Henderson, Nevada: A City Rich with History

Henderson, Nevada was incorporated as recently as 1953, yet it is a city with an interesting story to tell and a great place to raise a family. It is a city that was literally “born in America’s defense” in the 1940’s when the Basic Magnesium Plant was opened. Henderson quickly became the center for magnesium production, supplying the military with a product that became known as the “Miracle Metal.”

With the close of World War II, the future of the city did not look promising. BMI closed its doors as the demand for magnesium production no longer existed for defense. Nearly all 14,000 BMI employees left town with their families, leaving the schools with only 2/3 of the number of students that had been enrolled there and well over half the homes left vacant.

Then in 1997, nearly sealing its fate, the city was offered for sale by the US War Asset Administration as a war surplus property. The city survived after a concerted effort by state officials when Governor Vail Pittman signed legislation authorizing the Colorado River Commission of Nevada to buy the industrial plants.

Today the city boasts a population of 285,667, and it is the second largest city in Nevada after Las Vegas. It spans an area of approximately 108 square miles. Its proximity to Las Vegas, only 16 miles away, has benefited its growth, as Henderson has become a popular vacation stop-over for many people.

The McCullough Mountain Range that surrounds it is covered with black rocks formed of volcanic explosions millions of years ago. The mountains peak at about 3,800 feet and are the most prominent feature of the land around the city. Outdoors lovers find many activities to participate in from camping and hiking to mountain climbing and hand-gliding.

As the population has grown an ever increasing number of large shopping malls, casino resorts, restaurants, and movie theaters have cropped up. The city has a proud history of support for the arts, and several museums offer a myriad of cultural programs to visitors to experience. Many other programs are offered at the city’s outdoor amphitheater, the largest one in the state of Nevada.

As a place to raise a family, Henderson is as good of a choice as they come. Forbes Magazine ranked the city as the second safest city in the United States in 2011. So experience the history and soak in the culture, but be forewarned that ultimately you may decide to stay.