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Folsom State Prison & Museum

Folsom State Prison Museum
Folsom State Prison Museum

Without a doubt, Folsom State Prison is a popular Northern California attraction and the most recognized namesake of the Folsom community. Since opening in 1880, the prison is one of the oldest correctional facilities in the state.


Here's a video clip outlining the history and attraction of Folsom Prison.

But for most visitors, the real claim to fame can be attributed to a music man named Johnny Cash and his 1956 trademark song, “Folsom Prison Blues.” Johnny Cash performed the song live in 1968 at Folsom Prison in front of a select inmate audience.  He also recorded the "Live at Folsom Prison" album during that visit.

Cash wasn’t the only celebrity to visit behind the walls of Folsom State Prison, and the facility has been used many times for movies and television. Several Hollywood and television movies have been filmed at famous prisons; movies filmed at Folsom Prison include “Jericho Mile,” “True Believers” and “The Outlaws.” In fact, many visitors will instantly recognize the historic front gate of Folsom Prison as flashes of it have appeared in many television crime shows. 

Folsom State Prison has had its share of celebrity residents, including Charles Manson and Ralph “Sonny” Barger, leader of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. For visitors interested in the “stories” of Folsom Prison, including the “hangman gallows,” the best source is the Folsom Prison Museum. To learn more about the rich history of this famous prison at its museum, call 916-985-2561, ext. 4589. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and is staffed by volunteer docents.

Today approximately 5,000 inmates are housed at Folsom Prison and its nearby sister facility, the California State Prison, Sacramento.View a film clip regarding Johnny Cash's visit to Folsom Prison.