Butler is a city in Butler
County, Pennsylvania, United
States located 35 miles north of Pittsburgh.
The population was 15,121 at the 2000
is the county seat of Butler
The city was named for Maj.
Gen. Richard Butler, who fell at the
Battle of the
Wabash, also known as St. Clair's Defeat, in western
Ohio in 1791. 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.
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 15 August
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 of it 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
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/sq mi
(1,062.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.52% White
, 2.22% African American
, 0.03% Pacific Islander
, 0.52% from
, and 1.14%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 1.42% of the
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.
Claims to fame
- The modern Jeep was invented in Butler, by
the American Bantam Car Company, an
early producer of small fuel-efficient vehicles. Big military
contracts eventually went to Willys and Ford, and the Bantam
factory failed during World War
- Butler is home to one of the few original Ford dealers left
that Henry Ford authorized when he created the first car
classic Night of the Living
Dead was filmed in Butler County, in Evans City. Butler is referenced in the movie when the
city's name appears on a television set.
- In the 1950s, Butler became one of the first cities to install
bells at crosswalks , a common practice today.
- The first all steel rail car was manufactured at the Pullman Standard plant in Butler.
- Stewart O'Nan's prizewinning novel
Snow Angels is set in
- The Connoquenessing Creek,
which was ranked the second most polluted waterway in the United
States in 2000, flows through the city.
Notable natives and residents
- 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
Neighborhood. Ms. Carey was born and raised in Butler.
- Former US Senator Rick Santorum
spent his formative years in Butler.
- World record setting swimmer and Armco CEO Harry Holiday was born and raised in
- Butler native John Minton (1948-1995) became a well-known
exhibition wrestler under the name Big
- Jazz trombonist and arranger Jim
Pugh was born and raised in Butler.
- Tony award winning actress Michele
Pawk was born and raised in Butler.
- William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense under
Bill Clinton (1994-97), born in Vandergrift, PA graduated from
Butler High School in 1945.
- 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 Richard and Ronald, a
trio of professional football players during the 60's and 70's,
were born and raised in Butler - Bill played linebacker for the
Colts, Steelers, Saints and Lions; Richard played for the Los
Angeles Rams; and Ronald played for the Washington Redskins.
- Hometown of major league All-Star pitcher member of the 2007
World Series Red Sox Matt Clement.
- Hometown of Eric Namesnik
(1970-2006), two time silver medalist Olympic swimmer.
Sites of interest
Butler County Courthouse
Walter Lowrie Shaw House
Live plays are performed by local actors at the historic Butler Little
which has been running productions continuously since
1941. The Musical Theater Guild
also produces an annual musical
production. Plus, the Penn Theater
along Main Street is currently undergoing a renovation in hopes of
attracting people to Butler.
Butler is also home to the Butler County Symphony Association
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.
Butler 5k held each summer in June, raises funds for local students
Butler Fall Festival
, held each September, features car shows,
ethnic foods, and many representative items from various
The Butler County Airport Terminal
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 The Bus
which is run by the
There are currently two railroads that have service in Butler. Both
railways are freight haulers. The Canadian National Railway
(formerly the Bessemer
and Lake Erie Railroad
) main line passes through the city,
while the Buffalo and
provides regional service in the area. The
B&P has a large locomotive shop located just outside the city
Five major highways run through or near the city, providing links
to other areas throughout Western
. The south terminus of PA 38
terminates just north of the
city at U.S. Route 422
skirts the city to the
north on the Butler Bypass.PA
, and PA 356
straight through downtown where they intersect with PA 8
. PA 8 is Butler's Main Street when
passing through the city.