Engaged in straightening and realigning the old Central Pacific trackage across Nevada, the Southern Pacific Company moved its shops and headquarters from Wadsworth to this location in 1904. The railroad set aside five city blocks for its employees’ residences. Each railroader paid $1.00 for a lot. They had to build a house within 120 days and file their deed of ownership. The company also cut their houses in Wadsworth into sections, loaded the parts on train cars and shipped the houses free of charge to Sparks. The railroad moved its employees, their houses, animals and personal items on July 4, 1904.
Sparks, originally known as East Reno, New Town Tract and Harriman, came into official existence. In 1905, the state legislature incorporated the town, named it in honor of John Sparks, rancher and governor of the state of Nevada.
Sparks boasted one of the largest roundhouses in the world during the steam era, the Nevada base for a vast stable of steam locomotives. The famous cab-in-front locomotive type known as Mallets, were the huge steamers hauling both freight and passengers over the steep grades of the Sierra Nevada between Roseville, California and Sparks.
STATE HISTORICAL MARKER NO. 88
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
DUBY REID POST NO. 30—AMERICAN LEGION