marble.
Visitors touring the powerhouse can see the massive General Electric transformers, each capable of conducting from 800 to 11,000 volts of electricity, in addition to the forebays and canal system that brought the water from the dam.
The Folsom Powerhouse, located in California, was one of the first alternating current (AC) hydroelectric power stations. It began operations on July 13th, 1895 and served Sacramento for over half a century until it ceased operation in 1952.
Constructed by prison labor from nearby Folsom Prison under the direction of Horatio Gates Livermore and his sons Charles Edward and Josiah Howell Livermore; this powerhouse played an instrumental role during its time as it transmitted electricity to Sacramento at a distance which had never been achieved before - approximately twenty-two miles away.
In recognition of its historical significance related to early electrical engineering innovation, The American Society Of Mechanical Engineers declared it as National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark No.16 in June1976. Later that year on December14th ,the site also received designation as both California Historical Landmark #633and U.S.National Register Of Historic Places NRHP Reference#76000512
Today,the former operational buildings have been preserved within their original setting along with some equipment remnants providing visitors insight into late-19th-century industrial technology development.The park is managed by the California Department of Parks & Recreation offering educational tours about hydropower history.