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Historic Properties: The Historic Rainwater Museum


CHILDERSBURG, Ala. – The Butler-Harris-Rainwater Museum is a historic home on First Street and Tenth Avenue in Childersburg.

As with most older buildings in Talladega County, it has a rich history. Built by George Butler in 1894 as a wedding gift to his son Charles, the former home on a hill was an imposing symbol of wealth and influence.

The Butlers were an important Childersburg family at the turn of the century, known for participating in civic affairs as members of the Methodist Church. Their business, Butler & Son Mercantile Store, was a busy location, and they also owned a livery stable on First Street.

Charles Butler deeded the house to his wife Eliza Nichols Butler in 1895.

The family lived a lavish lifestyle. They and their children paraded around town with their horse, always decorated with an ornate dress harness.

Tragically, Mr. Butler Sr. and his wife died in 1907 and 1910 respectively, and their store and livery stable caught fire and burned. The remaining family moved to nearby Anniston.

A few years later, the family of James and Maggie Towery lived in the home for a brief period.

In 1922, the house was purchased by Mrs. J.A. Harris, a widow, who lived there with her children Joe and Virginia. In 1923, Virginia married Earl A. Rainwater, and the home was given to the newlywed couple much like it had been given to the Butlers nearly 30 years earlier.

Harris and Rainwater families continued to make the property their residence for half of the 20th century. In 1975, the house was occupied by Mrs. Rainwater, her daughter Mary Alice Rainwater Cleveland, and Jan Cleveland. Mrs. Virginia Rainwater lived there until 1992.

In 1994, Mayor B.J. Meeks and the City of Childersburg purchased the home and land, and the Childersburg Historic Commission restored and developed it into a museum full of relics from the city’s history.

“We’re in the process of making changes to the Butler-Rainwater house,” said Monty Powell, president of the Commission. “We’re really proud of [the museum] and have plans to turn it into an attraction for the whole city to come out and enjoy.”

Max Cleveland for | © 2017, City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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