Because of his service as a teacher and principal in Henderson schools — even before the town was incorporated — Robert Taylor was honored as the namesake for a Henderson elementary school and street.
“He was very community-spirited,” said Henderson Historical Society member Rick Watson.
Robert Taylor was born in 1917 in Ruth, a small mining town near Ely.
Don Taylor, Robert’s youngest brother by 10 years, said most of his brothers were grown up by the time he was older.
“By the time I was older, most of my brothers were off to the service,” he said. “But he was always good to me. He always helped me when he could.”
After graduating from White Pine High School, Robert Taylor attended the University of Nevada, Reno.
Don Taylor doesn’t know why his brother studied education. However, he knew his brother loved children.
“He always enjoyed being around children,” Taylor said. “He would buy them shoes or take them to get haircuts. He really loved children.”
His first teaching job after finishing college was in Battle Mountain.
“But then he got drafted into the Army,” Taylor said. “He served two or three years.”
He returned to Battle Mountain and became an elementary school’s principal.
A friend from Battle Mountain was in contact with a educator named Gordon McCaw in the Basic townsite — who also became the namesake for a Henderson school.
McCaw was looking for someone to teach in the town, and Taylor was offered the position in 1947.
Don Taylor also went into the education field. After he and his wife graduated from UNR, Robert helped them both get a job in Henderson in 1952.
“And I’ve been here since,” he added.
Taylor started teaching at the former Basic Elementary School. He then worked at Park Village Elementary School inside Victory Village in Henderson.
Watson remembers Taylor as his fourth-grade physical education teacher.
“He always wore nice sweaters and clothes,” Watson recalled.
One day during class, Taylor was teaching students how to do the high jump.
Watson, who said he wasn’t the most coordinated child, had a little trouble performing the exercise.
“So he just picked me up, threw me over and said, ‘You did it,’ ” Watson said. “I think he wanted to move on to the next lesson.”
From 1957 to 1973, Taylor was the school’s principal.
After he retired, Taylor was told that the former Park Village school — which has since been demolished and rebuilt — would be named for him.
“It was a proud moment for him,” Don Taylor said. “It was the most important thing he had ever done. Now, he would have this heritage the rest of his life.”
Beside education, Taylor said his brother was known as a skilled golfer.
“He had a room in his house that was filled wall-to-wall with trophies,” he said. “It was quite impressive.”
Robert Taylor died in 1985.
In addition to the school name, Taylor Street, near Lake Mead Parkway and Boulder Highway, is also named for him.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 702-387-5201.
Naming Las Vegas
The first week of every month View runs stories on the history behind street, building and place names. Send “Naming Las Vegas” topic suggestions to editor Steve Blust at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125-0070.