Are you animated? Devotional? Optimistic? Do you have character? Do you have values? Are you respectful, principled, or serene? If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, the Las Vegas Valley has a street for you. But wait, there’s still more! Are you magical, spectacular, or possessed of great ability? Do you have integrity? (Not the car, the character trait.) If so, then there’s a street for you, too!
Las Vegas is a place of many extremes. We have the brightest artificial light in the known universe shining from the Luxor pyramid every night. We have the tallest building between Chicago and the west coast in the Stratosphere Tower. We have more hotel rooms per capita than, well than anywhere, actually. We have more shows, more casinos, more buffets, and what may be the most congested intersection in the country at Flamingo and the Strip. And, we have developers who have pretty much run out of ideas for street names. That’s too bad, because you have to name a street because people have to be able to find the place.
View Some of the funny street names in Las Vegas in a larger map
Naming streets in Las Vegas was easy at first. The old town, now downtown, named streets going one direction after Nevada pioneers like Clark, Fremont and Carson. The cross streets got numbers, starting with First Street, which was just one block east of Main Street. Main Street was next to the railroad on the spot where the city began. In the original North Las Vegas the streets were mostly named after people, which was simple enough as well. Henderson was founded as a company town as a part of the war effort in World War Two. The street names include Basic, which is the name of the company, Water, which is where the water for Basic Industries flows (now underground,) and a whole lot of mineral names such as Lead, Silver, Perlite and that sort of thing, plus State names, ocean names (Atlantic and Pacific) and to top it off, Army, Navy, Major and Minor. For a long time, these three cities were really three separate small towns and naming the streets wasn’t much of a problem. You could use the names of your kids, American Indian tribal names, the names of trees, or any number of things and not do anything that someone might call sort of “weird” or “odd” or “wha . . . .?”
Then came the 1980s. The mob was out of power, Vegas was corporate, the place was booming! Townships prevented the cities from annexing as much as they might have liked, but the townships themselves filled up. Paradise is the largest unincorporated township in Nevada, with over 200,000 residents. And Winchester, Spring Valley and the others also have grown with the metro area, to the extent that now the three cities, the townships, and what’s left of unannexed Clark County are now home to over two million of us. At 4.2 people per household (I made that up) that’s about a million houses. A million houses need either to be on one heck of a long street, or else on a lot of small streets all connected together in some way. And if you have a lot of different streets, you need a lot of different street names. It stand to reason. And therein lies the problem.
During an early optimistic period what is now the industrial development west of the Strip used names of stars, like Polaris, Procyon, Regulus, Capella, Sirius, Rigel, Pollux, and Aldebaran. Well, that’s not bad. Then there are the celebrity streets. You know, Joe W. Brown Drive, Frank Sinatra Drive, Dean Martin Drive, Wynn Road, Elvis Presley Street, and many that are actually minor streets but still are named after famous Las Vegas people. There’s even a Bugsy Siegal Court, although I’m sure he’d prefer we call it “Benjamin Siegal Court” if he had a voice. Unfortunately there are only so many celebrities, and even though Penn Gilette Avenue and Teller Terrace would be perfectly nice names, a developer often needs twenty or thirty names at one time, and it’s nice if the names all relate to one another as well. Therein lies the problem, and a source of amusement.
Tami and I do a lot of garage sale shopping, so we see a lot of neighborhoods, especially when somebody organizes a “neighborhood” or “community” sale. There is an area in Henderson that uses athletic shoe maker names. Nike Street, Adidas Lane, that sort of thing. A year or so ago we dropped in on a gated development off of Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson. Unfortunately we had no camera with us, because the development featured some thought provoking street names. For example, you can go from Ability Point to Value Ridge, over to Respectful Ridge, perhaps passing Positive Point on the way, and finally make your way along Principle Point to Solitude. I swear to you that all of those names are genuine. You can check them on any online mapping program if you’d like. Look on the South Side of Horizon Ridge, just west of Shaded Canyon Drive.
Recently we visited another development in Henderson, this time in the Green Valley Ranch area. This time we had a camera, and I have photographic evidence to back me up. For example, consider this sign at the intersection of Wholesome Terrace and Impassioned Court. I told you I wasn’t making this up! Just down the terrace is Hopeful Ridge Court, which is quite a mouthful for a street name. You could also buy a place on Intellectual, Magical, Optimistic, Reassuring, Friendly, Spectacular, Kindred Point and, believe it or not, a few other streets besides.
If you’d like, you could become a neighbor of what one resident told us was frequently joked about by her friends as “Toothpaste Street.” The name? Well just look at it! What else but “Fortifying Crest?”