Introduction to Folsom, California
The California city of Folsom is located in Sacramento County, about 22 miles northeast of the state capital of Sacramento. A large network of area freeways encompasses the city, and these include Interstate I-80 and U.S. Route 50. Surrounding communities include Loomis (to the north), Carmichael (to the west), Rancho Cordova (to the southwest) and El Dorado Hills (to the east).
Folsom traces its origins to the mid-nineteenth century, when gold was discovered in the area and massive mining operations were set up. At the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, U.S. Army Captain Joseph Folsom purchased 35,000 acres of land and planned a town site near one of the mining spots. Envisioning the site as a future railroad stop, Folsom named the new town "Granite City." His vision was realized posthumously in 1856 when the first train on the West's first railroad arrived in the town from Sacramento. Subsequently, Folsom's successors renamed the town in his memory and several decades later, construction began on Folsom Prison. The facility, designed to relieve over-crowding at San Quentin, opened in 1880. Folsom made history in 1895 when the first long-distance transmission of electricity (22 miles) was made from Folsom to Sacramento. Incorporated in 1946, Folsom is best known today as a popular middle-class suburb which is home to the largest employer in the Sacramento area, Intel.
The city of Folsom is rich in historic sites and attractions. The Folsom State Prison, popularized in a Johnny Cash song, became the state's second prison upon its completion in 1880. Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park is an historical site whose hydroelectric powerhouse first delivered power to Sacramento in 1895 and remained in operation until 1952. The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary is not a "mainstream" zoo, but instead more of an animal sanctuary which happens to be open to the public. Many of its animals were raised and rejected as wild pets. Others were injured or orphaned in the wild. All have names and personalities, and their individual stories and information about their species are posted at the exhibits. The Folsom History Museum is housed in a reconstruction of the Wells Fargo & Company Assay Office built in 1860 by Wells Fargo agents in Folsom. The Folsom Dam, constructed non-stop from 1948 until 1956, is one of the most interesting and overlooked attractions in Folsom. One of the city's biggest traditions is the annual Folsom Rodeo. A Fourth of July staple for many years, the event kicks off with a community picnic and concert at the city park, followed later by a cattle drive down Folsom's historic Sutter Street, where cowboys and Folsom dignitaries round up the cattle at high noon and parade them down the streets for public viewing. Events at the rodeo itself include bull riding, bronco riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and more. The rodeo culminates with a large fireworks display visible throughout the city.