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Butler, Pennsylvania
View of Butler from the Southside neighborhood
View of Butler from the Southside neighborhood
Location in Butler County
Location in Butler County
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Butler
Settled 1802
Incorporated (borough) 1816
Incorporated (city); 1918
 • Total 2.7 sq mi (7.0 km2)
 • Land 2.7 sq mi (7.0 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 13,757
 • Density 5,060/sq mi (1,953.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Zip code 16001, 16002, 16003
Area code(s) 724

Butler is a city and the county seat of Butler County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is located 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.


Pennsylvania Route 8 in Butler
Downtown Butler

Butler 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.

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.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2), all land.

The Connoquenessing Creek, which was ranked the second most polluted waterway in the U.S. in 2000, flows through the city.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 225
1830 580 157.8%
1840 861 48.4%
1850 1,148 33.3%
1860 1,399 21.9%
1870 1,935 38.3%
1880 3,163 63.5%
1890 8,734 176.1%
1900 10,853 24.3%
1910 20,728 91.0%
1920 23,778 14.7%
1930 23,568 −0.9%
1940 24,477 3.9%
1950 23,482 −4.1%
1960 20,975 −10.7%
1970 18,691 −10.9%
1980 17,026 −8.9%
1990 15,714 −7.7%
2000 15,121 −3.8%
2010 13,757 −9.0%
Est. 2015 13,289 −3.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

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 4.88% 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.

Sites of interest

Butler County Courthouse, Butler
Butler County Courthouse
Walter Lowrie House
Senator Walter Lowrie House
  • 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 plaza across the street from the courthouse displays many interesting war and other memorials.
  • 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.
  • Kelly Automotive Park (formerly known as Pullman Park until 2014), 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
  • The Island
  • South Side
  • North Butler
  • The Boulevard
  • West End
  • South Hills


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. In 2012, Hobnob Theatre Company began producing several plays, including an annual production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

A handful of local authors have written various novels and books on the surrounding area. Stewart O'Nan's prizewinning novel Snow Angels is set in Butler. The city was the setting for several scenes in Benjamin's Field, a fictional trilogy by local author J. J. Knights that was published in 2015.

Butler is home to the Butler County Symphony Association, which performs at the Butler Intermediate High School auditorium. There are also many art groups located in the city. They include the Associated Artists of Butler County and the Butler Arts Council. Several murals have been painted on exposed walls by local artists.

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.



BCA terminal building
The Butler County Airport terminal building

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.

Mass transit

Butler is served by The Bus, 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 Pennsylvania Route 38 is just north of the city at U.S. Route 422. 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, Butler's Main Street when passing through the city.

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