Located in Walworth County, Williams Bay is a village of over 2,500 that lies along the shores of scenic Geneva Lake. One of three municipalities on the lake, it is a popular summer recreation destination for residents of Chicago and Milwaukee.
Williams Bay is named for Captain Israel Williams, a decorated infantry captain in the War of 1812. Captain Williams and his sons settled in the area in 1835, and were the first westerners to arrive in the area. As rail service expanded into southern Wisconsin, the area became increasingly popular as Chicagoans began frequenting the region during the summer.
With an area of over eight square miles, Geneva Lake is one of the largest lakes in the state, offering Williams Bay residents and visitors access to recreational opportunities including boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, canoeing and beach-going. Williams Bay also boasts local restaurants such as Daddy Maxwell’s, an award-winning diner and favorite breakfast spot, and Café Calamari, an Italian restaurant. Williams Bay is also known for being the home to the Yerkes Observatory, which houses the largest refracting telescope in the world.
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