California’s gold country has an attraction that is all its own. Part fact, part fiction, part “je ne sais quoi,” Folsom’s Historic District has a history that dates back to the Gold Rush era and even further back into antiquity considering the Maidu people who lived there thousands of years ago.
As a writer and news editor for the Folsom Life newspaper for many years, I had the unique privilege of learning many of Folsom’s secrets. Literally, where some of the bodies are — or were — buried. Years before the restoration on Sutter Street I got to visit the tunnels and other secret places of Folsom.
Most are off limits to the public — and with good reason. These places can be seriously dangerous. And if you are fearful of spiders, snakes, close places, subterranean water, ghosts or simply bumping your head … well, you get the picture.
Recent restoration work on Sutter Street revealed the existence of one of Folsom’s subterranean tunnels to the public, as well as other artifacts of the city’s pioneering inhabitants.
On Feb. 19, the Folsom History Museum will share much of this history when it unveils “Sutter Street Secrets.”
“What did they find under Folsom’s Sutter Street? What secrets were revealed? Come to this wonderful new exhibit at the Folsom History Museum and find out,” said Melissa Pedroza, spokeswoman for the Folsom History Museum. “Last year, the city of Folsom began the Sutter Street Revitalization Project. The project had two purposes: The practical — to replace the crumbling 100 year old water/sewer infrastructure; and the cosmetic — to pretty up the street and make it more appealing.”
According to Pedroza, the exhibit will display many of the artifacts uncovered during the restoration, including bottles, coins, horseshoes and tools.
“The museum will also play a video of the tunnel discovered under Sutter Street,” Pedroza said. “This will be the closest most of us will ever get to seeing the tunnel.
Also included in the exhibit is a description of the whole restoration process (sans the many, many Historic District Restoration committee meetings that were held at Landmark Baptist Church). From the removal of the dying magnolia trees (planted right on top of the old Highway 50) to the planting of more than 100 trees along new sidewalks that incorporate Folsom’s history, visitors will have an opportunity to see how much work went into this project.
“The exhibit features hundreds of photos taken during the actual process of the day and night construction,” Pedroza said. “Big trucks, backhoes, and cranes and building facades tumbling down and being built back up.”
“Sutter Street Secrets” opens Feb. 19 and runs through March 20. The Folsom History Museum is located at 828 Sutter St. in Old Town Folsom. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for youth and free for kids younger than 12. Folsom Historical Society Members receive free admission. Call (916) 985-2707 or visit folsomhistorymuseum.org for more information.
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