Tourists strolling the magnolia-shaded historic district of Fort Smith, Ark., spend a lot of time looking up at the neighborhood’s stunning Victorian mansions. Built around the turn of the previous century, the grand old houses reflect the city’s golden age of trade and industrialization as the 1800s became the 1900s.

Few visitors probably ever look down. But if they do, they’ll note a name stamped in the district’s worn but very serviceable concrete sidewalks at street corners: “Williams.”