Skip to main content

2016 Fall Mountain Trip Part 23; former US Route 66 and US Route 89 in Williams

After leaving the Grand Canyon I headed south on Arizona State Route 64 towards Williams for the night.  While Williams is famous is being part of US Route 66 it also has significance as part of US Route 89 and the south terminus of the Grand Canyon Railroad.


This article serves the 23rd entry in the 2016 Fall Mountain Trip Series.  Part 22 on Arizona State Route 64, Grand Canyon National Park, and the western terminus of US Route 180 can be found here:

2016 Fall Mountain Trip Part 22; Arizona State Route 64, Grand Canyon National Park, and the weird west terminus of US Route 180

Williams was plotted out in 1879 as a rail siding of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.  Williams was named after Bill Williams who was a well known traveler of what would become the American Southwest in the early 19th century.


Williams can be seen on the Third Operating Map of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad in 1882.


Williams is famously the last town in Arizona along the alignment of US 66 to be bypassed by I-40 which occurred on October 13, 1984.  US 66 traversed Williams on Grand Canyon Avenue eastbound and Railroad Avenue westbound through downtown.  Downtown Williams is filled with all sorts of Route 66 oriented businesses and displays a huge number of trinkets from a bygone era.


Amusingly most people tend to forget regarding Williams is that during the entire service life of US 66 it was multiplexed with US 89.   US 89 northbound followed Grand Canyon Avenue whereas US 89 southbound followed Railroad Avenue.  US 89 actually outlived US 66 by almost a decade in Williams as it wasn't truncated to Flagstaff until 1992.  US 89 even multiplexed I-40 for a time when the freeway bypass of Williams opened in 1984.

Williams is also famous for the Grand Canyon Railroad which was built in 1901 by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad 1901.  The ATSF operated the Grand Canyon Railroad for passengers until 1968 and for freight until 1974.  The Grand Canyon Railroad changed ownership various times in the ensuing decades but reopened in 1989.  The line still operates from downtown Williams north to Grand Canyon Village in Grand Canyon National Park.





Today former US 66/US 89 in Williams is signed as Historic US 66 and the I-40 Business Loop.



Upon entering Williams I followed Railroad Avenue westbound into downtown.  Even by 2016 standards using a Crown Victoria as a scarecrow Police Car was outdated.



Williams has a small park along Railroad Avenue which has a couple vintage rail cars and even a US Route 66 shield.


Railroad Avenue westbound has Historic US 66 shields and is signed as an Arizona Scenic Highway.


Turning around onto Grand Canyon Avenue eastbound the US Route 66 motif is immediately apparent on almost every business facade.  As much as I like US 66 it would be nice to see US 89 promoted as least a little by the City of Williams. 







After I arrived at my hotel I made sure to check to see if my car was leaking fluids after hitting a deer on UT 95 during the morning hours.  Thankfully the damage to my car was "mostly" cosmetic.  Nonetheless, I ended up picking an extra bottle of coolant since the radiator was slightly pushed in from the body damage.  Regardless, I made my final push for Phoenix taking the indirect way via former US Route 89A on current Arizona State Route 89A the next morning.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Deer Isle Bridge in Maine

As graceful a bridge that I ever set my eyes upon, the Deer Isle Bridge (officially known as the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge) surprisingly caught my eye as I was driving around coastal Maine one Saturday afternoon. About 35 miles south of Bangor, Maine , the Deer Isle Bridge connects the Blue Hill Peninsula of Downeast Maine with Little Deer Isle over the Eggemoggin Reach on ME 15 between the towns of Sedgwick and Deer Isle . It should be noted that Little Deer Isle is connected to Deer Isle by way of a boulder lined causeway, and there is a storied regatta that takes place on the Eggemoggin Reach each summer. But the Deer Isle Bridge holds many stories, not just for the vacationers who spend part of their summer on Deer Isle or in nearby Stonington , but for the residents throughout the years and the folks who have had a hand bringing this vital link to life.   The Deer Isle Bridge was designed by David Steinman and built by the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville,

Former US Route 99 through Athlone and the last Wheeler Ridge-Sacramento corridor expressway

Athlone was a siding of the Southern Pacific Railroad located in Merced County on the alignment of what was US Route 99 between the cities of Chowchilla and Merced.  The Athlone corridor of US Route 99 was one of the first in San Joaquin Valley to fully upgraded to four lane expressway standards.  The Athlone expressway corridor was inherited by California State Route 99 when US Route 99 was truncated to Ashland, Oregon during June 1965.  The four-lane expressway through Athlone was the last segment of what had been US Route 99 in the Wheeler Ridge-Sacramento corridor to be bypassed by a freeway.  The Athlone expressway corridor was bypassed by the modern California State Route 99 freeway in 2016.  Despite being put on a road diet and narrowed what was the Athlone expressway corridor still displays evidence of being part of US Route 99.   Above the blog cover photo displays the Athlone expressway corridor of US Route 99 south of Merced as depicted in the July 1939 California Highways &

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley