The historic W. C. Williams Building, built in 1909, will officially be recognized as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) during a ceremony scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM on July 30, 2016 at the building location, 456 Commerce Street in Palacios, TX. The public is invited and a tour of the structure will follow the dedication. The building has been a cornerstone and anchor of the commercial and cultural life of Palacios and Matagorda County, Texas for 107 years.
The ceremony is sponsored by the Matagorda County Historical Commission (MCHC), and will be attended by members of the commission, including Ona Lea Pierce, Chairman, and David Holubec, County Marker Chairman. Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald, Palacios Mayor Glenn Smith, Pam Oliver, Executive Director of the Palacios Chamber of Commerce and Rev. Eric Young, Pastor of Agape Family Outreach Church, will also take part in the ceremony. As an additional bonus, representatives of the University of North Texas (UNT) Library System and the UNT Digital Projects Unit will also be present. The UNT Digital Projects Unit recently completed a scanning project of the Palacios Beacon newspaper back to 1911. The Beacon project and the UNT sponsored Portal to Texas History provided much of the historic research leading to the Williams Building RTHL designation.
The building was built by W. C. “Billy” Williams, a childhood friend of well-known western author, Charles Angelo Siringo (1855-1928). Siringo mentions several references to W. C. Williams, whose nickname was Billy, his wife, Martha Alice Franz Williams (1860 – 1952), and his father, John Aaron Williams (1816 – 1865), in his book, A Texas Cowboy or Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony (1886). Billy Williams and Charlie Siringo were born and grew up on Matagorda Island in a section called Dutch Settlement (German Settlement). As they grew older, both young men remained infatuated with their childhood friend, Martha (Martha Alice Franz Williams (1860 – 1952). As it turned out, Billy got the girl and Charlie got the cowboy and Pinkerton detective career.
Over the years the building has hosted various businesses including Palacios Hardware, Traylor Hardware, Golden Rule Grocery, Price Cash Hardware, Dr. Joseph Wagner, Lawson Hardware, a Vocational Training Program for the Palacios ISD, Palacios Area Fund, Lacey Lowry CPA, as well as a private residence.
It has been 12 years since the last Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL) Marker was dedicated in Palacios, TX. More information on the Williams Building history and the restoration is available at www.williamsbuildingpalacios.com.