Williams House Museum
Admin for Musuem
424 East Sierra Street, Hwy 70
Portola, CA 96122
- Party and Meeting Rental
The little town of Portola, Ca. would love to share this historical monument with you!
Find us at 424 East Sierra Ave., Portola, Ca. 96122. During your next visit to our quaint town you must add to your schedule Portola Visitors Center/The Williams House Museum.
It is a historical point of reference, located at the east entrance to Portola on Highway 70.
Step into this old log house and learn about Portola`s early history including pictures and artifacts . Walk through the home that for many years belonged to The Williams Family. Donated to the City of Portola, the State of California has recognized it in the California Historical Landmark Registry.
Stop by this beautifully restored 1031 log home right on Highway 70 at the east end of Portola for a look at local family histories, photographs, handmade quilts, and a guided tour.
The Story of Sam & Ethel Williams and the Log House
Sam and Ethel Williams were married on August 20, 1922 in Sacramento, California. In 1923 they had their first daughter, Ethel Faye. Two years later they had their second daughter, Harriet May.
In 1931 Ed Lane built the Log House on the corner of Beckwith and Sierra Ave. (Highway 70) from logs off of Beckwourth Peak.
The Williams family moved to Portola in 1931 and opened the first Shell Service Station on old Highway 24 (now Highway 70) in 1932. This structure served as both their home and the station. Over the years, the Williams' business expanded with garages, a Dodge dealership and they owned the school buses that took children to school.
In 1946 the canopy was removed and the building was moved from the corner of Beckwith and Sierra to its present location, at which time the building was reversed. The rocks from the pillars in front the service station were taken down and were used in making the fireplace, which is where the front door used to be. There are beautiful crystals, rose quartz and many other lovely stones in this fireplace. The floors are beautiful black oak wood in a geometric design in what was the office and family room. This room is now used as a meeting room.
Jim Burton told me that when people would drive up to buy gas they would occasionally chip out one of the beautiful rocks as a souvenir. He also said that the side entrance halls were where the rest rooms were located when it was used as a service station.
Sam Williams was the mayor of Portola from 1949 - 1950. He was also a master mechanic and owned and operated the first Dodge automobile dealership in Portola. Ethel was an excellent bookkeeper, who also pumped gas, washed windshields and managed the business.
The Williams House was given to the City of Portola in 1999 by their descendent.. It was put on the California Register of Historical Resources on May 26, 2000. It is now used as a Museum and the Portola Visitor's Center.
The home is on the California Historical Register.