Henderson Historical Society Stories

Inspiration for An American Journey

by Monica Martinez Simmons

Water Street Shops

Inspired by a strong sense of community and a deep pride for my hometown—An American Journey was a labor of love.  The beginning of a story etched beautifully in the memories of our pioneers and early inhabitants, this story simply could not fade.

Our City would undergo an unimaginable transformation and unprecedented growth.  How could we ensure the many new residents relocating to our community would appreciate their new home, foster their community pride, and share in the celebration of Henderson’s heritage if we did not make the effort to properly document the journey.

City Hall

City Hall circa 1960

Having the privilege of both serving our community for 32 years and having been born and raised in Henderson, I felt a profound personal and professional obligation to acknowledge those who lay the foundation.  Small in stature… a city of industry…  and not a hint of flash like our neighbors, Henderson was intended to be nothing more than a temporary town established for a specific purpose.  Yet, it was the individuals and families who gathered here for work who clearly had something else in mind.  They cultivated an enormous sense of community spirit and pride for Henderson.

My own parents arrived in the late 1940s, as my father took a job with TIMET.  Our neighbors shared a mutual respect for the work that brought many of them to Southern Nevada, and a strong sense of belonging was in place early on.  Raising our own family in our hometown has rooted us with a deep sense of pride, determination, and dedication for our community.

When I reminisce about the simpler times, I am overcome by a grateful heart for the kindness and caring shared amongst neighbors, for the visionaries who understood our potential early on, and for the many community minded who walked the walk.  Whether the Rexall Drug Store soda fountain, a Saturday matinee at the Victory Theater, the Basic High School football games, or the spirited Industrial Days celebrations… these icons truly represented our heritage.   We were proud of the fact that industry drew our parents and neighbors to this part of the country for the purpose of making an honest living and to live their American dream.

We remain proud to call Henderson home today.  Understanding the true grit of Henderson’s pioneers and the steps they took to ensure our community remained intact has never been taken for granted… it is what inspired An American Journey during my tenure as City Clerk.

Henderson has been called a city of destiny, and I could not agree more…

Comments are closed.

Filed under: Do You Remember?