Skip to main content
Folsom Powerhouse on the American River, at Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, California, USA
Society
Main Category
Sub Category
Era
Date Created
Location Country
us
Coordinates
38.680283, -121.176617
Address1
American River
Address2
9708-9768 Greenback Lane
City
Folsom
State
Country
Zip

The historic Folsom Power House #1 marks one of the first successful uses of hydroelectric power in the world and the first successful transmission of power long distance (twenty-two miles to Sacramento). The old Folsom Power House still shelters the machinery generated to drive streetcars and illuminate the city of Sacramento.

Folsom Water Power Company and the General Electric Company required and, respectively, designed accessories to achieve long-distant transmission, though many were skeptical. Their gamble and the plans of Horatio P. Livermore made the success of the Folsom Power House possible. On July 13, 1895, Sacramento celebrated its full advent into the electrical age.

Before its canal lay dry, water from the American River had been directed into four pairs of mccormick turbines, which were connected to three-phase generators that provide 3,000 kilowatts. A 26-foot fall of water would then be carried by tailrace to a low-head turbine and subsidiary generator. The equipment is intact but was retired in 1952. The plant was given to the State of California in 1958, in ceremonies sponsored by American Institute of Electrical Engineers (now IEEE).

 

 

One of the first successful uses of hydroelectric power in the world, including the first successful long-distance transmission of power.
Image Credit
Public Domain (Author's Choice)
Image Caption
Folsom Powerhouse on the American River, at Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, California, USA
Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.