Off the Beaten Path

Exhibits

Sparks Heritage Museum

814 Victorian Avenue

Art, History, Culture and more. Exhibits change quarterly. Visit their gift shop.

Depot Gallery

813 Victorian Avenue

A collaboration with the City of Sparks and Sierra Arts Foundation. This depot replica building showcases artwork from emerging artists from the region. Exhibits change monthly. Visit their gift shop.

Centennial Terminal Building

City of Sparks/Parks & Recreation Artists of the Month was a two-year project connected local artists with local parks, events and programs to depict life in Sparks enhanced by the efforts of the Parks and Recreation Department. The artwork has been placed in city buildings and a set of prints were shared with the Regional Transit Commission to celebrate the opening of the Centennial Plaza bus station. Look for new exhibits coming soon.

Landmarks

Sparks Heritage Museum Building

814 Victorian Avenue

Frederick Delongchamps, Architect

Originally built in 1931 was home to the Sparks Justice Court and Sparks Library.  Listed on the National Register in 1992, designed by Nevada’s preeminent architect Frederick Delongchamps.  Since 1981, it has been home of the Sparks Heritage Museum.

Bank of Sparks Building

948 Victorian Avenue- Blue Garter Bridal Shop

Built in 1905, this is one of the oldest buildings in Sparks and probably the best example of early 20th century architecture. This building was listed on the Nevada and the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.  The large plaque on the building was installed shortly after its listing. The architectural style of the building is Romanesque Revival as evidenced by the use of different colored and textured materials; red bricks and gray rusticated stone used in thick, heavy walls, along with quoins and arches. The Romanesque Revival was very popular in the United States in the mid-late nineteenth century for banks and government buildings.

Chinese in Nevada Monument and Rail Car Display (Lillard Park)

This honors the heroism and hardihood of the thousands of Chinese Americans who played a major role in the history of Nevada.  From across the Pacific, the Chinese came to California during the Gold Rush of ′49 and on to the mountains and deserts of this state where they built railroads, cut timber, and performed countless tasks. Sizable Chinese communities grew up in Virginia City and other towns.  Their contribution to the progress of the state in its first century will be forever remembered by all Nevadans. This piece was installed to commemorate the State of Nevada’s Centennial in 1964 and was relocated to this location in 1981. It is a part of the Nevada State Historical Marker program, which has 266 markers throughout the state. STATE HISTORIC MARKER NO.  29. The bridge and rebuilt railcar was added to the monument in 2004. The railroad bridge is a piece of the original transcontinental railroad and is believed to be constructed by Chinese Railroad workers in 1968. The bridge was relocated from McCarran Blvd and Prater Way and was preserved and donated by Gilbert and LaVerne Flanery.

Engine 8 and Train Display (Lillard Park)

The train cars were relocated to Sparks in 1975 at the Bicentennial Park (where Centennial Transit Station is). Trains include: Business Car No. 132 (1911-1974), Caboose No. 1153, Engine No. 8 (1907-1954), which is on loan to the City of Sparks by the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City.

Glendale School House (Lillard Park)

This building was listed on the National Register in 1978. It is believed to be the oldest remaining schoolhouse in Nevada having been used as a school from 1864-1958. Served the town of Glendale which was one of the first settlements in the Truckee Meadows. Senator Patrick McCarran went to school here. The composer of Nevada’s State Song “Home Means Nevada” Ms. Bertha Rafetto taught at the school. The school was moved to the site of the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in 1976 and moved to this location in 1994 after being fully restored by the City of Sparks and the Sparks Sertoma Club.

