Many Henderson-area street names in the area reflect elements of the periodic table.
But those names aren’t random.
According to Mark Hall-Patton, administrator with the Clark County Museum, planners who named those streets took inspiration from the Basic Magnesium Plant, which used many of those elements in its production.
“Many of the streets were named during World War II or at least shortly after,” he said.
The Basic townsite developed in 1941 to house workers from the Basic Magnesium Plant, which produced magnesium used in bombs. Magnesium made the bombs more powerful.
Less than two years after the war ended in 1945, magnesium was no longer needed. Workers moved away, and the town was supposed to be sold as war surplus property.
Those who stayed fought to make sure the town wasn’t sold.
Henderson was officially incorporated in 1953. During that time, Hall-Patton said, some of the early streets paid homage to several of the chemical elements integral to the plant’s production, which then aided in Henderson’s existence.
These streets surround one of Henderson’s first streets, Water Street.
Magnesium Street, Tungsten Street and Manganese Street were probably among the first to be named, he said.
Val La Porta-Haynes, who was born and raised in Henderson, said her parents’ first home was on Magnesium Street. She said her family was aware of how essential the plant was to the community.
“All of us kids just knew the largest magnesium plant played an essential role in World War II,” she said.
Hall-Patton said he thinks planners decided to use other metals common to the state in naming streets. Other streets such as Gold Street, Platinum Street, Zinc Street, Nickel Street and Lead Street popped up in Henderson along the way.
“These are all mined in Nevada,” he said.
Hall-Patton said people shouldn’t forget about smaller streets that came about, too, such as Perlite Way, Ilmenite Way, Rutile Way, Zirconium Way and Titanium Street.
Titanium Street, he said, was probably named for TIMET, a Henderson-based company that has produced titanium products since 1950.
Those street names and many of the townsite homes have been around for more than 60 years.
TIMET didn’t just inspire street names. La Porta-Haynes said it supported many families who lived on those streets, too.
“Most of my friends I grew up with had parents who were employed at the plant,” she said.
Hall-Patton said there are other neighborhoods around the country with metal and mineral names.
“They are somewhat common for street names,” he said. “But trees and numbers are the most common street names.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the most common street name is Second Street.
But the list of top 10 names is mixed with numbers and other nature-related themes such as View Street or Park Street.
But Henderson’s original streets reflect its history and how the elements played a role in its creation.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.