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Sparks History

Before March 15, 1905

There may not be another city in the land that came to life in quite the unique way Sparks did. It’s the custom-made town, tailored ordered by the Southern Pacific Railway Company. In 1902, there was nothing but swampland and ranches four miles east of Reno.

When Southern Pacific succeeded Central Pacific as the new owner of the main line across Northern Nevada, one of the first decisions made was to straighten the road and cut a few miles off the distance. The new route bypassed Wadsworth, which for 40 years had ruled the roundhouse and maintenance shops of Central Pacific.

about-history-lastchancejoe Southern Pacific made a startling offer to its Wadsworth employees; A tract of land would be laid out next to the roundhouse, and the railroad would give everyone clear deed to a lot 50′ X 140′ in size, and to add to the miracle, the railroad offered to pack up every house in Wadsworth and ship it to the new town, free of charge. Sometime during the summer of 1903 a drawing was held- the employees names in one hat, lot numbers in another- and everyone got what they got. Sixty-seven lots changed title that day, at a price of $1 per lot.

Sparks was born…

For more information on the history of Sparks, please visit the Sparks Heritage Museum website or visit the museum at 814 Victorian Avenue…the corner of Victorian and Pyramid right next to Last Chance Joe.

Sparks Heritage Museum Virtual Tour.

Sparks History Pictures