View of Butler from the Southside neighborhood
Location in Butler County
|• Mayor||Thomas P. Donaldson (R)|
|• Total||2.7 sq mi (7.0 km2)|
|• Land||2.7 sq mi (7.0 km2)|
|• Density||5,095.1851/sq mi (1,965.2857/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Zip code||16001, 16002, 16003|
Butler is city and county seat of Butler County in the US state of Pennsylvania, situated 35 miles (56 km) north of Pittsburgh and part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,757. Butler was named the 7th best small town in America by Smithsonian Magazine in May 2012.
In 1803 John and Samuel Cunningham became the first settlers in the village of Butler. After settling in Butler, the two brothers laid out the community by drawing up plots of land for more incoming settlers. By 1817, the community was incorporated into a borough. The first settlers were of Irish or Scottish descent and were driving westward from Connecticut. In 1802 the German immigrants began arriving, with Detmar Basse settling in Jackson Township in 1802 and founding Zelienople the following year. After George Rapp arrived in 1805 and founded Harmony, larger numbers of settlers followed. John A. Roebling settled Saxonburg in 1832, by which time most of the county was filled with German settlers.
Throughout most of its history, the city of Butler has been a major manufacturing and industrial center. In 1902, the Standard Steel Car Company opened one of its largest railcar manufacturing facilities in Butler. It was here that some of the first all steel rail cars were built. Diamond Jim Brady, the legendary financier, gourmand and gemophile, got his start here in 1902 when he established the Standard Steel Car Company, which merged with the Pullman Palace Car Company in 1934 to create Pullman-Standard, a monopoly that was eventually broken by the government. The Pullman-Standard plant closed in 1982, and was demolished in 2005. The site is now occupied by a strip mall, as well as the new Butler Transit Authority intermodal facility. In 2011 the BTA moved a covered hopper railcar to the bus terminal in recognition of the former Pullman-Standard plant. The car was built at the facility in 1974.
Another notable business headquartered in the city was the American Austin Car Company (1929–41). The modern Jeep was created by the company when it was later called American Bantam Car Company. The first prototypes of the vehicle were manufactured at the Butler facility. Big military contracts eventually went to Willys and Ford, and the Bantam factory failed during World War II. Bantam was also an early producer of small fuel-efficient vehicles.
Butler is home to one of the few original Ford dealers left that Henry Ford authorized when he created the first car dealers.
In the 1950s, Butler became one of the first cities to install bells at cross walks, a common practice today.
The city was linked to Pittsburgh via Mars in 1907 by the Pittsburgh and Butler Street Railway and to Evans City in 1908 by the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway, both interurban trolley lines. The Mars route closed in April 1931, followed by the Evans City line on August 15, 1931 with the trolleys replaced by buses.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,121 people, 6,740 households, and 3,626 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,611.3 people per square mile (2,170.4/km²). There were 7,402 housing units at an average density of 2,746.8 per square mile (1,062.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.6% White, 2.7% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.52% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.42% of the population.
There were 6,740 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.2% were non-families. 40.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,154, and the median income for a family was $35,893. Males had a median income of $30,607 versus $20,950 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,457. About 14.7% of families and 19.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.8% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.
- AK Steel
- Armstrong Group of Companies
- Penn United Technologies
- VA Butler Healthcare
- Butler Area School District
- Butler Health System
Sites of interest
- The Butler County Courthouse is a government and judicial building located in the heart of the city. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Sen. Walter Lowrie House was the home of United States Senator Walter Lowrie, built in 1828. It is currently maintained as a museum, and is the headquarters of the Butler County Historical Society. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Maridon Museum, located in downtown Butler, is the only museum in the Western Pennsylvania region with a specific focus on Chinese and Japanese art and culture.
- Kelly Automotive Park, built in 1934, was used for minor league baseball for twenty years until the Pittsburgh Pirates farm team left in 1951. The ballpark saw many famous faces during its professional baseball days, including Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford, and Joe DiMaggio who played for a farm team of the New York Yankees. Rebuilt in 2008, the stadium is currently the home of the Butler BlueSox.
- Institute Hill
- West End
- North Side
- East Side
- The Island
- Butler Area School District
- Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School
- Butler County Community College
- Butler Catholic School
- Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Live plays are performed by local actors at the historic Butler Little Theatre which has been running productions continuously since 1941. The Musical Theater Guild also produces an annual musical production.
Butler is home to the Butler County Symphony Association which performs at Butler High School's auditorium. There are also many art groups located in the city. They include the Associated Artists of Butler County and the Butler Arts Council.
