This street is named for Catherine Henderson (1822–1891), wife of Joseph Dunlap (1818–1893), who gives his name to Dunlap Elementary School and the Dunlap section of Rainier Valley. HistoryLink writes of the couple, who came to Seattle from Fontanelle, Iowa:
Joseph and Catherine (Henderson) Dunlap arrived in the Puget Sound region in September 1869, having traveled by covered wagon from Iowa. According to family legend, when they arrived in the Puget Sound region, they followed a road over Beacon Hill and sent their son George up a tree to view the land to the south and east. There he spotted a flat valley and Lake Washington. The Dunlaps decided to homestead in that valley, located to the south of the Van Asselt and Mapel families. They claimed 120 acres extending east toward Rainier Beach.
Today, S Henderson Street begins at Seward Park Avenue S, just west of Be’er Sheva Park, and runs ¾ of a mile west to Carkeek Drive S. On the other side of Interstate 5 and the Duwamish River, it runs ⁹⁄₁₀ of a mile through South Park from just east of 14th Avenue S to just west of 2nd Avenue S, the portion over Highway 99/W Marginal Way S being a footbridge. Once in West Seattle, SW Henderson Street runs ⅔ of a mile from 8th Avenue SW, just west of Westcrest Park, to 21st Avenue SW, where the arterial turns into SW Barton Place, and is then a two-block residential street from 22nd Avenue SW to 25th Avenue SW, where it is blocked by the Westwood Village shopping mall. On the other side of the mall, it’s ⅘ of a mile from 28th Avenue SW to SW Barton Street at Fauntleroy Park, and then a final couple of blocks from 43rd Place SW to Fauntleroy Way SW, just north of Washington State Ferries’ Fauntleroy Terminal.