Williams Bay is one of three incorporated villages on Geneva Lake. Much of the area was settled in the early 19th century by surveyors plotting roadways from the East and used as a vacation spot by wealthy Chicagoans displaced by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. During the latter part of the 20th century, Williams Bay (and the surrounding lakes area) saw an explosive housing boom. The population has nearly doubled within the past 30 years as more people are finding its slow-paced, relaxed style attractive.
Williams Bay is home to a beautiful lake-side park including a beach. The park also has a public boat launching facility. Williams Bay is named for Captain Isreal Williams of Connecticut, a War of 1812 sea captain, who with several of his sons, settled in the area in 1835. Another famous Williams (not related) is George Williams, the founder of the YMCA, whose officials and students of Chicago-based George Williams College frequently met just west of the town of Williams Bay. He later established a camp in the village on the shores of Lake Geneva. George Williams College changed hands in the 1970’s and is today part of the Aurora University, which today maintains the campus.
The Williams Bay Business Association is organized as an Association of Businesses with shared interests that exists to attract the maximum number of visitor dollars into the Williams Bay area economy. The WBBA establishes new initiatives through Promotions and Events to increase tourism, visitors, and overnight stays. While further enhancing the awareness of our Members and their Businesses.