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BUTLER ISLAND historic district


Located just south of downtown Darien, GA, the story of Butler Island spans multiple historical periods. Although little is known of the earliest human habitation, Native American activity in the area was frequent prior to the arrival of the Spanish and other Europeans. Best known for its use as a rice plantation by Major Pierce Butler,  the plantation's success was made possible by the work of numerous enslaved persons that inhabited four sites. Today, the only above ground resources that remain from this era are two brick rice mill chimneys.

In the early twentieth century, the island was acquired by Col. Tillinghast Houston, owner of the New York Yankees. Houston cultivated truck crops on Butler in addition to developing a dairy farm. Today, the Houston House, one Dairy Barn, and a Model Demonstration building remain from this era. 

In 2020, the City of Darien contracted with Ethos to compose a Coastal Incentives Grant application to the Georgia Coastal Resources Division to develop a civil engineering plan to curb drainage issues, perform conditions assessments of the island's above ground historic resources, establish a historic district on the island, and plan for the future. Ethos is now in the process of writing the National Register nomination to establish a Butler Island Historic District, after determining its eligibility in 2022.

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