If you had no clue whatsoever about this former town, you would drive thru without blinking an eye. But this little patch of countryside was once a pretty decent, bustling town. The town in question is the former community of Williams in Alamo Township, Kalamazoo County.

Williams got it's beginnings when the Kalamazoo & South Haven Railroad was laid through the countryside, crossing over what would become N. 2nd Street. The community became a lumber town, and a very successful one. Williams was named after Chester Williams, a New Yorker who settled in Michigan in 1854. Once he sold a hunk of his farmland to the railroad, the community adopted the name 'Williams' or 'Williams Crossing' in his honor.

From the 1870's on, Williams grew until it reached its peak in 1901. By this time, the town had 125 residents. As for businesses, it had:
BARREL PARTS FACTORY
BASEBALL TEAM
BOARDING HOUSE
BRICKMAKING FACTORY
GENERAL STORE
RAILROAD DEPOT
SAWMILLS
SCHOOLHOUSE

Most of these businesses were built right there at the crossing of 2nd Street and the railroad tracks...unfortunately, NONE survive. Once the timber became depleted, that was it for Williams. All that's left at that crossing are woods and bushes. On top of that, the old railroad has been ripped up and is now known as the Kal-Haven Trail.

What is even sadder, is that some people who live in Kalamazoo County or the township have no idea that there was a prosperous little town at this old crossing out in the isolated countryside. But now YOU know, so take a drive-thru and see for yourself.

The things to look for if you visit are the old schoolhouse (which is now a residence), the old railroad intersection, the old brick house and a few other old, original houses that dot the landscape (SEE PHOTOS BELOW).

If you want to see some great old pictures of Williams, CLICK HERE. You'll be able to read a little more as well.