Butler's Courtyard in League City, Texas

The property now known as Butler's Courtyard has a rich history here in League City, Texas. During the last 100 or so years, this building has seen many businesses come and go.
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Built in 1909, the Butler Building was the location of the first bank in League City. It also housed a post office, cafe, hardware store, drug store, and had apartments upstairs.

Over time the building had fallen into a state of disrepair. Through the passion and determination of Nancy Richards and Janice Gunnin-Wilson, it has found new life as Butler's Courtyard, a premiere event venue for the Houston area.

The Following is an excerpt from a book recalling the history of League City:

Andrew Dow was a tall, lanky cowboy and a good one too. There was nothing he didn't know about ranching. He was so good that in a few short years, he was made foreman of the George Washington Butler Ranch. But his first love was to become an artist.

Why, it was nothing to see Andy sitting high  in his saddle with his long leg hooked over the horn and he just scribbling in a tablet. He drew landscapes and buildings. He was so enthused about some of the buildings he had seen while at market up at Houston that he enrolled in a correspondence course from an eastern school to learn more about architecture.

“You want me to do what,” he was remembered as saying that afternoon in the Butler Ranch headquarters during the spring of 1906. “That's right, Andy,” Mister Butler smiled. “1 want you to draw me a building. Something we can build and be proud of.” “Well, I'll be dagnabbed. A building. You want me to design you a building?”

You should have seen ole Andy burn the midnight oil reading those mail order books. He'd be up most of the night flipping those pages and drawing on big sheets of paper. It would have to be a nice building. And, all brick. And two floors high. Yea, at least two floors. It would be an L-shaped building and it would go right on the corner of Main Street, which is Second Street today. Of course Main was nothing more than a wagon trail in those days. The wagons and a few horses would come up the trail from Webster and turn south just up at the train depot. Michigan Avenue was a small trail that crossed Main and really didn't go much of anywhere. There was a place or two to the north on Michigan but the trail south led to the Butler Ranch-house. But the comer of Main and Michigan would be okay. It was a good spot.

Yea, right nice.

In the corner L would be the bank, the focal point of the whole place. The inside walls would be brick also with mahogany panels reaching aU the way to the ten-foot-high ceilings. Those teller's cages would stretch the width of the room with a nice, long table beneath the window for the customers to use. The vault would be all brick with an ornate door, one that would show strength.

The two rooms adjoining the bank on Michigan would be used by the League City Hardware and City Cafe. And around the corner on Main, would be the City Pharmacy and the post office. Upstairs would be office space and plenty of it. The Michigan wing was to be used by the town doctor as his office and living quarters. The other wing would have a place for some insurance and real estate fellers.

There'd be plenty of space out front to tie horses and stuff and out back, there'd be space for delivery wagons. The privies would be out back also. They'd be in a nice little building nestled in a clump of small oaks.

Andrew Dow finished his plans during the fall of 1907 and the construction began. It was in the summer of 1908 that the Butler Building was completed. A concrete walkway was poured out front and a small fence put with turnstiles at each end. Cows roamed freely in those days and the fence kept them off the walk and away from the building.

Yep, it was nice alright. Best darn thing in League City. The town just grew up around it. They put a small marble plaque on the front right next to the bank entrance for everyone to see. It told just who the architect was on that beautiful building. There it was, plain as day. Andrew Dow, Architect. Gawldarn he was proud of that. Yes indeed. Mighty proud.