Party in the Park
Park lodge marks its
50th year with September event
park was built on land
donated by the Butler family
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (September 2012) Gen. Butler
State Resort Park has been a familiar landmark in Carrollton since it
opened as Kentuckys sixth state park on Aug. 12, 1931. This year,
the parks lodge will celebrate 50 years in existence with special
family-oriented events planned for the community.
The park was northern Kentuckys first state parks and one of the
first 10 built in the Commonwealth by the Civilian Conservation Corp.
It was developed from a 300-acre tract that had been in the William
O. Butler family back to a time when Carrollton was known as Port William.
courtesy of Kentucky State Parks Dept.
Butler State Resort Park in
Carrollton was Kentuckys sixth
state park. It opened in 1931. This
historic photo shows the front of
the lodge and swimming pool.
This park is unique because it is a resort and an
historic site, said Gil Lawson, Communications Specialist for
Kentucky State Parks Dept. Its also close to the community,
whereas many state parks are in a rural setting.
The Butler family is one of the states well-known historic families.
Gen. Percival Butler was a Revolutionary War soldier who settled in
1796 in the area. He had four sons who were all prominent figures in
The park was named for his son, William Orlando Butler (1791-1880).
This sibling had a career as a soldier and statesman, and he studied
law under Robert Wickliffe. He volunteered for enlistment in the War
of 1812, taking part in the Battle of the River Raisin and the Battle
of the Thames. He distinguished himself in the latter battle and received
the rank of colonel.
At the outbreak of the Mexican War in 1846, Butler rejoined the army.
Two years later, he ran for U.S. vice president with Democrat Lewis
Cass. But they were defeated by Whig candidates Zachary Taylor and Millard
Filmore. He served as a member of the Washington Peace Conference that
tried to avoid the outbreak of the American Civil War.
The Butler family had a reputation for being patriots and public servants.
The Marquis De Lafayette is reported to have said, When I want
a thing well done, I order a Butler to do it.
Many members are buried in the Butler family cemetery, located not far
from the 1859 Butler-Turpin Greek revival style home inside the park.
The Butler Lodge was built on a hilltop 50 years ago for overnight lodging.
It contains the Two Rivers Restaurant, which serves a bistro style dinner
menu with a wide variety of items including signature Kentucky favorites
and locally grown produce.
In 1962, six parks opened with new lodges. Gen. Butler State Resort
Park will be the first to celebrate its lodges 50th anniversary,
said Lawson, which will actually take place on Oct. 31. Well
kick off the whole thing with them.
An anniversary event is planned for the community at 10:30 a.m. to 2
p.m. Sept. 15. A pig roast, bands, inflatables and anniversary cake
will be available at the front entrance of the park on Hwy. 227.
Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 the day of the event. Proceeds will
benefit the Carroll County Animal Hospital. We wanted the proceeds
to go to a community group, said the parks acting General
Manager Larry Totten, who has been at the park since May 2012. There
will also be free miniature golf and pedal boat rides. The childrens
train will run that day and tours will be given of the Butler-Turpin
State Historic House.
This is a noteworthy milestone, said Totten, who has been
employed by the Kentucky State Parks system for 36 years. After retiring
in 2010, Totten decide things were too boring and last October the parks
system asked him to return to fill in at General Butler until a permanent
general manager can be hired.
Totten has worked at four other resort parks in the state and said people
like to come to the parks. Its not as hectic a time as at a commercial
property. Its a different atmosphere; you can relax more.
He said that occupancy in all of the parks has decreased the last several
years. But this year, he has seen a lot of rebounding so far.
The lodge has been refreshed in anticipation of this anniversary event.
This is a big year in the parks system. We also wanted to do something
to reinvigorate the relationship between the park and the community.
We appreciate the support the community has given us. We want to help
The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce & Community Development Corp.
became involved in planning the event after attended a meeting at the
park with the parks commissioner, Elaine Walker.
She invited local officials, tourism, chamber, and local groups
to discuss ways that the park and community could work together to promote
each other, said Bret Reese, the chambers administrative
We came up with this idea as an event mainly for the community
and surrounding area to have a family fun day at the park and showcase
some of the changes they have made, Reese said. Changes include
landscaping, new mattresses for the rooms and many other improvements.
The park is the only spot in the state that has a unique view of the
convergence of the Kentucky and Ohio rivers. A stone pavilion was built
by the Development Corp. on the highest hill overlooking the Kentucky
Other amenities include 24 cottages and a convention center that serves
as the location of many weddings and events, including the chambers
annual banquet. The campground offers 111 campsites, with utility hookups,
grills, showers, rest rooms and a laundry facility.
Having a state park in our county is a great asset, said
Reese. Its somewhere locals as well as tourists can go to
have a fun day hiking, picnicking, playing putt putt, camping, dining
Tickets can be purchased at the chamber
office, tourism office and the parks lodge. For more information
contact the park at (502) 732-4384.
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