California’s Folsom State Prison is the second-oldest prison in the state. It opened in 1880. Photo by Claudia Elliott, Old Prisons


300 Prison Road, Represa, California (Represa is the name of the post office at the prison, but the prison is surrounded by the City of Folsom)

California’s second-oldest prison, open since July 26, 1880, remains in use. Although construction of the prison was authorized by the California Legislature in 1858, construction did not begin until 1878. The location along the American River not far from the state capitol of Sacramento was selected in part because of the availability of native granite stone. It became one of the first maximum-security prisons in the United States. When it was complete, inmates were transferred by boat from San Quentin State Prison to Sacramento, and then by train to Folsom.

Adjacent to the original prison is Folsom Women’s Facility, opened in 2013, and California State Prison, Sacramento (sometimes called “New Folsom”), opened in 1986.

The National Big House Prison Museum, originally known as the Folsom Prison Museum, is located near the entrance to the prison. However, it is currently closed and it’s unknown when or if it will reopen.

More information: FOLSOM STATE PRISON