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Folsom Powerhouse

Built in the late 1800s by the Natoma Water and Mining Company and prison labor from Folsom Prison, the hydroelelectric powerhouse first delivered power to Sacramento in 1895 and remained in operation until 1952.

A diversion canal took water from the American River to four 8-foot tall, 750-kilowatt generators that were manufactured by General Electric Company via four 8-foot diameter penstocks. Only two of the four generators were operating on July 13, 1895 when the powerhouse provided the first electricity to Sacramento via 22-miles of transmission lines, making it the first place in the United States to transmit long-distance hydroelectric power.

A second powerhouse was constructed below the original facility in 1897 to house an additional 750-kilowatt generator to meet the growing residential and public transit electricity demands of Sacramento. By the early 1900s the demand for electricity in Sacramento had out paced the capacity of the expanded Folsom Powerhouse,

Folsom Powerhouse is a State Historic Site, a U.S. National Historic Landmark and a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark. [Wikipedia]