The early economy of Sparland was dependent upon the coal mines of the area. The Robert Waugh House is listed on National Historic Register and is the only brick 8-sided home in state of Illinois with 3 floors of pie-shaped rooms around a central spiral staircase.
This is the town laid down upon the published map of Marshall county as "West Lacon," being the cluster of buildings about the Lacon station on the Peoria and Bureau Valley Railroad, one mile west of the county seat. The first settler upon its site was Franklin W. Graves, from Indiana, a man of large intelligence and generous hospitality, who settled in 1830, and perished miserably sixteen years afterwards, amid the snows of the Sierra Nevada, while emigrating to California. His farm was occupied in 1846 by Geo. Spar, from whom the town takes its name. It was laid off June 13th, 1855, by the numerous heirs of Mr. Spar, and consists of two ranges of blocks under the bluff west of the railroad, running parallel with the track. The railway station was erected the same year, and a warehouse about that time ; a school house was put up the next year, and a Methodist Church organized in 1857. Sparland has become a thriving little village, and a large trade is carried on at this point.
Transcribed 04 Feb 2012 from History of Putnam and Marshall Counties, by Henry Allen Ford, 1860