Day one - Evening, Historic District

The little place we ate dinner at.

We checked into our hotel and decide to walk "Historic Williams". A man named Bill Williams guided hunting parties through this area. Williams is named after this mountain man.
  • The settling of Williams: 1882
  • The founding of Williams: 1891
  • The incorporation date of Williams: 1902
  • The first extensive paved Route 66 appeared complete 1938. Route 66 flourished through the 1950s.
  • This town has Victorian Flair, 20's fun, 30's history (dust bowl people traveled through here to get to California) and 1950's music and retro merchandise with a little Arizona culture thrown in.

There were plenty of old stone and brick buildings. Something you rarely see in California due to our earthquakes. In 1901, a great fire swept though Williams burning 36 business buildings, 2 hotels and 10 homes in less than an hour. During the rebuilding it was mandated that structures were to be made of non flammable materials.

The Red Garter

The two-story Victorian Romanesque-style bed & breakfast, once one of the rowdiest buildings in Williams, was constructed in 1897 as a saloon and bordello. In the 30's it was owned by a man named Longino Mora. He had a hidden area during prohibition, an area the Governor of Arizona would visit.

After exploring the town we went in for the night. That did not last long. There were shots ringing out and loud clashes. Two events. A gun fight in the street and lightning and thunder. Williams has nightly gun fights that spring up on various streets in town. It so happened that this shoot out was right outside our hotel. We went down to check it out. It was neat to have the actors replaying a scene form the past will the sky lit up with lighting and roaring thunder. After the show we popped into a little diner and had Peach pie and coffee and my husband had a slice of Lemon Meringue and coffee. As we ate and talked rain came pouring down. We ran across the street to our hotel and as we looked out into the street I saw Route 66. The lights reflecting off the street, the warm diner lights glowing with patrons sitting inside, the weather harsh but beautiful, this was it.

Day one

We took off for Arizona today. The trip was great. We stopped a few times in order to get gas and grab a bite to eat. While in conversation with my husband, I kept my eye on Route 66. I grew up in a town that it passed through at it's height. I love the history, music and cars behind this piece of American History.

On Interstate 40, we passed by some wonderful land formations.

We arrived in Williams right on time. Williams, Arizona would go down in history as being the last town to have its section of Route 66 bypassed. The original plan was to have the last section of the famous highway bypassed somewhere in Texas, but lawsuits that had been filed kept the last section of Interstate 40 from being built around Williams. After settlements called for the state to build three exits for the town, the suits were dropped and I-40 was built. In 1984, Interstate 40 was opened around the town and newspapers the next day reported the essential end of the famous US 66. The following year, Route 66 was decommissioned. However, portions of the road that passed through Illinois, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66". It has begun to return to maps in this form.