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Historic Preservationist Richard Butler, Jr. Dies

By Dale Gathright, Jr., 06/5/20 5:04 PM
LITTLE ROCK – Friends of the Arkansas State Archives are mourning the loss of “our esteemed fellow board member and longtime Arkansas preservationist, Richard C. Butler, Jr.” Butler died Thursday in Little Rock. He was one of those instrumental in preservation efforts at what is now Historic Washington State Park.

In 2019, he received the DAR National Historic Preservation Medal.

Cindy Segraves Phillips, National Historic Preservation Chair states, “The Historic Preservation Medal is the most prestigious preservation award the National Society presents to individuals who have done extraordinary volunteer work in historic preservation over a long period of time.” Phillips continues: “The generous gifts of his time and expertise to his community are impressive. Because of Butler’s efforts, the history that has been preserved and documented will be shared with many future generations.”

Over the course of forty years, Mr. Butler served numerous organizations and boards devoted to the preservation of Arkansas history. From his first visit to Washington, Arkansas with his father at the age of 10, Mr. Butler long supported the efforts to preserve and restore the area’s historic structures. Recognizing his commitment to the community of Washington, Arkansas, former Governor Frank White appointed him to the State Historic Preservation Board.

In addition to his work to preserve Washington, Arkansas, Butler restored the first Hotze house on 17th and Main Streets in Little Rock where he resided for a number of years, and in approximately 2005, began work to restore the historic Palmer House in Blackton, Monroe County, Arkansas. The Palmer House was destroyed by fire before its restoration was completed.

Richard Butler was active in the Quapaw Quarter Association, the Mt. Holly Cemetery Association, the Pulaski County Historical Society, the Friends of the Arkansas State Archives, Arkansas Pioneers Association, Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery Association, and served numerous other organizations and boards. Funeral arrangements are pending.