Despite being on the same weekend as the Colusa County Fair, the 41st annual Williams Pioneer Day went without a hitch.
The day was hot, but scores of individuals and families gathered to watch the Pioneer Day parade, stroll the downtown vendors and commemorate its rich history with a mural dedication.
Starting at 9:30 a.m., about 25 street vendors setup along E street, selling unique goods and crafts, and some provided useful information, while others served of delicious culture fare.
At-about, 10:00 a.m. the Pioneer Day parade began with the Colusa County VFW leading the American flag, followed by several entries that included the a special 1902 horse-drawn steam fire engine.
Built by the AMERICAN Fire Engine Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, the horse-drawn steam fire engine needed three large horses to pull its weight of over 9500 lbs. The traditional horse of the fire service is the Percheron, a draft horse originating in France. Colorful, powerful, and reliable, these gentle giants were easy to train and became devoted friends of the firefighters with whom they shared the fire station. Serving the City of Reno as Engine #1 for over 20 years, this famous fire engine saved many lives while protecting the city.
Known as the classic in American firefighting, this steamer is a true example of American engineering and industrial ability of the early 1900’s, and was a great step forward in early fire-fighting! After its retirement in 1922, Reno #1 served the Southern Pacific Railroad for a short period on firefighting trains protecting the snowsheds along the California Sierras.
Other entries included the Family Action Center, the Butte Recology Trash Can Gang, Morning Star, and other local organizations and businesses.
Williams Mayor, and founder of the Citizens for a Better Williams, Patricia Ash, was selected as the 2014 Grand Marshal.
Shortly after the parade completed, a special dedication ceremony was given for the recently completed Williams Hotel Mural in Town Square Park. The Great Grandchildren of W.H. Williams (Mary Callen Wells, Bill Doub, and Phillip Doub) were in attendance.
Ash gave a brief background into the mural and the history of the Williams Hotel.
“The Williams Hotel was built at a cost of $40,000 in 1877, and it stood until 1923 when it was destroyed by fire, it was the hub of the city.” said Ash, “Inside the hotel, there was a dining room that sat 150 people, 9 businesses, and of course the hotel bar.”
The Williams Hotel served as the town’s stage stop between the railroad and the many mineral springs west of town Ash explained.
Today, the Williams Hotel has been forever memorialized as part of historical significance of the community alongside the north wall of the former Masonic Lodge.
Mary Callen Wells, Granddaughter of Lulu Williams Callen stood and gave her memories of Williams, traveling here as a young girl.
“I remember coming to Williams with my father as he did business with the various properties we owned,” said Wells, “My father and I were in an office and my father told me to come up and pay attention, because one day there would be irrigation canals built through our lands.”
Much has changed in Williams commented Wells, “Today I see the development to the west of town, the new housing, the education center – I think our ancestors would be very pleased with the progress.”
California Governor, Jerry Brown, made a brief appearance commenting on the beautiful mural and how progress is made by working together.
With historical significance to Williams, Governor Brown has recently taken on a project to rebuild his family homestead at the old mountain house, just west of Williams.
To end a day full of events, a spectacular fireworks display began at dark towards the western hills. The fireworks were sponsored by Morning Star Packing Company.