Sparks History

Backyard Traveler: Discovering Sparks’ History

As for the history of Sparks, the community was formally incorporated on March 15, 1905. The community, however, can trace its roots to a few years earlier when the Southern Pacific Railway Company decided to shorten and straighten its main line across Northern Nevada.

The railroad rerouted its tracks along the eastern Truckee River corridor to eliminate several dangerous curves and grades.

In about 1903, the railroad announced that as part of this realignment it would relocate its main division point in the region from Wadsworth to a site about four miles east of Reno. It originally looked at Reno for its new shops, but went east because of cheaper land.

To entice its workers to move to the new site, the railroad made a generous offer?a tract of land would be set aside adjacent to a new roundhouse and the railroad would give each employee clear title to a 50-foot by 140-foot lot. Additionally, the railroad offered to transport any existing house in Wadsworth to the new community at no charge.

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