Tuesday, June 15, 2021



Williams Says Fairwell to Historical Palm Trees

Submitted Video By Summer DunlapThe scene-scape of Downtown Historic Williams will now have a very much different appearance with the absence of the 130 year old historic Palm Trees that have resided on the old Williams House property since the town early founding years.

In 1876, the town of Central was later named after W. H. Williams, who sold his right of way to the Railroad, enabling the town to flourish. Celebrating his success, Mr. Williams, built a grand home at the cost of $10,000.

Photo of the Williams House with two of the five grand palm trees taken in the 1960’s. Photo submitted by Summer Dunlap, Photo taken by Hank Rhoades.

The home was located at Ninth and ‘F’ Streets.

Mr. Williams purchased bricks from Marysville to construct the home and he spared no expense at filling his home with elegant furnishings, gas fixtures, and elegant landscaping that included five palm trees.


When the railroad began to bring more people to the town, Mr. Williams opened his home to the travelers until the Williams Hotel was completed.

In the 1950’s Dr. and Mrs. Marsh purchased the property that now includes the Williams House, the Medical and Dental Office building and Roy’s Market.

Dr. Marsh was actively working on restoring the Williams House during the 1960’s; however, due to the extreme expense of restoration, the project was put on infinite hold.

“There was so much vandalism, that the structure became dangerous.” Said Vernette Marsh, “even the fencing and signs did no good at keeping the vandals out. Eventually the house had to come down.”

The Williams house later was torn down in the late 1970’s.

After the death of Dr. Marsh, the property was inherited by the remaining family members and since then they have been managing the property.

Over the past several years the family had to deal with maintaining the property and the fronds that fell from the trees.

Williams House – Taken by Neville Reister in 1966. (Submitted Photo)

“Although they were stately trees, they were also a mess.” said Marsh, “and we had lots of complaints from the surrounding neighbors.”

In a recent family meeting, the Marsh family discussed the fate of the property.

“It’s no secret;” said Marsh, “but the family’s properties are being divided between the members of the family.”

The lots that contained the Old Williams House, Roy’s Market and the Medical and Dental Office Building have been divided off to Bernadette Marsh, Antoinette Marsh, Stephen Marsh, and Annamarie Marsh.

“How the Property will be divided from there, I do not know.” Said Marsh.

“When the group proposed to cutting down the trees, two other family members and I were opposed to the idea.” Said Marsh, “however, we were outvoted.”

The last known image of the property with the view of the palm trees. Courtesy of Google Maps

The group looked into relocating or selling the trees, but discovered that these were not the type of trees landscapers were looking for.

The five trees were removed on August 7th and caused quite the controversy around town. Lifelong residents were outraged on the removal, while others sad to see the trees go.

“I feel a pain in my chest,” said Lourdes Hernandez, “I remember when the house was there, I just can’t believe it.”

The City of Williams was flooded with phone calls from residents outraged; city representatives confirmed that the removal was done within legal limitations.

A sixth, smaller palm tree was saved through the cooperative efforts of the city and the property owners over a question of easement.

Tree Removal Crews cutting down the Historic Williams House Palm Trees on August 7, 2012. (Staff Photo)

Plans for the vacant property is currently unknown.

For more historical pictures and video of the tree removal, please visit: www.WilliamsPioneerReview.com



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