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Rocks, Rails & Ranches

Historic home stays in the family

GPS coordinates: (N 38° 47.570', W 121° 14.499')
By: Gary Day, special to the Placer Herald
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Rocklin History Tour

This is the 10th installment of a 19-part series in which Gary Day will take readers on a tour of Rocklin’s historic sites. You can find the sites yourself with a handy Rocklin History Tour booklet, available at the Rocklin History Museum, 3895 Rocklin Road. GPS coordinates were provided by Brian Ignaut. Short stories about Rocklin’s history are at www.rocklinhistory.org/history_series.asp.

This white farmhouse is at 5200 5th St., at the west end of Rocklin Road. Anders Wickman acquired it in 1919 from the estate of William Huff, who had built it in 1886. Wickman was a 19th-century Finnish immigrant, a City Councilman who had previously worked in the granite business, notably operating quarries near his former home on Ruhkala Road.

Wickman’s grandson, Gene Johnson, restored the building in 1999 and occupies it today with his wife, Margaret.

The Wickman and Johnson families operated a farm and dairy on the surrounding property, including the property now covered by Johnson-Springview Park to the south and Springview Middle School to the north.

The property west of the farmhouse was the seasonal home of Nisenan Indians until the mid-19th century. The Nisenan crushed acorns into mush and washed out the tannin in the waters from Huff’s Spring, located near the middle school’s athletic field.

Farming operations during the 20th century unearthed artifacts of Nisenan life ways, some of which are on display at the Rocklin History Museum.

Early last decade, Johnson managed the restoration of the museum, a former doctor’s home and office at the corner of San Francisco Street and Rocklin Road. He also managed the restoration of Old Saint Mary's Chapel on Front Street near the Rocklin Railroad Station.

Gary Johnson can be reached at garyday2@gmail.com.