Crime Behind the walls: 11 things you don't know about Folsom Prison

22:50  08 november  2017
22:50  08 november  2017 Source:   KCRA Sacramento

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Aside from a nearly five-decades-old album, there is a deeper story behind the granite walls of Folsom State Prison . His sickness made headlines in the state, as represented by this clipping from The San Francisco Call, published Monday, April 11 , 1898.

However, many don ' t realize how much history one Sacramento-area state prison holds behind the granite walls . Updated: 11 :15 AM PST Nov 8, 2017. The history behind the walls of Folsom State Prison .

Prisons are often a source of mystery and curiosity, whether it's the Bay Area's old Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary or the infamous San Quentin State Prison.

However, many don't realize how much history one Sacramento-area state prison holds behind its granite walls.

Let's take a glimpse inside the decades of storied history of Folsom State Prison: (information and photos via Folsom Historical Society and the California Department of Corrections)

1. In the beginning ...

a vintage photo of a building © Folsom Historical Society

Folsom Prison is California’s second-oldest prison and the one of the nation’s first maximum-security prisons built after the Gold Rush. The first cell blocks were completed in 1878. It was also the first prison in the country to have electric lights. The prison was almost built in Rocklin, but H.P. Livermore, of the Natoma Land and Mining Company, gave the state land in exchange for prison labor.

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the Walls of Folsom Prison " while serving in West Germany in the United States Air Force.As for Not only is it about paying the consequences for the things you do, but it's also about being lonely. by Rascist is Nigger not Folsom on 11 /9/2008 4:46pm The song folsom prison blues as we know is

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2. A San Quentin offshoot

a bridge over a body of water © Folsom Historical Society

Folsom Prison’s first inmates were brought over from San Quentin State Prison in July 1880. Folsom was initially selected as the site of a branch prison for San Quentin. By 1897, there were 900 prisoners serving time at the prison.

3. Freezing at Folsom

a group of people standing in front of a building © Folsom Historical Society

Ice was made at Folsom Prison during the 1890s and early 1900s. The prison’s ice plant was so successful that the California Legislature approved $162,000 to buy more ice-making machinery. The plant is credited with helping grow California’s fruit-growing industry, making it possible for the fruit to be shipped to markets across the U.S.

4. Women in the prison

a group of people posing for a photo © Folsom Historical Society

Only six women were ever housed at Folsom Prison. The first one was received in November 1885, and the last one was housed at the prison in 1929. There have been none at the prison since.

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However, many don ' t realize how much history one Sacramento-area state prison holds behind the granite walls . 11 . Fun at Folsom . Contrary to what many people may think, inmates were allowed to do other leisurely activities that allowed them to show off their creative and athletic sides.

5. A prison without walls

a black and white photo of a boat © California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

There were no walls around Folsom Prison for the first four decades of the prison’s history. Construction on the granite walls began in 1909, and the walls were finally completed in 1923. Despite its lack of walls, a newspaper editor wrote in 1893, “For a prison without walls, it is doubtful if any prisoner placed in Folsom Prison will ever escape. … It is likely he’ll remain there until the term of his sentence has expired.”

6. Before Folsom Dam

a close up of a hillside next to a body of water © California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Folsom’s first dam was built on prison property along the American River long before the current Folsom Dam. The original dam’s construction began in 1867 for logging purposes, and prison inmates eventually were called upon to help install granite blocks dug up from the prison grounds. The first log reached the prison dam in 1891, a year after logging began. However, the dam and an accompanying sawmill shut down in 1899 after heavy rains and high river levels forced 3 million feet of logs over the dam.

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I hear the train a comin' It's rolling round the bend And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don ' t know when, I'm stuck in Folsom prison , and time keeps draggin' on But that train keeps a rollin' on down to San Antone..

I hear the train a comin' It's rollin' 'round the bend, And I ain't seen the sunshine, Since, I don ' t know when, I'm stuck in Folsom Prison , And time keeps draggin' on, But that train keeps a-rollin', On down to San Antone.

7. California license plates

a black and white photo of person © Folsom Historical Society

Inmates at Folsom Prison are responsible for making all the license plates for the state of California at the California Prison Authority’s license plate factory. The factory was established in 1930, with an average of about 50,000 license plates rolling out of the factory each day.

8. Johnny Cash and the movies

a vintage photo of a ship © Folsom Historical Society

Iconic singer Johnny Cash performed more than once at Folsom Prison. He put on a show in 1966, which wasn’t recorded, and two concerts in 1968. The film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison, directed by Crane Wilbur and shot on location in the 1950s at Folsom Prison, inspired Cash to write his famous song Folsom Prison Blues. He watched the film while stationed in West Germany.

9. Prison escapes

a person posing for the camera © Folsom Historical Society

Prisoners who had escaped in the past or attempted to escape had to wear red shirts to tag them at-risk during the early 1900s. There were several prison escapes since the prison opened, including one escape in 1903 where 13 prisoners armed with knives broke away from a mess hall line and killed a guard as they ran out of Folsom Prison. One prisoners was killed, six were recaptured and six were never found. In 1937, several prisoners tried to escape Folsom Prison, armed with knives and wooden Tommy guns. Two inmates were killed, and a guard and a warden died of their wounds. Five inmates were charged with murder and were the first to be executed in San Quentin’s gas chamber.

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10. America's past time

a group of people posing for a photo © Folsom Historical Society

From 1915 to 1965, baseball competitions were a regular event at Folsom Prison. Through the years, many big baseball names came to play at the prison, including Joe DiMaggio, Ernie Lombardi, Stan Hack and Joe Frietas, of the Sacramento Solons (which later became the Sacramento River Cats).

11. Fun at Folsom

a group of people walking down the street © Folsom Historical Society

Contrary to what many people may think, inmates were allowed to do other leisurely activities that allowed them to show off their creative and athletic sides. Fourth of July celebrations became an annual event at Folsom Prison, beginning in 1893. The celebration often Vaudeville-style plays where inmates would dress up and perform with stage props, settings and costumes made at the prison. Another Independence Day activity included inmates competing in tug-of-war contests, with prison guards officiating. One prison inmate even painted a version of “The Last Supper” in the 1930s in the Grestone Chapel at the prison. It was completed just before the start of World War II.

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