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Folsom is Pure Gold
The City of Folsom has a rich history beginning with the '49ers during California's great Gold Rush. It was the site of the West's first railroad and the world's first long-distance transmission of electricity. Folsom is named for Joseph Libbey Folsom who purchased the land from the heirs of a San Francisco magnate, and laid out the town called Granite City, mostly occupied by gold miners seeking fortune in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Though few amassed a great deal of wealth, the city prospered due to Joseph Folsom's lobbying to get a railway to connect the town with Sacramento. Folsom planned the town as a railroad terminus before there were railroads in California. Though Folsom didn't live to see it, his dream came true on Feb. 22, 1856 when the first train on the first railroad in the West arrived in Folsom from Sacramento. Following Folsom's death at the age of 38, his successors renamed the town in his honor. Folsom is famous across the country thanks to a country song about a prison recorded by Johnny Cash in 1956. The establishment of Folsom Prison came in 1880, when the Livermore family made an agreement with the state to donate land for the prison in exchange for prison labor. They planned to build a dam from the American River for a sawmill. Though the sawmill did not work out, the Livermores soon realized that the natural force of running water could provide enough power to transmit to Sacramento, and the Folsom Powerhouse, now a National Historic Monument, was opened. At the time it was opened, it had the longest overhead run of electricity (22 miles) in the country. The powerhouse operated until 1952. Folsom Dam was built in 1956, providing much-needed flood control and water rights for the Sacramento Valley. The creation of this dam also created one of the most popular lakes in Northern California, Folsom Lake. The dam is located on the southwest corner of the lake. Today Folsom is a forward-looking city, a high-tech town, with firms ranging from small to large international corporations. Folsom also boasts excellent schools, beautiful family-oriented neighborhoods and outstanding shopping, dining and cultural options.
The City's General Plan, adopted in 1988, set the path the City is following into the 21st century. It shows a growing city that intends to keep its human scale. It places large retail centers in places easily accessible to regional shoppers, without cramming more traffic into the City's core. It paints a picture of sparkling new neighborhoods as well as a carefully preserved Historical District. The General Plan also takes note of the community's family orientation, calling for a minimum of five acres of park land for each 1,000 residents, and for city co-sponsorship of special activities that involve the entire family. It has ample shopping and cultural facilities, either in town or within a few minutes drive, and there are plans for more. Folsom is home to 32 miles of bike trails including the Humbug-Willow Creek Trail. This trail system follows both Humbug and Willow Creeks, and passes through several traces of dredge tailings and riparian forests. Other trails include the Folsom Rail Trail, The Folsom Lake Trail, and the Oak Parkway Trail. Folsom is also the endpoint of the American River Bike Trail, which starts in Sacramento. For the more adventurous bikers or hikers, Folsom Lake recreational area has a wide range of biking and hiking trails. These trails are more strenuous, ranging from 2 miles to 10 miles, and offer amazing views of the lake, surrounding trees and vegetation, as well as wildlife. Folsom is home to several notable bridges - Lake Natoma Crossing, Rainbow Bridge, a historic truss bridge, and Folsom Lake Crossing. There is also a pedestrian bridge over East Bidwell Street that opened on November 6, 2010 as part of a new segment on the Humbug-Willow Creek Trail called the Johnny Cash Trail. Although Folsom has the flavor of a small city, it does not lack the conveniences of modern living. The City continues to attract newcomers seeking good housing or good jobs. Many residents work in Sacramento, which also is enjoying rapid growth.