In 1785, the Treaty of Fort Stanwyx paved the way for the Pennsylvania legislature to begin parceling off land in western Pennsylvania to pay off debts to Revolutionary War soldiers. The Depreciation Lands (parcels of land used to redeem depreciated certificates issued to soldiers) and the Donation Lands (parceled out to General Washingtons soldiers who were made promises of land) were made available, but were not readily taken by those deserving.
It was not until fifteen years later that the county was officially born, created with only the townships of Buffalo, Middlesex, Connoquenessing and Slippery Rock. Resident petitions forced the creation of nine additional townships in 1804 and finally in 1853, subdivisions for the final thirty-three townships were complete and remain intact today. County commissioners came into the picture in 1803 when the first lots in the City of Butler were surveyed and auctioned. The county seat was established on land donated by the Cunningham Brothers, and residents saw their first courthouse in 1809.
This courthouse would only be large enough to serve Butler Countians until 1853, when a new and larger home for county government was completed. This impressive building on the site of the current courthouse included a large statue of our namesake, General Richard Butler. Unfortunately, the statue-along with the entire courthouse-was destroyed in a monumental fire in 1883. Two years later, the courthouse as we see it today was built for $117,000. This building continues to remain one of the county's most beautiful historic structures, housing the majority of county government services. In 1990, the county commissioners built the County Government Center, an annex for county offices and agencies.
With 33 townships, 22 boroughs and one city, Butler County provides a variety of government services to its residents. In the year 2000, there are 35 volunteer fire departments handling fires and other emergencies throughout the county. These dedicated volunteers, along with the committed individuals who serve these municipalities as police officers and law enforcement officers do indeed keep Butler Countians safe.
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