Butler is an unincorporated community in Johnson County located on the northern shore of Watauga Lake. Butler is served by a Post Office assigned zip code 37640. It is home to a number of businesses including a nice Bed and Breakfast Inn, campgrounds, marinas, stores, restaurants and real estate companies.
The settlement of what is now known as Butler began in 1768. It was originally located on Roan Creek at its confluence with the Watauga River and was known as Smith’s Mill for the gristmill built on the bank of the Roan Creek in 1820. After the Civil War, it was renamed in honor of Colonel Roderick R. Butler. In 1948 the town was relocated to its current location to make way for the creation of Watauga Lake.
The original town is now known as “Old Butler” and is called “The Town That Wouldn’t Drown”. The history and relocation of Butler is showcased at the Butler Museum, which is a great family attraction. Here you will find excellent exhibits and pictures on display presenting the history, the Appalachian culture and the relocation of the original town. The Butler Museum is open on weekends from Memorial Day weekend through the last weekend of October. It is open on Saturdays from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm and Sundays from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm.