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Henderson honors wartime women workers with ‘Magnesium Maggie’ statue

Updated March 23, 2023 - 7:41 pm

Some may not know about Henderson’s Magnesium Maggies — the Southern Nevada version of Rosie the Riveter.

On Thursday, Henderson unveiled a new statue at Proctor Judicial Park in the Water Street District to honor the legacy of the women who worked in the magnesium industry during World War II to produce metal for airplanes, incendiary bombs and Tracer bullets.

In a ceremony debuting the statue, Mayor Michelle Romero explained the history of Magnesium Maggies and their contributions to both the city and nation while working at the Basic Magnesium Inc. plant in Henderson.

While men were away at war, women stayed home to work at the BMI plant, driving forklifts and working as machinists with molten metal and ingots to manufacture over 166 million pounds of magnesium, Romero said.

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“When you think about the history of Henderson, it’s not complete without telling the stories of the women who helped shape the city we’ve become,” she said.

The name Magnesium Maggie originates from researcher and former war worker Irene Rostine whose work examines the history of women in Southern Nevada’s war industry, according to the Henderson Historical Society.

Henderson Assistant City Manager Stephanie Garcia-Vause said the statue is just one part of the city’s art program working to bring culture and vibrancy to the town.

“Magnesium Maggie will add to the beauty of the Water Street District, as well as honor our rich history,” Garcia-Vause said.

Romero said after the ceremony she hopes the statue reminds everyone of the history of women’s contributions to the war effort in Henderson, and to the city itself, both past and present.

“I think you need to know where you came from before you can get to where you’re going, and to recognize that Henderson played a vital role in winning the war for us, and setting the stage for women to have equal pay to men,” she said.

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