- Leisure activities
Butler Road Race a 5-mile and 2-mile race held each summer in June, raises funds for local students in scholarships.
The Butler Fall Festival, held each September, features car shows, ethnic foods, and many representative items from various cultures.
There are two airports located outside the city. Butler County Airport is used for general aviation, and can accommodate large aircraft such as corporate jets. Butler Farm Show Airport is used by pilots with smaller, private aircraft in the Butler area.
Butler is serviced by The Bus which is run by the Butler Transit Authority.
Two railroads currently offer freight service in Butler. The Canadian National Railway owned Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad main line passes through the city, while the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad provides regional service in the area. The B&P has a large locomotive shop located just outside the city limits.
Five major highways run through or near the city, providing links to other areas throughout Western Pennsylvania. The south terminus of PA 38 terminates just north of the city at U.S. Route 422. U.S. Route 422 skirts the city to the north on the Butler Bypass. PA 68, and PA 356 go straight through downtown where they intersect with PA 8. PA 8 is Butler's Main Street when passing through the city.
- Harold Dodds, President of Princeton University
- Josie Carey, the host of "The Children's Corner" on WQED in Pittsburgh, was one of the first employees of the station, which was the first community-sponsored public TV station. Fred Rogers was a puppeteer and musician on her show for seven years before creating Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Carey was born and raised in Butler.
- Former US Senator Rick Santorum spent his formative years in Butler.
- Prominent Alaska Presbyterian missionary, Samuel Hall Young,was born and raised in Butler.
- World record setting swimmer and Armco CEO Harry Holiday was born and raised in Butler.
- Scot Thompson, born and raised in Butler, played Major League Baseball with the Cubs, Giants and Expos.
- Butler native John Minton (1948–1995) became a well-known exhibition wrestler under the name Big John Studd.
- Jazz trombonist and arranger Jim Pugh was born and raised in Butler.
- French horn player William Purvis was born and raised in Butler.
- Former American professional football player who was a tight end in the National Football League (NFL) and the World League of American Football (WLAF) Rich Bartlewski was born in Butler.
- Tony award winning actress Michele Pawk was born and raised in Butler.
- Bret Michaels, the lead singer of Poison, was born in Butler but raised in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
- William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton (1994–97), born in Vandergrift, PA graduated from Butler High School in 1945.
- Major league baseball umpire Jerry Meals.
- Terry Hanratty, an All-American quarterback from Notre Dame who won the National Championship in 1966 and went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 1970s as a back-up, was born in Butler, PA in 1948.
- Bill Saul and his twin brothers Rich Saul and Ron Saul, professional football players during the 1960s and 1970s, were born and raised in Butler – Bill played 9 years (1962–1970) as a linebacker for the Colts, Steelers, Saints and Lions, Rich played 12 years (1970–1982) at center for the Los Angeles Rams and Ron played 13 years(1970–1983)for the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins.
- Paul Posluzny, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker and All American Penn State University linebacker was born in Butler.
- Home and birthplace of heavyweight boxer Brian Minto.
- Birthplace of St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Khalil Greene.
- Scott Milanovich (Maryland, '96), former NFL quarterback and current head coach of the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts hails from Butler.
- Hometown of major league All-Star pitcher member of the 2007 World Series champion Red Sox Matt Clement.
- Hometown of Judge William G. Bassler, formerly of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
- Hometown of Eric Namesnik (1970–2006), two time silver medalist Olympic swimmer.
- Michele McDonald, Miss Pennsylvania USA 1971 and Miss USA 1971 from Butler.
- Hometown of Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy.
- Hometown of Don Kelly, utility player for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball.
- Barbara Feldon, Agent 99 of the TV show Get Smart, was born in Butler.
- "Butler County, 5th class" (pdf). Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- 20 Best Small Towns in America; Smithsonian Magazine; May 2012
- An Historical Gazetteer of Butler County, Pennsylvania, p. 118
- Garrett, Kelly B. (February 4, 2011). "Pullman railcar honors past". Butler Eagle.
- "Pa. ranks 2nd worst in toxic dumping". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 18, 2000. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Brown, Robert C. History of Butler County, Pennsylvania:...Pioneers and Representative Citizens, Etc., Etc.[Chicago]: R.C. Brown & Co., 1895. Chapter VI.Print.''
- An Historical Gazetteer of Butler County, Pennsylvania, Chicora: Mechling Bookbindery, 2006, ISBN 978-0-9760563-9-3.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Butler, Pennsylvania.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Butler (Pennsylvania).|
- City of Butler
- Butler County Historical Society
- Butler Area Public Library
- Butler Area School District
- 1883 History of Butler County