They called him “Honest John Sparks,” according to a Nevada Historical Society report. He was governor of Nevada and the namesake of the budding city of Sparks. The municipality was only three years old at the time (1908).
In 1970, with pride in the character of the man for whom the city was named, the Sparks Jaycees changed the name of the annual Labor Day celebration to “Governor John Sparks Day.”
“Not many people know that Sparks was named after a rather famous westerner,” Mike Schultz, Jaycee spokesman said that year; “most people think that Sparks refers to some aspect of railroading.”
History does not accurately attest to the “honesty” of the cattle baron John Sparks. However, the fact that he came from average means to great wealth, not once, but several more »
At the turn of the nineteenth century, after the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) realigned their tracks, the new alignment was too far away from their division point in Wadsworth, NV (30 miles east of here).
While looking for a suitable location nearer the mountains, the SP purchased two large ranches in the east end of the Truckee Meadows. The land was subject to spring flooding and was almost a swamp. The SP used 334 rail cars and personnel working two shifts a day for six months hauling in and spreading dirt and gravel to fill in the area. They raised the average elevation by 18 inches.
In 1903-1904, they constructed the largest roundhouse in the world for its time. It was also the largest building west of the Mississippi. They also constructed many support facilities. A tract of land more »