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City of Williams
Steam locomotive 29 and train sitting at Williams Depot, 1993
Steam locomotive 29 and train sitting at Williams Depot, 1993
Nickname(s): 
Gateway to the Grand Canyon
Location of Williams in Coconino County, Arizona
Location of Williams in Coconino County, Arizona
U.S. Census Map
U.S. Census Map
Williams, Arizona is located in Arizona
Williams, Arizona
Williams, Arizona
Location in Arizona
Williams, Arizona is located in the United States
Williams, Arizona
Williams, Arizona
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Arizona
County Coconino
Settled 1881
Incorporated July 9, 1901
Government
 • Type Council-Manager
Area
 • Total 44.17 sq mi (114.41 km2)
 • Land 43.83 sq mi (113.52 km2)
 • Water 0.34 sq mi (0.89 km2)
Elevation
6,766 ft (2,062 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 3,202
 • Density 73.06/sq mi (28.21/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
ZIP code
86046
Area code 928
FIPS code 04-83160
GNIS feature ID 36208
Website City of Williams

Williams (Havasupai: Wii Gvʼul ) is a city in Coconino County, Arizona, United States, located west of Flagstaff. Its population was 3,023 at the 2010 census. It lies on the routes of Historic Route 66 and Interstate 40. It is also the southern terminus of the Grand Canyon Railway, which takes visitors to Grand Canyon Village. There are numerous inns, motels, restaurants and gas stations catering to the large influx of tourists rather than local residents, especially during the summer and holiday seasons.

Also known as the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon", Williams was the last city on Historic Route 66 to be bypassed by Interstate 40. The community, bypassed on October 13, 1984, continues to thrive on tourism. Boasting seven fishing lakes in the area, hiking trails up Bill Williams Mountain and into Sycamore Canyon, an alpine ski area and cross country ski trails, four-seasons weather and an abundance of wildlife, Williams offers unlimited recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast.

The Historic Downtown District covers six square blocks. Williams boasts a rich heritage that features the Old West and Route 66, coupled with tourism trends today and the city's heyday years of the '50s and '60s.

History

Williams is named after William "Old Bill" Williams, a mountain man and trader who often trapped in the area.

Franklin D. Roosevelt and others in Williams, Arizona - NARA - 197042
Franklin D. Roosevelt (seated, center) at Greenway Ranch in Williams on September 26, 1932, during that year's presidential campaign. He is accompanied by U.S. Senator from Arizona Carl Hayden standing far right, along with—among others—three Democrats from the U.S. Senate (seated): Pittman, Walsh, and Cohen.

Founded in 1881, Williams was named for the famous trapper, scout and mountain man, "Old Bill Williams." A statue of "Old Bill" stands in Monument Park, located on the west side of the city. The large mountain directly south of town is named Bill Williams Mountain and the Town was incorporated July 9, 1901.

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.

Williams Historic Business District and Urban Route 66, Williams were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and 1989, respectively.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 199
1910 1,267
1920 1,350 6.6%
1930 2,166 60.4%
1940 2,622 21.1%
1950 2,152 −17.9%
1960 3,559 65.4%
1970 2,386 −33.0%
1980 2,266 −5.0%
1990 2,532 11.7%
2000 2,842 12.2%
2010 3,023 6.4%
2020 3,202 5.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,842 people, 1,057 households, and 733 families residing in the city. The population density was 65.3 people per square mile (25.2/km2). There were 1,204 housing units at an average density of 27.7 per square mile (10.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.1% White, 2.9% Black or African American, 1.7% Native American, 1.3% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 14.2% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 32.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 1,057 households, out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 29.8% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,455, and the median income for a family was $39,063. Males had a median income of $27,237 versus $25,162 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,223. About 9.9% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.

Geography

Williams is located at 35°14′58″N 112°11′24″W / 35.24944°N 112.19000°W / 35.24944; -112.19000 (35.249369, −112.189872) at 6,800 feet (2,100 m) in elevation. Bill Williams Mountain rises to an elevation of 9,256 feet (2,821 m) just south of Williams. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 43.8 square miles (113 km2), of which 43.5 square miles (113 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 0.66%, is water.

