Dating to Ohio statehood in 1803, Butler County began as a military outpost, Fort Hamilton, on the American frontier used to move supplies and equipment further into the young United States. The fort was named for United States Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The new county - named for Revolutionary War Gen. Richard Butler - was carved from land in Hamilton County.
Following the Northwest Indian War, the fort was dismantled and the town formed as a agricultural center and trading post. By the mid-19th century Hamilton had developed into an industrial center producing such items as farming machinery, paper and carriages. Later the city became well-known as the headquarters for Mosler Safe Company and Champion Paper.
Middletown dates to 1883 and grew in connection with the Miami-Erie Canal, which opened in 1845. Running from Toledo to Cincinnati, the canal powered paper mills and other early Middletown industry. Armco Steel was founded in Middletown in 1899 and construction on the steel plant began a year later. The first steel came out of Middletown in 1902 and production has continued for more than 115 years. The Middletown Regional Hospital - now Atrium Medical Center - was founded in 1913.
In the county’s northwest corner, Miami University boasts a past that includes academia as well as sports figures. Chartered in 1809, Miami graduates include former United States President Benjamin Harrison and Speaker of the United States House Paul Ryan. William Holmes McGuffey, who influenced education for generations with his McGuffey Readers, taught at Miami from 1926-36. Since the late 1920s, Miami - known as the “Cradle of Coaches” - has produced dozens of star sports coaches including Paul Brown, Weeb Ewbank, John Pont, Ara Parseghian, Woody Hayes and Walter Alston.
The Voice of America Bethany relay station opened in 1944 and spread a message of freedom to all parts of the globe for more than five decades. Today the land is a part of our extensive Metroparks system and home to soccer fields that host thousands of young athletes every year. The former radio station is now home to a Voice of America museum.
In a nod to its military past, the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument honors the men and women who gave their lives in the service of our country. Dedicated July 4, 1906, on the site of Fort Hamilton, the monument features exhibits and records of Butler County pioneers and residents who have served in nearly every major United States war. Topping the 100-foot-tall monument is Billy Yank, a Union Civil War soldier waving his cap in the air as an expression of victory. The figure is part of the Hamilton skyline and Butler County lore.
Our proud heritage laid a strong foundation on which to build a forward-looking future. Come write the next chapter. Butler County . . .your story starts here.