Williamsville, Illinois: all about it
Trivia, Facts and Useful Information
Elevation: 598 ft (182 m). Population 1,476 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Williamsville is a village in the north of Sangamon County, Illinois, on Route 66.
This is a Map of Williamsville.
The History of Williamsville
The central part of Illinois has been inhabited for at least 11,000 years, the rivers of this region were explored by French trappers in the mid 1600s, but only during the first years of the 1800s did settlers move out to the vast prairies.
Founded as Benton in 1853 when the railroad reached the area (after the U.S. sentator from Missouri Thomas H. Benton). The name was later changed to Williamsville and incorporated in 1884.
The name: Williamsville
The town was named to honor Col. John Williams (1808-1890) a Springfield merchant. He fought with Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War (1832) and they became close friends.
Route 66 was aligned through the downtown district in 1926 and then moved west in 1940, bypassing it. In 1976 I-55 cut off the town completely.
Williamsville, its Hotels and Motels
Lodging & accommodation in Williamsville
More Accommodation near Williamsville on Route 66
See some more hotels & motels nearby
Hotels to the East, in Illinois
Heading West in Illinois, more accommodation
Hotels, Westwards in Missouri
Find your hotel in neighboring Springfield
>> See the RV campground in neighboring Springfield
The weather in Williamsville
The climate in Williamsville is humid continental one with humid hot summers and cold winters.
Average temperatures during summer (Jul) are: High: 85°F (29.7°C) and Low 65°F (18.1°C); the winter (Jan) averages are: High: 34°F (1 °C) and Low: 18°F (-7.8 deg;C).
Annual rainfall is 36.7 inch ( 1008 mm) with a peak of 5.08 inch in July (129 mm) and a minimum of 1.93 in. (49 mm) in January.
Expect snow from Nov. thru Mar. The average snowfall is 22 inch (55 cm).
About 7 tornados hit Sangamon County (where Williamsville is located) each year.
Tornado Risk: learn more about Tornado Risk on US 66.
Map of Route 66 through Williamsville, Illinois
See the alignment of US 66 in Williamsville, on our Illinois Route 66 Map, it has the complete alignment across the state with all the towns along it.
This is the color key for Williamsville:
Pale Blue:it is the Historic Route 66 alignment (1940-77) or Bypass alignment.
Green is the 1926-1940 Route 66, and after 1940, the "Spur" through Williamsville
Gaps in alignment, is I-55, where it overlaps the old alignment.
Brown: Bypass or Beltway 66 in Springfield
Orange: the 1926-32 aligment into Springfield and the 1926-30 alignment from Springfield through Staunton.
Black: missing segments.
Route 66 in Illinois: Historic U.S. 66 in Williamsville
Route 66 across Illinois
Historic Route 66 has been designated as an All-American Road and a National Scenic Byway in the state of Illinois.
Read this detailed description of Route 66 in Illinois.
Below we provide More information on US 66 in the neighborhood of Williamsville.
Williamsville its Route 66 Attractions
Things to see in town
You can get to Williamsville using Historic U.S. 66 (here under the freeway I-55), take Exit 109
Williamsville US 66 in 1946
In 1946, researching for his classic Guidebook of U.S. 66, Jack Rittenhouse drove the Mother Road from Chicago to L.A., he mentions Williamsville:
"Pop. 649... The town is a quarter of a mile off US 66 (L). There is a garage in the town, but no gas station or other facilities on the highway"
It is evident that he drove along the "Bypass" 66 as the town was off to the left.
City Sights and Landmarks
Drive through town from north to south:
distances road sign by Library, Williamsville, Il. williamsville.illinois.gov
There is also a webcam here 24 ⁄ 7.
Williamsville Public Library and Museum
217 North Elm St. Williamsville
To your right is the library with its great "distance-to" sign. It is brand new and has an interesting collection covering local history.
Elm Street was the original 1926 alignment through Williamsville until the 1940 "bypass" was built further west.
Ahead, to your right is the now closed "Hilarious Route 66 Gas Station":
Hilarious Route 66 Gas Station
117 North Elm St. Williamsville
Also known as "Old Station", it is a 1930's gas station with vintage gas pumps and classic signs from the "old days". A great place for a photograph. It is now closed (since 2016) and up for sale.
Hilarious Route 66 Gas Station in Williamsville, Illinois
Ahead, to your right, on the corner of Elm and Main, are two brown Historic route 66 road signs, one points right to the "main" (Bypass) alignment the other points ahead to the "spur". Across the street is the old Railway depot:
Williamsville Railroad Depot and Box Cars
102 South Elm St.
The original depot was built in 1854. There is a wayside exhibit with two Union Pacific box cars and some US 66 mementos. This is its Street View.
To your left, along Main Street, crossing the tracks is the Downtown:
Main St. Williamsville
On Main and Pine (NE corner) is an interpretative sign on the SW corner is another one. See its Street View.
Drive south either along South Elm or along the "Bypass" 66 (Old Route 66) to see the old Fawn’s Service Station:
Fawn’s Service Station
500 S. Old Rte. 66, Williams
This was the location of Fawn’s Service Station and the now gone Route 66 Café it was at the southern tip of Williamsville bypass.
In 1945 Wilbur Fawn bought the Standard Oil service station that had been owned by Fran Finch since 1941 he added a tow truck. The building is still standing, with a two-door garage. It had three pumps. See Another Vintage photo of the gas station.
In 1976 I-55 was finally completed and the old US 66 was cut off. The station closed in 1984. The defunct Route 66 Café was just east of the service station.
Below is a "Then and Now" sequence of the building, which is quite unchanged:
Fawn’s Service Station (when it belonged to Finch) in Williamsville, Illinois
Fawn’s Service Station nowadays in Williamsville, Illinois
Historic Route 66 in Williamsville
1926-1940 US 66
The first alignment of Route 66 entered the town along Elm St. and then ran parallel to the railway south into Sherman. It is shown in Green in the Google map.
1940 USGS map of Williamsville
A safer alignment was needed (acccidents in the towns were increasing), so a bypass was built around the town.
As you can see in the 1940 USGS map of Williamsville, Route 66 opened into two alignments at Williamsville, one went through the town (the original 1926 alignment), the other newer one, around it. Each was a 2-lane highway both met to the south of town, where Finch would build his gas station the following year (later Fawn's Standard Oil gas station).
During WWII the whole of US 66 began improving and a four-lane freeway began being built. It was finished in the early 1950s, before the Internet system was implemented.
The 1958 USGS map of Williamsville shows all the traffic heading down the main "Bypass" alignment. I-55 would later be built to the west of this four-lane divided highway.
It was then that the road through the downtown area became the "Spur" alignment, shown in Green in the map.
When I-55 was finished in 1976 the freeway cut off the old "Bypass" so it now is a dead end south of town (Pale Blue).
From Northern side of Sherman (where Sherman Blvd. meets the northbound lanes of I-55) to Williamsville the alignment of Route 66 is now beneath the freeway so we have marked it in Red in the Google map.
From Williamsville to Sherman
A 6.7 mile drive using the W. Frontage Road to maximize your drive on US 66 in Sherman. This is a Map with directions.
> > See the previous segment Elkhart to Williamsville (east)
> > See the next segment Through Sherman (west)
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Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.