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County Information



Before The White Man
The Pioneers
Early Settlements
The Forming of Johnson County
Johnson County and the Civil War
The Twentieth Century
The Story Behind the Name
The Town of Butler
Nick the Hermit
Tom Dula
Why you should Visit

Johnson County Trails Association
MainStreet Tenneessee
NorthEast Tennessee Tourism Association
Sunny Side Trail
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TN 3 Star Community
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Natural Attractions

Physical Features
The Appalachian Trail
Backbone Rock

The Town of Butler

Butler was located on the Watauga River at the forks of Roan Creek in the western edge of Johnson County. After America’s Civil War the town began to grow. In 1900 the railroad came bringing additional people to the area. By 1939 Butler had 600 residents. The townspeople had experience floods in 1867, 1886, 1901, 1902, 1916, and 1924. In 1940 a tropical hurricane caused 15 inches of rain to fall. Elizabethton counted losses at $308,500. Then homes were carried away and 147 others were flooded.

In 1941 President Roosevelt signed a bill to initiate the Tennessee Valley Authority. Part of this bill was construction of dams along the major rivers in Tennessee to help control flooding which had caused major damage to the area in the part. The Watauga Dam was a part of this Tennessee Valley Authority project. In order to construct this dam one hundred families had to be removed from their homes in and around the Butler area. On April 3, 1947 Rev. M. H. Carder, pastor of the Cobbs Creek Baptist Church, called a meeting at the Butler schoolhouse. At the meeting he announced that they had acquired option to buy the I. W. McQueen farm at the edge of the site of the new reservoir. Carder proposed this farm to be the site for a new town and everyone was excited at this prospect. Planning for the town soon began. The new Butler-Cobbs Creek Land Corporation with Preacher Carder as president bought 208 acres of the McQueen farm. The new town was called “Carderview” in honor of Rev. M. H. Carder. Twenty percent of the residents displaced from Butler moved to this area. A 200 acre tract of land adjoining Carderview had been developed by the Bowers Brother Land Company of Elizabethton. This area became known as “New Butler” and is today the town of Butler. Many others moved to this area. When the project was completed a total of 761 families were removed. Timber was cleared from 1663 acres, 54.9 miles of roads and highways were built, three bridges were built, 66 miles of utility lines were constructed, and 1281 graves were removed. In the town of Butler approximately 500 to 600 residents had to move. Also lost were a post office, the Masonic lodge, elementary and high schools, three grocery stores, two furniture stores, two hardware stores, one drug store, two restaurants, three gas stations, two barber shops, one shoe shop, and two physicians and one dentist offices. A celebration is held the second Sunday weekend in August to remember the old town of Butler. This celebration is called Old Butler Days. At the festival you may find music, games, exhibits, and food.