About Folsom: Old Folsom

Historic District, Old Folsom


Old Folsom has a picturesque charm that few other towns in California can match. With a long and colorful history dating back to the California Gold Rush era, Old Town Folsom is fittingly recognized as the heart of Folsom.

At the center of Old Town Folsom is Historic Sutter Street. In 1856, the arrival of the Sacramento Valley railroad set in motion the development of Sutter Street, as entrepreneurs constructed stores and businesses to profit from the influx of rail passengers. Almost immediately, Sutter Street became the hub of Folsom’s business district. By the early 1900s, Sutter Street was a bustling town center with a variety of stores, hotels, boarding houses, livery and feed stables, restaurants, and saloons.

At the turn of the century, Old Folsom and Sutter Street saw significant change. Autos were soon the preferred mode of travel, and in 1915, Sutter Street became part of the nation’s first transcontinental highway, the Lincoln Highway. The Rainbow Bridge was constructed in 1918, helping to improve travel across the American River. Businesses along Sutter Street continued to evolve with the times, and in the 1940s and 50s, Sutter Street remained an active town center and the hub of Folsom’s business district.

In the following years, Old Folsom and Sutter Street endured many ups and downs. In the early 1960’s, hard times hit Sutter Street as businesses moved to newer locations. In an effort to retain businesses and attract tourists, Sutter Street was modernized with a 12-foot wide, gas-lamp lit, tree-lined center median. In 1964, Folsom held a “Turn Back the Clock” celebration to unveil the Sutter Street transformation. Nearly 25 years after the 1964 modernization effort, a second revitalization project commenced. Unveiled on May 7, 2011, the Sutter Street Revitalization Project provided a much-needed facelift to the area, while preserving its unique character and historic background.

Today, Old Folsom has a variety of businesses, most of which line Historic Sutter Street. Old Folsom businesses include restaurants, pubs, wine bars, art galleries, jewelry and antique shops, boutique stores, and a hotel. And though Old Town Folsom has changed over time, one thing remains the same; it is still recognized as the heart of Folsom.