Wadsworth, Nevada

Wadsworth, Nevada: Home of The Wadsworth Dispatch

Railroad station UNR
Railroad Station 1870-99

The site of Wadsworth Nevada was a resting spot on the overland trail at a bend in the Truckee River. When the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad reached the spot in 1868 the railroad decided to make it a freight station for its eastward construction. Leland Sanford, president of the railroad named the new town Wadsworth after the Civil War General  James S. Wadsworth, killed in the Battle of The Wilderness in 1864, as a favor to General Irvin McDonell under whom Wadsworth had served. The town prospered as the major railroad depot east of Reno, the headquarters of the railroad’s Truckee Division with machine shops, roundhouse and a major freight station. Although officially in Washoe county, in 1871 the town made an unsuccessful attempt to be annexed by the neighboring and sparsely populated Churchill County in hopes of being designated as the county seat. In 1884 most of the town was destroyed by a fire which started in the freight station and was re-built on the other west side of the river.

UNR Wads Truckee

(Photo 1868 Truckee River, near Wadsworth, lower canyon of Truckee; courtesy of UNR)

Unlike the other railroad towns and mining camps, where newspapers sprang up as quickly as saloons Wadsworth did have its own newspaper until 1892 when attorney Nicholas A. Hummel owner of the newly incorporated Dispatch Publishing Company started publishing the Wadsworth Dispatch under the editorship of W.H.A. Pike. It started as weekly 4-page, 4 column paper with an annual subscription of $3 a year but doubled its size a month later. The paper prospered with the town and went to a weekly in 1904. But the town’s fortunes were already in decline. In 1902 the railroad made the decision to relocate its shops and station to the town of Sparks farther west and just outside the growing city of Reno. In 1904 the railroad’s shops, equipment and buildings were relocated to Sparks. Other businesses and houses followed leaving Wadsworth a shadow of its former self. In December 1904 Hummel suspended the Wadsworth Dispatch and moved, with the rest of the town’s businesses, to Sparks, where he continued publishing as the Spark’s Dispatch (sn 86076061).

Below are pictures of a fire in the town of Wadsworth, ca 1902. (UNR Photos)

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Pictures:

UNR Wads1 https://unr.dgicloud.com/islandora/object/sanborncollection%3A322
UNR 1894 Wadsworth https://unr.dgicloud.com/islandora/object/nvmapscollection%3A234
UNR WadsFire 1 https://unr.dgicloud.com/islandora/object/spphotoscollection%3A7128
UNR WadsFire 2 https://unr.dgicloud.com/islandora/object/spphotoscollection%3A7131
UNR WadsFire 3 https://unr.dgicloud.com/islandora/object/spphotoscollection%3A8051
UNR WadsFire 4 https://unr.dgicloud.com/islandora/object/spphotoscollection%3A8053
UNR Wads Truckee https://unr.dgicloud.com/islandora/object/spphotoscollection%3A7986