Glendale, as a settlement, preceded Reno and Sparks was destined to be the metropolis on the Truckee River until the Central Pacific Railroad was induced to bypass the community for a station at Lake’s Crossing (Reno). E. C. Sessions, the first teacher, organized the school and taught in his home until this building opened in 1864.  Archie Bryant built the structure at a cost of $1,446 and it remains as a testament of his craftsmanship.  The original School Board of Trustees consisted of John F. Stone, William Steele, and N. C. Haslund. Over the years, many Nevadans attended the Glendale School.  Perhaps the most notable student was U.S. Senator Patrick A. McCarran. The school building moved from its original site in 1976 and finally came to rest at this location in 1993. It was part of their Roadside Marker program, which has 266 markers throughout the state. STATE HISTORIC MARKER NO.  29. STATE HISTORIC MARKER NO.  169

City of Sparks Christmas Tree

Victorian Ave., next to Gazebo

A blue Spruce donated by Plumas County. Two identical trees were given, one to Sparks and one to Reno. Our “sister” trees have celebrated the season since 2014. Her nickname is Nancy.

Sculptures/Monuments

Cow Catcher, 2008

Donald Lipski

1421 Victorian Ave

This sculpture was created and installed by artist Donald Lipiski in 2008. This vertically exaggerated train cowcatcher art piece honors the railroad history of Sparks. Cowcatchers were mounted at the front of a locomotive to deflect obstacles on the track that might otherwise damage or derail it or the train.

Last Chance Joe, 1958

Roscoe E. “Duke” Reading

Originally installed in front of the Nugget in 1958, he greeted customers and Sparks visitors for 56 years. He was fabricated by RH Grosh Scenic Studios in Los Angeles, who did work at Disneyland and arrived in Sparks by train. As part of the renovation of the Nugget in 2014, the Casino donated “Joe’s” moving expenses. Thanks in large part to an anonymous donor, the City of Sparks, Q&D Construction and the community, he was moved in December of 2018. Funds are still needed to help pay for Joe’s upkeep and structural maintenance;. They can be made through the Community Foundation of Western Nevada at nevadafund.org.

Sparks Police Sculpture, 2008 (Memorial Park)

Korea Memorial, unknown (Memorial Park)

Sparks Fallen Heroes of the War on Terror, 1997 (Memorial Park)

“Grieving Fireman” 2002 (Memorial Park)

Gary and Debbie Coulter

The Firefighter Memorial Plaque, History, Thank You and Prayer are part of sculpture to celebrate the rich history of the Sparks Fire Department, established in 1905. This monument is dedicated to the men and women who have served in the Sparks Fire Department and to memorialize all fallen firefighters, Sparks and nationwide. The flags are at half-staff each year on September 11, National Fallen Firefighters Day.

Murals

Untitled, 2007

Chad Sorg and Erik Burke

I-80 On Ramp, wall on Victorian Ave, facing Victorian Ave.

This project was conducted with the two artists selected. This mural has been enjoyed for 14 years, it is to be painted over in summer 2021 and a second mural will be added by artists Asa Kennedy and Darin Stockwell.

Untitled, 2008

Loren Jahn

I-80 On Ramp, wall on Victorian Ave, in the Centennial Plaza Transit Center on Victorian Ave.

This mural was to celebrate the opening of the new RTC Centennial Plaza transit center and the history of Sparks. This mural depicts what Sparks looked like shortly after its founding in 1904. The artist also has murals gracing the inside of the Washoe County courthouse in Reno.

Untitled, 2004

Reno Youth Artworks

Inside Tony Armstrong Amphitheatre

From the 2004 Annual Report: “During the 2004 summer, Youth ArtWorks transformed the Victorian amphitheater with a spectacular mural that combines a visual celebration of Sparks’ history with a whimsical look to the future.” This mural was installed as part of the City of Sparks’ Centennial celebration.

Community, 2019

Pan Pantoja

On the top of the Paddy and Irene’s Bldg.

Collaboration of 39North Downtown and downtown businesses.

Untitled, 2016

Carlos Martinez

Victorian Saloon, Back side

Created to showcase the beauty surrounding Sparks.

At Great Basin Brewery

  • Nevada’s Great Basin, 1993
    • Marcia Crawfords
  • Wheeler Peak, 2004
    • Eric Holland
  • Note: At Great Basin Brewing Company all of the outdoor tables have been painted by local artists.