Climate

Williams has a cool-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb). On average in Williams, December is the coldest month, July is the warmest month, and August is the wettest month. The hottest temperature recorded in Williams was 102 °F (39 °C) in 1909; the coldest temperature recorded was −25 °F (−32 °C) in 1937.

Climate data for Williams, Arizona (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
(23.3)
74
(23.3)
76
(24.4)
87
(30.6)
92
(33.3)
100
(37.8)
102
(38.9)
101
(38.3)
93
(33.9)
85
(29.4)
80
(26.7)
74
(23.3)
102
(38.9)
Average high °F (°C) 46.5
(8.06)
48.5
(9.17)
53.8
(12.11)
61.6
(16.44)
71.2
(21.78)
80.7
(27.06)
83.3
(28.5)
80.5
(26.94)
75.3
(24.06)
65.3
(18.5)
54.3
(12.39)
46.5
(8.06)
64.0
(17.78)
Daily mean °F (°C) 34.9
(1.61)
36.8
(2.67)
41.0
(5)
47.5
(8.61)
56.3
(13.5)
65.0
(18.33)
69.2
(20.67)
67.2
(19.56)
61.7
(16.5)
51.6
(10.89)
41.8
(5.44)
34.9
(1.61)
50.7
(10.39)
Average low °F (°C) 23.3
(-4.83)
25.0
(-3.89)
28.2
(-2.11)
33.4
(0.78)
41.5
(5.28)
49.4
(9.67)
55.1
(12.83)
53.8
(12.11)
48.1
(8.94)
37.9
(3.28)
29.2
(-1.56)
23.2
(-4.89)
37.3
(2.94)
Record low °F (°C) −25
(-31.7)
−18
(-27.8)
−6
(-21.1)
2
(-16.7)
8
(-13.3)
22
(-5.6)
32
(0)
32
(0)
11
(-11.7)
7
(-13.9)
−7
(-21.7)
−17
(-27.2)
−25
(-31.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.22
(56.4)
2.42
(61.5)
2.16
(54.9)
1.03
(26.2)
.58
(14.7)
.44
(11.2)
2.84
(72.1)
3.41
(86.6)
1.83
(46.5)
1.55
(39.4)
1.67
(42.4)
1.98
(50.3)
22.13
(562.1)
Snowfall inches (cm) 18.5
(47)
15.8
(40.1)
13.3
(33.8)
5.5
(14)
.2
(0.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.5
(1.3)
5.0
(12.7)
12.1
(30.7)
70.9
(180.1)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 6.5 6.4 6.7 3.8 3.2 2.3 10.0 11.8 6.4 4.3 4.5 5.8 71.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 4.2 3.8 3.4 1.8 .1 0 0 0 0 .2 1.7 3.4 18.5
Source: NOAA (extremes 1897–present)

Transportation

Williams, Arizona
Williams, Arizona, Town Center December 2019

Amtrak‘s Southwest Chief train served Williams between 1999 and 2017, calling at Williams Junction, 3 miles (4.8 km) east of town. Passengers were shuttled from the station to downtown Williams by Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach. Following the closure of Williams Junction in 2018, Amtrak introduced a new Thruway bus service between Williams and Flagstaff.

The surviving downtown station serves as the southern terminus for the Grand Canyon Railway.

Williams has a small general aviation airport, H.A. Clark Memorial Field, serving small aircraft.

Education

Williams is served by the Williams Unified School District. Two schools, Williams Elementary Middle School, and Williams High School, serve the city. A charter school, Heritage Elementary Charter School, also provides services.

Notable people

  • Billy Hatcher, baseball player and coach
  • Ross Hagen, voice actor, director, screenwriter and producer
  • Diana Gabaldon, writer and actress known for the Outlander Series novels and Outlander TV series
  • Tom Ray, animator for Warner Brothers cartoons
  • Old Bill Williams, namesake of the town
  • John W. Moore, Mayor of Williams, Arizona- 2008–2022, Arizona Congressional District 2 Republican candidate, 2022 United States House of Representatives elections

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