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CHANGE THIS DFSFSADFSFSDFSDis a town rich with the stories and history of the Old West, pioneers and explorers, cowboys and the Grand Canyon. The town, located in the beautiful Pondarosa pine forests and grasslands of Northern Arizona, was founded by cattle and sheep ranchers in 1876. They named their town, and the mountain peak overlooking the town, after one of the most famous mountain men and trappers in American history, Bill Williams. Although Bill Williams never lived in the area, he did travel, guide, and explore the area.
By 1881, the population grew enough to rate a post office, and by September 1882, the railroad arrived in town. The town of Williams rapidly became a center for industry and the transport of goods from the ranches and logging in the area. With all of this industry also came the single, rowdy working man many of these historic towns were populated by. To accommodate the wants of this group of men saloons, brothels and gambling houses were established along “Saloon Row”, next the railroad tracks. Many of these buildings still stand today housing bed and breakfasts, stores, restaurants and bars. Williams, Arizona gives tourists a great chance to feel the history and adventure that went with the establishment of the state.
In 1892, the famous Grand Canyon Hotel opened for business in Williams. It was the closest hotel to the Grand Canyon at the time and hosted many famous guests. Some of the original guest registers are on display in the hotel lobby for guests to view. Unfortunately, the hotel closed for business after three quarters of a century when the new Interstate bypassed Williams.
Luckily this treasure was rediscovered in 2004 by Amy and Oscar Fredrickson who purchased this famous landmark and began extensive restoration. The boutique style hotel reopened in 2005 and is an enchanting place to stay when you are in the area. The themed rooms are delightful, a mix of modern amenities and antique charm, the perfect way to end your day of adventures in historic style.
By 1901 the town of Williams had grown tremendously and the Santa Fe Railroad extended its passenger line into Williams which greatly increased tourist to the area. During this era Williams was coined “The Gateway to the Grand Canyon”.This was because in the early days of Grand Canyon tourist travel, most visitors traveled to the Grand Canyon on horseback and wagons originating in Williams, less than 60 miles to the south of the canyon rim.The addition of the passenger train made it even easier for people to access this wonder of the world.
In 1908, one of the historic Harvey Houses, The Frey Marcos Hotel, was opened in Williams to cater to cross country travelers on the rail line and those disembarking on an adventure to visit the Grand Canyon. The Harvey Houses brought a new level of sophistication and civilization to the Wild West not before seen in these remote locations.
The train station and hotel building are still there today, although only as the train station and shops, not as the hotel and restaurant as they were once famous for.
In 1926, Williams’ residents saw another boom with the completion of Historic Route 66 through their town. This historic route made cross country travel by car easier and even more people flowed into town as a stop along their way to the Grand Canyon and California.
Video of Down an 18 Mile Hill on I-17 toward Cottonwood, Arizona (1 of 2)
Video of Down an 18 Mile Hill on I-17 toward Cottonwood, Arizona (2 of 2)
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