Street Name of the Las Vegas Valley
Street namers face few roadblocks in Las Vegas
Published June 28, 2019
Anyone who has spent time driving anywhere in Las Vegas can’t help but wonder at the process behind naming the area’s 32,435 streets.
It’s my belief that street namers fall into three categories; either they have a tremendous sense of humor, are extremely unimaginative or are just plain lazy.
I picture everyone in a developer’s office calling in sick the day their new subdivision’s streets are supposed to be named (yes, it is the contractor’s job to provide street names when a new subdivision is proposed.) The only one around that day is a 19-year-old intern who just wants to learn to drive a backhoe, and the janitor who dreams of being a stand-up karaoke magician.
“The boss wants us to find the perfect names for all these streets so they can submit the subdivision plans next week,” Intern Ernie explains. “He said we can use the Las Vegas Planning Department’s Street Name Verification Database at lasvegasnevada.gov.”
“No Way,” responds Janitor Joe.
“I can’t do this by myself,” counters Ernie. “You have to help.”
“I was suggesting that as the name of a street,” Joe replies. “See if it’s in there.”
“There’s a No Name and a No Point Bay, but it looks like No Way is available.”
“Ok, that’s one down. How many more do we need?”
Although I doubt very seriously if that’s the way it happens, one can’t help but marvel at how many Las Vegas street names are strange, unique, funny and just plain embarrassing.
Let’s take a little trip around the valley and I’ll show you what I mean.
#1 FAMOUS PEOPLE
Las Vegas has been home to thousands of famous people over the years and more than a few now have streets named after them. Here are just a few of the celebrity streets, avenues and boulevards you might run across; Hugh Hefner, Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Frank Sinatra, Annie Oakley, Jerry Tarkanian, Gary Cooper, Lorne Green, Dan Blocker, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, Picasso, Cliff Branch, Howard Hughes, Casanova, Amelia Earhart, Za Zu Pitts, Bugsy Siegal, Billy Bones, Thomas Edison, Elvis Presley, Santana, Victor Hugo, Pink Panther, Mark Twain, Betty Davis, Cy Young, John Wayne, Houdini, Betsy Ross, Shakespeare, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Thomas Jefferson, Buzz Aldrin and even Captain Kirk.
Naming streets after colors is popular, but because you can’t have two streets with the same name, street namers often start with the name of a color and then add a second word to make it work. The database lists 92 streets that start with Black, 100 that start with Green, 138 beginning with White, 162 that start with Blue, 164 that start with Silver, 176 with Red as the first word and the most popular color for a Las Vegas street name is, not surprisingly, Gold, which begins 181.
#3 RANDOM GETS THE JOB DONE
Sometimes you can just tell the developer used a random word generator to come up with names. I can’t imagine trying to constantly explain to people that yes, that is my real street name. For instance, there is a Loud Water, Garden Shower, Water Bucket, Water Coconut, Glitter, Orange Mist, Extreme Shear, Vivid Colors, Loud Colors, Creeping Thyme, Trumpet Creeper, Gruff Huff, Bedding Plane, Irish Mittens, Random Cloud, Savvy Seam, Bufflehead, Pillow Talk, Dusky Flycatcher, Pecan Pie, Tinker Toy, Learned Cactus, Coffee Grinder, Hanky Panky, Tim Tam and perhaps the worst in my random category, Scabland. These would almost be enough to make me want to move.
#4 PLANTS AND ANIMALS
Personification, even if it often makes no sense, is another popular way to go. Get a list of animals, throw some adjectives in with them and you have a complete subdivision. What exactly does Preppy Fox, Timid Tiger or Running Rabbit have to do with streets? There’s also Lazy Rabbit, Lazy Bear, Fast Elk, Bare Rabbit, Bared Eagle, Proud Eagle, (not sure which eagle came first) Crying Bird, Masked Duck, Blue Trout, Running Trout, Pewter Pheasant, Otter Corner and Tundra Swan.
As far as plants go, there is a Broccoli Street and Watermelon Street, both in a subdivision just off Walnut Road. There are 31 variations of Apple street names, 53 variations of Ash, 56 that begin with Cedar, 60 various Willows and the most popular plant to begin a street, with 89 variations, is Pine. It is a bit surprising that cannabis dispensaries didn’t line up to open on streets with names such as Miracle Leaf, Loco Weed, Jogging High, Baby Bud, Smokey Fog and Puffin.
#5 THE SEASONS
Las Vegas is the land of two seasons, with an occasional week of weirdness thrown in, but that doesn’t stop street namers from using the seasons as a jumping off point. For instance, there are 51 streets that begin with Winter, 52 Autumns and 65 Springs, which leaves Summer as the most popular season to begin a street name, with 84 variations. With Summer as inspiration, one of the all-time popular words to begin a street name in Las Vegas, with 263 variations, is Sun (Via is the most popular with 295). While technically not seasons, the time of day also served some developers well. Morning, the most popular time, earned first-word-street-name preference 68 times. Night came in second with 27 instances and noon came a distance third, offering only Noonday and Noontide.
#6 LET’S DO THIS AND GO HOME
Perhaps a Raiders game was scheduled for that night or the Golden Knights were heading in to the playoffs and the street namer wanted nothing more than to settle into his favorite recliner, pop open a cold one and watch the game. Desperate times call for desperate measures, at least that’s what appears happened when Boletus, Norellat, Pengilly and Nahatan were named. Again, just picture trying to tell someone you live on Al De La, Sagtikos, Clatsop, Shemtove, Dongola, Haldir, Rabnor, Esk, Nene, Trixis, Tinta, Erbal or Motmot. Toss in streets like Nice, Dirt, Little, Broken, Cozy, Extreme, Sticky, Amen, Bible, Karaoke, Topsy, Turvey and you can see my point.
#7 A PERFECT WORLD
While no place is perfect, it appears that some street namers in Las Vegas want people to think their homes are the best. Imagine telling everyone you live on a Magnificent Street? There is also Legendary, Tantalizing, Sentimental, Agreeable, Honorable, Captivating, Creative, Courteous, Inspired, Confidant, Extravagant, Bombastic, Glamorous, Authentic and Illustrious. Interestingly enough, only five streets begin with Laughing, seven begin with Happy and 12 begin with Love.
#8 OUT THE WINDOW
When all else fails, street namers probably spent endless hours staring out their office window, hoping for inspiration to strike. For some, that’s what apparently happened. Breezy kicks off the list of street names 15 times, while Wind leads off 100; Desert starts 52 street names, Canyon contributes 67, Stone/Stony adds 74 names while Rock/Rocky leads off 91. Sand/Sandy comes in second place in the Out The Window category with 116 entries, while Mount/Mountain takes the top spot with 177.
So while being a street namer can’t be an easy job, especially with that many names already taken, a tip of the hat is due to the people who named the three streets I would most like to live on. It took a bit of humor for someone to write down on their application My Way, Thata Way and Elvis Alive Drive.
About the author: Tim Dewar is Alysia's husband and a longtime newspaper reporter editor. He is a communications and social media professional who writes about the local real estate market and Las Vegas lifestyle pieces for Alysia's website, www.yourhomeinNevada.com. You can contact Tim here.
Every longtime Raiders fan knows you couldn't stop Cliff Branch. Maybe that's why he has a Henderson street named after him.