Spring Water Depot was founded in 1931 with the goal of providing clean, great-tasting and naturally-sourced water to Northern Nevada at an affordable price.
Spring Water Depot began business in 1930 as the Crystal Springs Ice Company, with a 285-foot artesian well located on S. Center St. in Reno's Southside Addition. As the name suggests, Crystal Springs, then owned by Steve Rastelli, initially supplied ice for refrigeration to city residents and businesses. In 1931 they also began offering free water via a hose in front of the building. In 1935 the health department required the installation of vending machines for sanitary reasons.
The company prospered, drilling another well in 1945 to meet the needs of area railroads and local casinos. During WWII, Crystal Springs volunteered its ice storage facility for hanging war-rationed venison and other game of local hunters - a practice continued until 1964, when government regulations forbade the process. Refrigerators began to be commonly used after the war, and in 1965 Rastelli sold the ice business, shifting to water production and delivery.
The Rastelli family - Steve, followed by his sons Tony and Joe - managed the water supply business until 1979, when it was sold to Doug Hird. Despite the sale, Tony Rastelli and his daughters continued to work for Hird for many years, while Hird upgraded the facility to meet modern sanitation requirements for bottled water.
In 1984 Doug Hird was joined by the current owners, his daughter Melissa and her husband Todd Baker. In 1999, Todd and Melissa bought Doug’s share of the business, expanding it further with another artesian well. The Bakers sold the bottled water division in 2008, changing the business’s name to Spring Water Depot, moving to only vended spring and deionized water and opening additional locations in South Reno, Fallon and Dayton.
All the naturally-sourced, free-flowing spring water vended from Spring Water Depot is now trucked in from Baxter Springs, 4000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Located on a development-restricted area where the natural ecology is preserved, the snowmelt-fed springs were developed by settlers during the latter part of the 19th century, when they were used for watering cattle.
Baxter Camp, named for 1800s immigrant Joseph Quincy Baxter, became a frequent stop for travelers heading over the Sierras. The town of Baxter eventually became a popular mountain retreat prior to development of area freeways. The spring water facility was updated in the 1980s to become the bulk water supplier it is now. Baxter Source, Inc., as it is known today, is still run by the great great grandson of Joseph Quincy Baxter!