Williams, Arizona – Historic Route 66

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Had stopped for gasoline. But also had to grab a few quick stops in this classic Route 66 town, Williams Arizona.

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Image source Bill Pettitwww.mountainmanbronzes.com

It’s named for “Old Bill Williams,” William Sherley (January 3, 1787 – March 1849). He was a noted mountain man and frontiersman. Fluent in several languages, including native ones, he served as an interpreter for the US government. He lead several expeditions in the west mountain man and frontiersman. He served as an interpreter for the government, and led several expeditions in the West. Fluent in several languages, he lived with the Osage Natives and was married the daughter of an Osage chief. He also had lived with the Ute people.

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Touted as “Gateway To The Grand Canoyon,” Williams is also a railroad town. Not only a stop for the Amtrak Southwest Chief, and it is also the southern terminus of the Grand Canyon Railway  which takes visitors to Grand Canyon Village.

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There is a large influx of tourists especially during the summer and holiday seasons. Numerous inns, motels, restaurants and gas stations cater more to the tourist trade more than local residents. But it helps keep this slice of Route 66 and American history alive.

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Williams was the last town to have its section of Route 66 bypassed, due to lawsuits that kept the last section of Interstate 40 in Arizona from being built around the town. After settlements called for the state to build three Williams exits, the suits were dropped and I-40 was completed. On October 13, 1984, Interstate 40 was opened around the town and newspapers the next day reported the essential end of US 66. The following year, Route 66 was decommissioned.

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Dan Soderberg
I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.

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