May 13th , 2013 10:00 am Leave a comment

Butler Museum brings sunken town to life

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Old Butler, the town that wouldn’t drown, remains a mystery for most who did not get a chance to live in the town that was flooded by Watauga Lake.

Photo by Brandon HicksDan Stansberry smiles as he handles an artifact inside the Butler Museum. The museum focuses on Old Butler, which stood until the flood of 1940 forced its residents to relocate the town.

Photo by Brandon Hicks
Dan Stansberry smiles as he handles an artifact inside the Butler Museum. The museum focuses on Old Butler, which stood until the flood of 1940 forced its residents to relocate the town.

The Butler Museum offers visitors a chance to solve that mystery with a glimpse of life in the old town through the exhibits and pictures on display.

The Butler museum will open for the 2013 summer season on Friday, May 24, showcasing exhibits displaying rooms from
Old Butler landmarks, pictures from the lost town and the Watauga Dam building process and a range of artifacts taken from the town before it was inundated.

“The purpose of the museum is to preserve the history of the Watauga Valley,” said Dan Stansberry, member of the museum’s Board of Directors and the Watauga Academy Alumni Association board of directors.

“It was a bustling town.”

Located where Elk Creek, Roan Creek and Watauga River met, Old Butler was flooded in 1948 when the gates on the newly constructed Watauga Dam were closed. TVA made the decision to build the dam to control flooding and to generate electricity. That decision forced the town of Butler to higher ground.

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