Filed Under Helena

May Butler House

Helena Historic District

Irish-born William Butler came to Montana in 1866, worked in Helena as a lather and carpenter, and mined at nearby Butler (now Austin). He paid the county $50 in 1875 for this land, formerly a mining claim. In 1879 Butler brought his bride, Catherine, to the Carpenter Gothic style cottage which he built of fieldstone and cut granite snug against the hillside. The steeply pitched center gable with its scrollwork and balcony—characteristic of the Gothic style—was for decades highly visible perched upon the barren slope. As the Butlers raised four children, the lofty vantage point afforded a bird’s eye view of Helena’s growth. The Butlers’ eldest daughter May, longtime teacher at Emerson School (now the May Butler Center), remained at home in the family residence. Her kind, generous nature and infectious laughter made it a haven to many. May was born in the home in 1880 and died here in 1954. The early dwelling, now hidden by mature foliage, is a tribute to a pioneer family and an exceptional retreat.


128 South Benton Avenue, Helena, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “May Butler House,” Historic Montana, accessed April 15, 2024,