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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. President of the railroad, Leland Sanford, 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. Thirteen years later, most of the town was destroyed by a fire that started in the freight station. Eventually Wadsworth was re-built on the other west side of the river.

Unlike 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 four-page, four column paper with an annual subscription of $3 a year but doubled its size a month later. The paper grew in the wake of the town's prosperity and went to a weekly in 1904. But, by then, 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, and by 1904, they had moved. 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 his newspaper as the Sparks Dispatch.

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