Rocklin, Calif. – Huff spring was a widely known Rocklin curiosity and source of clean drinking water in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. But it is obscured by bulrush now, protected by a makeshift chain link fence and largely unnoticed at the north border of Johnson Springview Park, near Springview Middle School.
A nearby cluster of 62 bedrock mortars and about 4 acres of gently sloping terrain tell that the area was formerly home to a large community of native Nisenan. The slope, called a ‘midden’ by archeologists, covers the refuse of more than 1500 years of the Nisenans’ seasonal encampments.
In the 1940’s one Rocklin old-timer could remember seeing Nisenan at the spring as late as the 1880’s. It’s now called Huff’s Mineral Spring, named after William Huff who lined it with granite blocks in 1887 and sold the water 25 cents for all a person could carry.
Today Huff’s spring gurgles 120 gallons per minute of chilly water over its granite lining into a tributary of Antelope Creek. Mysteriously, the flow slows noticeably at midday but is strong again by late afternoon.
Rocklin dairyman and home delivery milkman Ray Johnson acquired Huff’s property in 1936 and provided free access to the spring for Rocklin residents with the proviso that they close the gate on their way in and out to ensure that his dairy cows didn’t escape into town. At times Johnson bottled the water and delivered it on his milk route for 5 cents a gallon.
The City of Rocklin gradually bought up much of Johnson’s property to develop Johnson Springview Park. The city acquired the spring in 1998.