The Gold Rush was known for many things – including innovation. Historic Folsom and the railroad played a key role in that era, and still does today.


Over 140 years later, Historic Folsom is still the heart of the city. It’s a great place to hang out on a Friday night or come here during the weekday for a business breakfast. Sutter Street in Folsom was built on gold around a railroad tradition. Today, the city lures high-tech companies and global businesses to the region. Who would have thought 140 years ago that Sutter Street would still be at the heart of this city, serving a 21st-century population while maintaining ties to the 1800s?

Whether it’s a Saturday morning farmer’s market or a nighttime holiday celebration, Folsom’s historic district has played a pivotal role in the community since the 1800s.


In fact, Folsom was California’s original innovation hub. There has always been a solid technology-driven culture driven by gold prospecting and supportive services to help the miners. That tradition continued even after the Gold Rush with the creation of the Folsom Powerhouse, Granite School, and other developments.

And that tradition is still evident. From the museum at one end of Sutter Street to new businesses popping up throughout the city, Folsom’s past is never far from the minds of visitors and business owners alike.


But haunted buildings or boarded tunnels aside, Folsom’s historic district is continuously working to keep the past alive, including Folsom’s history of innovation and diversity.

Photo courtesy of Folsom HIstory

Many people don’t know that William Leidesdorff, who played a pivotal role in building Folsom, was African American. In the late 1800s, up to 80% of the Folsom population was Chinese.


Over the years, Historic Folsom has grown and evolved into an active, vibrant environment with a welcoming streetscape, community events, and a reputation as a place to live, work, and play.

The community events, the retailers, and the history create a unique vibe for anyone visiting historic Folsom.


During the heyday of the Gold Rush, Folsom was the place to go because this was where you’d find opportunity. But Folsom was also known as the place that was open to everybody.

It still is today. It’s one of many reasons why so many people, companies, and startups #ChooseFolsom.

Joe Gagliardi is the CEO of Choose Folsom and the Folsom Chamber of Commerce. Folsom Times is a Chairman’s Circle Partner with the Chamber of Commerce and Gargliardi’s commentary is part of our ongoing community partnership.

Joe Gagliardi
Author: Joe Gagliardi