Folsom Powerhouse

Off Folsom Blvd. in Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, Folsom, California


Folsom Powerhouse

Photo from the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress


Street View 


In 1895, this hydroelectric generating plant sent high-voltage alternating current over long-distance lines for the first time, a major advance in the technology of electric power transmission and generation. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, May 29, 1981

"OLD FOLSOM POWERHOUSE - In the 1850s, Horatio Gates Livermore and later his sons, Horatio P. and Charles E., pioneered the development of ditches and dams on the American River for industry and agriculture. One historic result was Folsom Powerhouse, which began operations in July 1895. Power was delivered to Sacramento at 11,000 volts, a new achievement in long-distance high-voltage transmission which the capital celebrated by a grand electric carnival September 9, 1895. The original generating plant, still in place, remained in continuous operation until 1952. The plant was donated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to the State of California to preserve its historical values." California Historic Landmark No.633

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 2, 1973
Reference number
Areas of significance
Industry; Engineering
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Water works; Energy facility
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant years
1895; 1903
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 3
Contributing structures: 1

Update Log 

  • March 28, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information
  • March 10, 2016: New Street View added by Eric Polk