Powerhouse supercharging volunteer outreach

By: Laura Newell, Of the Telegraph
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What: Friends of the Folsom Powerhouse Association regular board meeting
When:  9 a.m., Friday, Feb. 1
Where:  Visitors Center at the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, 9980 Greenback Lane, Folsom

For locals looking to get more involved in their community, a Folsom non-profit organization is looking for members of all skills.

The Friends of the Folsom Powerhouse Association is looking for new board members and association members.

“Our bylaws allow for up to 15 board members in the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Folsom Powerhouse Association,” said Bill Johnson, association president. “Currently, we have three active board members and four members altogether. We are looking to bring on several new members of all ages and skills.”

Johnson said the group is really in need of more help with running a website and other social media outlets.

“We want people who are friendly and want to help their community,” Johnson said. “This is great for someone who is looking for something to do to help their community.”

The Friends of the Folsom Powerhouse Association is a non-profit corporation made up of volunteers dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the Folsom Powerhouse and the role it played in California’s early history.

“We work in cooperation with State Parks to enhance education and interpretive activities at the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park,” Johnson said.

Funds generated through donations, memberships and the sale of educational items, enable the association to help State Parks preserve and improve the facility and grounds, fund research, displays, programs, equipment, activities and literature pertaining to the Folsom Powerhouse.

“The achievements of the past provide the knowledge and inspiration to current and later generations to imagine and develop the innovations of the future,” Johnson said. “The powerhouse stands as tangible evidence of these past achievements and preserving it will provide a shining light and inspiration to the innovators of the future.”

Johnson explained that the Powerhouse is a very significant part of both Folsom and the country’s history.

“Imagine what life would be like before electricity and then think about the profound changes in your life today because we have it,” Johnson said. “The Folsom Powerhouse was instrumental in bringing these changes to you.”

The Folsom Powerhouse was one of the first powerhouses in the U.S. to send high voltage alternating current over long distance transmission lines when it sent 11,000 volts over 22 miles to light up Sacramento on July 13, 1895 and provide power to its homes and businesses.

Although it was shut down in 1952, it is the only example of a hydroelectric powerhouse still in its original configuration and accessible to the public, Johnson said.

While not everyone has the opportunity or time to become a board member for the Friends of the Folsom Powerhouse Association, Johnson said interested people can still help by becoming members.

“As well as the board, we are always looking for people to help by just joining the association,” he said. “By joining and paying their annual dues, people are helping raise funds and stay involved in the history of their own community.”

For more information and to become a member, people can attend the association’s upcoming regular board meeting at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, at the Visitors Center at the Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, 9980 Greenback Lane, Folsom.