Known world-wide as the
"town that wouldn't drown!"
On December 1, 1948, the gate of Watauga Dam closed, inundating 11,600 acres of land, the town of Butler and many communities.
This resulted in the relocation of 1,281 graves and displacement of 650 families, many of whose ancestors had helped settle this area of the state and called this area home for generations.
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Did You Know? There is a song about our history!
Experience the story of Old Butler
The Butler and Watauga Valley Heritage Museum opened in 2000 to honor the citizens of Butler as well as Watauga Valley, Roan Valley and Elk Valley. This first class Museum showcases the history of Butler and the relocation of the town to higher ground to make way for Watauga Lake to provide flood control and cheap electricity.
As you walk into the exhibit area, you will notice that this is not your typical small town Museum. The historical exhibits bring to life the early days of Old Butler and depict the extraordinary effort in relocating this small town, showing why it is known as “the town that would not drown”.
The Museum provides an incredible snapshot of a typical East Tennessee farming and lumber community and tells the story about life from a bygone era. It also reminds us of the price paid for the luxuries that we can experience today.
Relive the history of Old Butler, the only incorporated town to be intentionally flooded by the TVA.
Our carefully curated exhibits will give you a glimpse into our past, the families whose lives were forever changed and the beauty of the Watauga Lake that surrounds us.
Visit our History Museum
W.S. Stout General Store
American Veterans Memorial Walk
Museum Gift Shop
into our past.
A walk through our museum is an adventure into the past lives that made the Watauga Valley and the surrounding area their home. There is much history in this part of Tennessee dating back to the 1700's, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.