In 1966 Sparta, Illinois became Sparta, Mississippi for a few months as the movie "In the Heat of the Night" was filmed here. After Sparta was selected as the location, the town's name in the story was changed to Sparta so that existing local signs could be used. The movie won five Oscars, including best picture, and involved a lot of locals as extras as well as featuring many shots in and around Sparta. You can still see many of the film's landmarks such as the GM&O railroad depot that now houses the Misselhorn Art Gallery that features an exhibit on the making of the movie.
Come visit us in Sparta, Illinois