Henderson was established in 1943 when the Basic Magnesium Plant (BMI) was built southeast of Las Vegas. The plant processed magnesium, used in the manufacture of airplane parts and munitions, for the U.S. War Department. The town site was built to house the factory workers and their families.
The magnesium plant quickly outgrew its usefulness; by 1947, defense efforts no longer required magnesium production and the factory had to be closed down. At that point, about 14,000 people worked at BMI and lived in the Henderson town site. Most of them moved away, leaving behind nearly empty classrooms and neighborhoods. Shortly thereafter, property valuers sydney and the U.S. government put the town site up for sale as war surplus property.
Henderson's future looked dismal until the state of Nevada made the decision to save it. The state legislature moved quickly to give the Colorado River Commission of Nevada the authority to purchase BMI. The bill was signed in March of 1947 and Henderson was taken off the surplus market.
The city was incorporated in April of 1953 and began to grow quickly thereafter. In 1953, Henderson's land area was 13 square miles; it has since grown in size sevenfold. In 2005, a freeway interchange was built linking Interstates 215 and 515.
Today, Henderson is Nevada's second largest city. Although the 2000 census indicates Henderson's population is 175,381, more current estimates are closer to 225,000. As Las Vegas becomes busier and more crowded, prospective home buyers are turning to Henderson for a calmer lifestyle. The city's slogan, "Henderson - A Place to Call Home," reflects the community's continuing identification with its small town roots. Despite the homey atmosphere, Henderson features a growing number of upscale communities and shopping areas as well as gorgeous natural surroundings.
Henderson is located in Clark County, less than 10 miles southeast of Las Vegas and the world famous Las Vegas Strip. Situated on the southern edge of the Las Vegas Valley, Henderson is often called the gateway to Vegas. The city is a short drive from McCarran International Airport and well-connected to other Nevada communities and the California border by several major roadways. Henderson's own airport, called Henderson Executive Airport, has been purchased by Clark County and is currently in the planning phase for a major renovation.
Henderson is bisected from the southeast to the northwest by Boulder Highway. Lake Mead Parkway and Interstate 215 cross through the city the other direction, from the southwest corner to the northeast. The city is sectioned into planning areas, with each section representing a community or grouping of communities. At the southwest corner is the West Henderson area, bordered by Henderson Executive Airport on the north and Anthem on the east. Moving north from Anthem is Westgate and MacDonald Ranch. North and east of MacDonald Ranch are McCullough Hills and the Green Valley Ranch communities. Several communities are adjacent to Boulder Highway, including Paradise Hills, Mission Hills, Highland Hills, Black Mountain, Midway, River Mountain, Valley View and Pittman. To the northeast are the communities of Foothills, Calico Ridge and Lake Las Vegas.
East of Henderson is Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. The Lake Mead National Recreational Area attracts more than 8 million visitors annually. Henderson's location between the glamour of the Strip and the stunning beauty of Lake Mead is a wonderful compromise for those who want the best of everything.
Since 1994, Henderson has been one of the country's fastest growing cities and has generated national recognition for its
Another advantage of the Henderson lifestyle is the warm and dry climate. Given that Henderson has very low annual rainfall and a very high sunshine occurrence rate, the city attracts people who enjoy staying active outdoors all year round. The hottest month of the year is July, when temperatures stretch towards 110. The coldest months are December and January, when temperatures may drop to the mid-20s. Rainfall averages less than one inch per month, or about four inches for the entire year. Humidity is also low, fluctuating between 10% and 55% throughout the year.
- Location: Henderson is located in Clark County, Nevada, southeast of Las Vegas and west of the Lake Mead Natural Recreation Area. Neighboring communities include Whitney, Paradise, Winchester, Sunrise Manor and Boulder City.
- Total area*: 79.7 square miles
- Population*: 175,381
- Housing units*: 71,149
- Average annual rainfall: 4.49 inches
- Average temperatures: summer, 87; winter, 52
- *Information provided by 2000 Census