Butler is a town in the United States of America.
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.
Throughout most of its history, the city of Butler has been a major manufacturing and industrial center. In 1902, the Standard Steel Car Company opened one of its largest railcar manufacturing facilities in Butler. It was here that some of the first all-steel rail cars were built. Diamond Jim Brady, the legendary financier, gourmand and gemophile, got his start here in 1902 when he established the Standard Steel Car Company, which merged with the Pullman Palace Car Company in 1934 to create Pullman-Standard, a monopoly that was eventually broken by the government.
About 2,500 workers produced 60 steel-bed railroad cars per day in 1902. Eastern European immigrants were attracted to the area in the early 20th century by the reliable jobs which sometimes included rent-free company housing. The company constructed a baseball park which was the home of a New York Yankees farm team. It made artillery and naval shells during World War II.
The Pullman-Standard plant closed in 1982, and was demolished in 2005. The site is now occupied by a strip mall, as well as the new Butler Transit Authority intermodal facility. In 2011 the BTA moved a covered hopper railcar to the bus terminal in recognition of the former Pullman-Standard plant. The car was built at the facility in 1974.
The American Austin Car Company (1929–41) was also headquartered in the borough. Later the firm changed its name to American Bantam Car Company. Bantam was an early producer of small fuel-efficient vehicles through the 1930s. The modern Jeep was created by American Bantam and the first prototypes were manufactured at the Butler facility. Big military contracts eventually went to Willys and Ford, while the Bantam factory had failed by World War II. Today, a monument in the plaza across from the courthouse commemorates Bantam's creation of the Jeep.
Butler is home to one of the early Ford dealerships, established in 1918 and still extant.
The Rainbow Rubber Company, which in the late 1930s made precise "Rubrtoy" replicas of Oldsmobiles along with many other rubber toys was also located in Butler.
In the 1950s, Butler became one of the first cities to install bells at crosswalks, a common practice today. Pedestrians could cross in either direction.
The city was linked to Pittsburgh via Mars, Pennsylvania, in 1907 by the Pittsburgh and Butler Street Railway, and to Evans City in 1908 by the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway, both interurban trolley lines. The Mars route closed in April 1931, followed by the Evans City line on August 15, 1931, with the trolleys replaced by buses.
Since the 1970s the borough's economy has changed drastically. Manufacturing has declined and good paying jobs are much rarer.