5/27/2012 11:00:00 AM Visit the Williams-Forest Service Visitor Center
Books, interpretive displays and area information in historic visitor center building
Visitors to Williams can be treated to one-stop-shopping when seeking information about Williams and the surrounding Kaibab National Forest.
The city of Williams-Kaibab National Forest Visitor Center is located in the historic Santa Fe Freight Depot on the northwest corner of Grand Canyon Boulevard and Railroad Avenue.
The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
The Visitor Center celebrated its grand opening in 1994. Together, the Williams-Grand-Canyon Chamber of Commerce, the Forest Service and National Parks Service manages the Visitor Center.
The Forest Service provides interpretive displays and information about the forest. Admission for the Grand Canyon can be purchased from the Visitor Center.
The Public Lands Interpretive Association operates a bookstore and gift shop. It offers a wide selection of books, videos and other materials that provide interpretive and historical information about the Southwest. Books on the Grand Canyon, American Indian tribes and cultures, geology, wildflowers and Route 66 are available. Hiking maps are for sale as well.
The staff at the Visitor Center - an official Arizona Tourist Information Center - can assist you with information about restaurants, motels, camping, hiking, fishing, other places of interest and with general information about the area.
This historic brick structure was built in 1901 as a passenger train depot, replacing an earlier wooden depot that was destroyed by fire. It later became a telegraph and railroad office and then was used as a freight depot.
Abandoned by the early 1970s, it remained sound and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The city of Williams bought it in 1992 and, with the Kaibab National Forest, began restoration in 1993.
There's a copy of John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath," about Oakies who traveled west along Route 66 during the Depression and a reference to the 1940s movie the book spawned. A TV Guide from 1962 features George Maharis and Martin Milner on its cover, stars of the famous television series about traveling the highway. Mention is made of Williams being the last Route 66 town bypassed in 1984. Several photos catch early local scenes along the highway.
Other exhibits depict the Beale Road, the Bill Williams Mountain Men and Buckskinners, how the town got its name, ecology, fire suppression and natural origins.
For more information, you can call the center during regular business hours at (800) 863-0546 or (928) 635-1418. Visit the chamber online at >williamschamber.com . The 24-hour chamber fax number is (928) 635-1417.