Gateway to the Grand Canyon
Williams the gateway to the Grand Canyon on Route 66. The area was first settled in 1874. Williams itself was founded in 1880 and named for the famous trapper, scout and mountain Old Bill Williams. The elevation is 6,700 ft, and is nestled in the heart of the Kaibab National Forest.
This is where the trains start their journey to The Grand Canyon
The town of Williams is nestled at the base of Bill Williams Mountain in the world's largest stand of Ponderosa Pine trees, and was originally a railroad town and logging centre.
The town has approximately 2,700 residents and is about the same size as it was at the turn of the century.
Williams economy thrives primarily upon tourism. Boasting seven area fishing lakes, hiking trails up Bill Williams mountain and into Sycamore Canyon, and an alpine ski area and crosscountry ski trails, four-season weather and an abundance of wildlife.
William Sherley Williams was a 19th C. trapper, and from scant records it is said he was born in Rutherford County N.C., in 1787. He became a roving Baptist preacher and lived near or among the Osage Indians for many years. Drifting further west, he became a member of a trapping party organising in Arizona as early as 1826. During his lifetime in the outdoors, making his way by his prowess as a trapper and guide, he ranged at will from Oregon to old Mexico. Schooled in the ways of the Indian he was an astute trapper, cool-headed in battle, and could hold his own with a rifle. He is said to have died at the hands of the Ute Indian warriers on March 14 1849 in Colorado and is buried in that state. In 1980 an 8.5ft.1,000-pound bronze statue of Old Bill was created by local artist Bill Pettit and stands in Monument Park located at the west end of Williams.
The historic downtown district spans six square blocks and includes the Fray Marcus Hotel and Depot. The Fray Marcus is the oldest and largest surviving concrete-poured edifice in Arizona. The old hotel, which now serves as a depot for the Grand Canyon Railway started out as a Fred Harvey House. These unique restaurants and hotels opened every 100 miles along the railroad, and included the Fray Marcus.
"All aboard !"
This was the train about to leave Williams in the morning, taking the passengers to the Grand Canyon.
"Like the car!!"
Here is a cafe in Williams - Historic Route 66 fame,- where it pumps out 50's music in the diner, but best of all I just love this car.
It is called Twisters Soda Fountain and is open 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
You cannot miss it as you walk down the main street. Go on in and enjoy !!!
Photo by joanj