Like most areas in America, the land that encompasses modern-day Williams, Arizona was once home to Native Americans. Just north of this region was the Hopi tribe, a group renowned for their art. In the mid 1500s, Spanish explorers came through the area and discovered the Grand Canyon. The Spaniards Christian mission was forced onto the Indians.

In the 1800s when fur trade was at its peak, one of the best trappers went by the name Bill Williams. Williams spent much of his time in the area that is now named after him.

In 1882, the construction of the Sante Fe train line that went through Williams, began bringing industry and tourism to the area. Lumber was very prosperous to the area and tours of the Grand Canyon began bringing in people by the numbers.

Williams did not always see great success however. A destructive fire swept through demolishing a large percentage of the town's buildings and hotels in 1901. Also, the invention of the car competed too much for the train system to survive. Yet, Williams persevered. The buildings lost in the fire were reconstructed immediately. Later on, in 1989, the train made a comeback and today serves as transportation for a great number of tourists.

In the 1920s, the famous Route 66 added Williams to their route making it an ever great tourist hotspot.