Dr. William H. Butler, Sr., was the first African American physician to practice medicine in Abilene. He was born in Dec. 1875 in Palestine (Anderson Co.), where he attended grade and high school. He continued his education at Wiley College in Marshall (Harrison Co.). In 1910, Dr. Butler received his degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the few institutions in the U.S. that issued medical degrees to African Americans at the time.Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2008
After moving to Abilene, Dr. Butler started his medical practice in his home at 701 Mesquite Street. In June 1914, Dr. Butler married Beatrice Studervant. The couple had one child, William H. Butler, Jr., who also became a physician. The elder Dr. Butler's practice kept him busy in the community. As he was not only a practicing physician but also provided pharmaceutical and dental services. After retiring in 1945, Dr. Butler and his wife lived in Fort Worth until his death in Sept. 1947. Beatrice moved back to Abilene and lived in the family home until her death in Jan. 1968. The couple are buried in the Abilene city cemetery.
Following Beatrice Butler's death, the home was deeded to Christ House day care center and used as a day care for the surrounding neighborhood, which at the time was primarily African American. Eight local churches provided support for the day care to meet the needs of area children.
The Butler's house is a good local example of Craftsman style architecture. The historic bungalow features wood and stone cladding, a wide front gable and wraparound porch, back porch columns, exposed rafter trails and a projecting front bay window.