In 1865, November 2, back in the Sparta area three claims were located on the "Morning Star Quartz Ledge" by Ned Howe, H. Meacham and B. P. Cardwell who used "Eagle City" as part of their mining description.
Information follows from Mabel Binns (1887-1977),
Another source names a livery stable and a second store there.
It was reportedly in January of 1871 that Eagle City became Sparta. Ira B. Brown, Sr., Ed Cranston, C. M. Foster and william Packwood, a group with plans underway to construct the Sparta Ditch, under the name of the Eagle Canal Company went to Eagle City and laid out a townsite, surveying lots and streets by a big spring there.
One lot was set aside nearest the spring for Eagle Canal Company use. A hotel was constructed on the lot which burned several years later.
In order to agree on a name for their new city it was decided to make a wooden top and spin it. They made four sides on the top and each man wrote a name he proposed for the townsite on a side, according to one popular story.
Iberville, Eagle city, and Sparta were three of the proposed names written on the four sides. Sparta, the name proposed by Packwood came up on top. It was the name of Packwood's hometown in Illinois.
How Sparta got its name according to Mabel Binns
Sparta, from the beginning of the 1870's until well into the 1890's remained one of Eastern Oregon's largest cities and noted trading center for Eagle Valley, Pine Valley, Snake River, Baker City and remote Idaho areas. Population at one time was 1500 white and 3000 Chinese.
All that remains of the historic town is the old general store built in 1873 by W. H. Heilner. However, people have found quartz seams and pieces of quartz float that were rich in ore. Perhaps someday someone will uncover the lode that poured $5,000,000 of coarse gold through the gulches surrounding Sparta.
Sparta is located 20 miles Northeast of Baker City.
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