The Folsom Powerhouse is part of a colorful chapter of Sacramento history and is also an example of the tremendous advance in the commercial application of electricity. H.P. Livermore realized that the water of the American River could turn generators for electricity in Sacramento, 22 miles downstream. With his partners, Livermore built the powerhouse, which still looks much as it did in 1895.
The opening of the powerhouse brought with it a “grand electric carnival” parade through downtown Sacramento and a 100-gun salute from a detachment of soldiers near the substation. Vintage generators are still in place at the powerhouse, as is the control switchboard, faced with Tennessee marble.
Visitors touring the powerhouse can see the massive General Electric transformers, each capable of conducting from 800 to 11,000 volts of electricity, in addition to the forebays and canal system that brought the water from the dam.