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The Moab City Council on Tuesday approved a request for a July 8 public hearing for Ray Williams and Kara Dohrenwend for a review of their application for city historical designation of the John W. “Doc” Williams home at 40 West, 100 North.

It is the first application for historical designation under the new historic preservation ordinance adopted by the city council on March 25.

To qualify as a local historical structure a building must be at least 50 years old and meet established architectural, cultural or geographical/environmental criteria. The Williams home qualifies in all three areas, the applicants said.

Doc Williams arrived in Moab around early 1897 and immediately started his medical practice as the community physician for a guaranteed salary of $150 per year. He married in 1900 and had five children. His youngest son Mitch Williams still lives in Moab. His home was built in 1908 and was originally about 840 square feet. A kitchen was added around 1958 but restoration plans call for that addition to be removed and a small modern kitchen added if building permits are approved. The original home had no kitchen but sometime in the 1930’s Doc bought the adjoining 400 square foot building to be used as a bake house. This structure was built in 1892 and was Moab’s first jail. It is located behind the present Jailhouse Caf which was the courthouse and contained a jail cell.

Ray Williams is the great grandson of Doc and only established sole ownership of the property when he bought out a cousin about three years ago. The house is located in a C 3 zone, which does not allow residential living on the ground floor. The couple would like to someday live in the house if it becomes possible.

“We have to follow a process,” Williams said. “But there was no process. We have to follow the rules. But there were no rules.” Working with city council and staff has resulted in developing a process that Williams hopes will help other owners of historic homes to decide to save and live in them.

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the Doc Williams house and Kara Dohrenwend marvels at the quality of the old construction saying there is no dry rot and no termites.

“To me these homes are part of what’s great about downtown Moab,” she said.

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doctor martens work boots Doc William's house may get historic designation