Williams was named in honor of one of the old mountain man/trappers, William Sherley Williams. Bill Williams also left his name on the nearby Bill Williams Mountain. Since the Europeans first discovered the Grand Canyon, Williams has been its primary gateway. When the railroad arrived in 1882, local folks were offering trips to the South Rim via buckboard and stagecoach. While the railroad and other local businesses profited early on from the tourist trade, the big business around Williams for many years was centered around sheep and cattle ranching and lumber operations. Back in those early days, Williams had a reputation as a rough and rowdy frontier town. A city ordinance restricted most of the vice and pleasure business to Saloon Row on Railroad Avenue. In 1901, a fire swept through the downtown section of Williams, burning 10 homes, 2 hotels and 36 business buildings in less than an hour. Later that year, the Santa Fe Line completed a 60-mile spur line to the South Rim and established Williams firmly as the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon." That track has now been used by the Grand Canyon Railway since 1989 and carries about 200,000 visitors a year to the South Rim. When US Highway 66 was designated in 1926, it ran right through Williams and brought more tourists in each year up until the I-40 bypass around Williams was finally completed in 1984 (the last town to be by-passed by that route).