Cement Bill Williams Collection

Overview of the Collection

Williams, Cement Bill, 1868-1945.
Collection, fl. 1890-1945.
3 linear feet.

The Cement Bill Williams Collection documents the life of a self-made man who, without formal training, became an accomplished civil engineer in Golden, Colorado. These papers record his road-building career and business activities as a cement contractor in Golden, as well as some of his mining interests in Colorado and South Dakota.

William Williams was born in East Orange, New Jersey on October 31, 1868. He arrived in Golden in 1901, where he obtained work at a local smelter. As Golden grew, Williams set up as a cement contractor and became known as "Cement Bill"  for his extensive use of the material. Williams adopted Cement as his first name (no quotation marks) to distinguish himself from another resident of Golden with the same given name.

Cement Bill poured the concrete for many of Golden's first sidewalks and built bridges, dams, and irrigation headgates all over the Front Range. He helped the City of Golden secure water rights to the Beaver Brook watershed in the mountains above Golden and constructed reservoir dams there. Cement BIll was an early supporter of the Good Roads Movement that lobbied to fund improved roads suitable for automobiles. As a road builder, he is best known for the construction of the Lookout Mountain Road (Lariat Trail Road), completed in August, 1913. Later, Cement Bill founded the Williams Steamer Company, which operated a fleet of Stanley Steamers that took passengers from Golden to Idaho Springs, all on roads Cement Bill largely constructed.

Of Note

  • Photographs in the collection illustrate the building of the Lariat Trail Road up Lookout Mountain above Golden in 1911-1913.
  • Documents refer (briefly) to Williams' work at the Colorado School of Mines Research Institute, and to his mining interests in Colorado and South Dakota.




The collection is arranged in 4 series by type of materials and subject.

Series A. Biographical files, 1 box of .25 linear feet. Contents include: 10 file folders (1915-1945) and a scrapbook (1914-1924) of biographical information in the form of newspaper clippings of Williams' activities and obituaries after his death. The scrapbook was likely assembled by Williams during his lifetime, and contains articles on the construction of Lariat Trail Road and subsequent efforts by Williams to be reimbursed for construction expenses.

Series B. Subject files, 1 box of 1 linear foot. Contents include: 74 files arranged chronologically, consisting of correspondence, business records, invoices, contracts and other materials.

Series C. Photographs, 2 boxes of 1 linear foot. Contents include: 110 b&w photographs that document the construction of Lariat Trail Road and Cement Bill's other projects in and around Golden. Subjects include the South Table Mountain and Lookout Mountain funiculars.

Series D. Documents, 1 box of 1 linear foot. Contents include: Assay books (1925-1936), journals/ledgers (1909-1933), day books (1931, 1939-45) and a Civil Engineer & Land Surveyor license (1928). The ledgers and day books give a record of daily activities and financial transactions

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Last Updated: 07/28/2017 16:11:07