Known for: Joseph Folsom, with the help of railroad pioneer Theodore Judah, helped establish a town site near the Negro Bar mining spot on the American River that became the city named for him.
Background: A New Hampshire native, Folsom was an 1840 graduate of West Point. Capt. Folsom arrived in California in 1847 and became interested in capitalizing on the state's potential. He purchased several lots in San Francisco and became interested in the estate of William A. Leidesdorff. After a long fight to obtain the land, Folsom hired Judah to survey and lay out the town site to be called Granite City. Folsom and Judah's early plans included shops along Sutter Street and a railroad depot, before there were railroads in California.
A highlight: Three weeks after Folsom's death, the first rail was laid on the new Sacramento Valley Railroad. The first train completed the trip to Granite City, which was renamed Folsom, in February 1856. That same month town lots in Folsom were placed on the auction block. Most of the 2,048 lots sold the first day.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.