Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Butler Project


Under the direction of teacher, Bruce Coleman, students at Elizabethton (TN) High School as a class project undertook the task of documenting the town of Butler, Tennessee, and the drawdown of Watauga Lake that uncovered the old site of the town.

The original town of Butler, Tennessee, subject of this collection, was a farming community located at the confluence of Roan Creek and the Watauga River in Johnson County, Tenn. In 1942, the Tennessee Valley Authority began construction on Watauga Dam to control the frequent flooding of the river. Work on the dam was completed in 1948, and the gates were closed, forming Watauga Lake which soon inundated and covered the town. In the interval, a new Butler, Tenn., was established on higher ground nearby. The original town of Butler remained underwater until 1983, when a draw down of the TVA lake uncovered the remains of the town for a brief time, allowing former residents to visit the site.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Butler Project Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 500-AppMs 437
Scope and Contents The Butler Project Collection consists of a carousel of 101 35mm slides, a 60-minute audio cassette narration, and narration notes and slide cues. The program concerns the 1983 draw down of Watauga Lake and the reminiscences of individuals who remember Butler (Old Butler), Tenn., before the Tennessee Valley Authority lake covered the town in 1948.
Dates: 1983-1984; Other: Date acquired: 1994-01-24