|Visit Our Mobile Site||GPS: Lat 35'15'28.89"N Long 112'10'15.75"W|
Williams, Arizona is an Old West and Route 66 town that's still remarkably unchanged today. It's the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, just an hour's drive from the South Rim and Grand Canyon Village. Local history and nostalgia permeate the town, and yet, it's filled with modern attractions, shops, restaurants, and taverns.
Williams was founded by hardy Americans who pushed West to raise cattle and sheep. They lived in the remote wilderness until the railroad connected the area to markets and other communities in 1882. The town flourished as a railway hub and became known as a rough and rowdy Western town.
Logging and sawmills came soon after the railroad. Tourism began in Williams with excursions to the Grand Canyon by buckboard and stagecoach.
Williams incorporated in 1901 and was named for the mountain man Bill Williams who frequented the area. Bill Williams was a well known hunter, trapper and guide throughout the West from the 1820's to the 1840's. The 9,250 foot Bill Williams Mountain lies south of town.
Towards the end of 1901 the 60-mile Sante Fe Railway spur line to the Grand Canyon established Williams as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon and a host to visitors from around the world. Today, this spur line is Grand Canyon Railway.
In 1926, U.S. Highway 66, America's Mother Road, was completed through Williams and served the automobile-touring public as part of Main Street of America. Williams became the last Route 66 town bypassed by Interstate 40 in 1984, the same year the downtown business district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, Arizona has the longest stretch of Route 66 in use, and it still runs through the heart of Williams.