Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, Folsom

4.6
Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park is a historical site preserving an 1895 alternating current (AC) hydroelectric power station—one of the first in the United States.
Before the Folsom powerhouse was built nearly all electric power houses were using direct current (DC) generators powered by steam engines located within a very few miles of where the power was needed. The use of rushing water to generate hydroelectric power and then transmitting it long distances to where it could be used was not initially economically feasible as long as the electricity generated was low-voltage direct current. Once it was invented, AC power made it feasible to convert the electrical power to high voltage by using the newly invented transformers and to then economically transmit the power long distances to where it was needed. Lower voltage electrical power, which is much easier and safer to use, could be easily gotten by using transformers to convert the high voltage power to lower voltages near where it was being used. DC power cannot use a transformer to change its voltage. The Folsom Powerhouse, using part of the American River's rushing water to power its turbines connected to newly invented AC generators, generated three phase 60 cycle AC electricity (the same that's used today in the United States) that was boosted by newly invented transformers from 800 volts as generated to 11,000 volts and transmitted to Sacramento over a 22 mi (35 km)-long distribution line, one of the longest electrical distribution lines in the United States at the time.
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Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
50 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Visiting the Powerhouse was our favorite activity on the day we spent in Folsom. It's in a scenic location on the banks of the American River, and close enough to walk to the historic downtown where t...  more »
  • The docents were FANTASTIC and highly helpful with facts about the plant. Learned about historical first on Industrial power ratings.  more »
Google
  • My wife & i ran into this spot accidental and we are so happy we did. Very nice bathrooms a vwry short walk from the water. Shade area. Rock jumping areas. Beach shore cove area "just one beach shore area lagoon with shade we found" Go here like once a week $10 parking at the place. Free parking 5 minutes walk up the road
  • Went here for a history project; needed up learning way more than I thought I was in for. I'm so glad I went. There's tons to learn and see. The best part by far was the tour guide that took you around and answered any question you may have. You can really tell that the volunteers there are passionate about what they do, and it rubs off on the guests.

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