HOMETOWN BOY: Wall Lake Remembers Andy Williams
The birthplace of Wall Lake native singer Andy Williams has a pristine new white coat of paint. A single helium balloon was tied to stairs up the front yard. “You will be missed,” read the balloon.
Williams was born in Wall Lake but left when he was 8-years-old during the 1930′s. He and his musical family moved to Des Moines where they had early success performing on WHO Radio. People in Wall Lake are fond of statements made by Williams that he was proud to be from the small town of Wall Lake.
Esther Bielema is one of the directors of the Andy Williams Birthplace home and museum located right on the main road through town. She said the Wall Lake Historical Society bought the home in 1992 after if was slated to be torn down. She said they only had about $80 to start with, but got a loan and bought the home on contract. The birthplace draws an estimated 700 visitors per year.
“Many of the visitors are older people, or the children of those who were Andy Williams fans,” said Bielema. She added that he is remembered as “an all around good American hard-working person, he never went off the deep end with rock and roll.”
Andy Williams last visited Wall Lake in 2006 for a celebration for a new community center. Williams was a heavy contributor to the new center. He has no living relatives in Wall Lake, though his grandparents are buried here. Andy Williams’ grandkids visited the town in 1998.
Bielema said the community would most likely hold an event to mark Williams’ passing, but details were yet to be worked out.The Andy Williams Birthplace is open Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day, or by appointment.