A Day in Butler: Life on the Edge of Mohican Country

Nestled in the rolling hills of Southeast Richland County, the quiet Village of Butler is the gateway to the picturesque Mohican Memorial Forest and Clear Fork Valley. This peaceful bedroom community feels far from the hustle of modern life, but it’s only 23 minutes from the urban atmosphere of downtown Mansfield. This is the town where mayor Joseph Stallard grew up. He describes life in Butler as “small-town living where everybody is family.”

If you’re looking to visit a local festival, take a hike in nature, or just enjoy the slower pace of life away from chain restaurants and big box stores, Butler is where you want to be. The trailhead of the B&O Bike trail – an 18.4-mile paved trail that runs all the way to Mansfield – sits at Hitchman’s Park in downtown. The village has free parking right next to the trail and local places to stop for refreshment.

Whether Butler is your starting point or your destination on the bike trail, you can find a casual meal at Whiffletree Restaurant right off the path. This Western-themed diner serves all-American dishes and more with a dash of John Wayne memorabilia on the side. A short pedal around the corner will take you to the 5 Points Drive In. This local staple features ice cream stand favorites like cones and sundaes, but they also offer a full menu of hot food along with weekly specials.

While you’re in downtown Butler, learn some local history at the Butler Museum. For a town of their size, they have a surprisingly large collection of artifacts from the village’s history. If you need bikes to cruise around town or take out on the trail, the Butler Branch of the Mansfield-Richland County Public Library has a limited selection of bikes available which can be checked out with a library card.

The Clear Fork Valley Scenic Trail, a trail that connects Butler to Malabar Farm State Park with over 8 miles of hiking trails, meander through 600 acres of nature preserves, old growth woods, tall grass prairies, black hand sandstone cliffs, spring-fed waterfalls and riparian corridors. The trail also features elevated views of the rolling hills of the Clear Fork Valley.

Every fall, the Prairie Peddler Festival returns to the beautiful countryside of Butler. This two-weekend handmade marketplace draws in the crowds with over 200 artisan booths, great food, live music, artist demonstrations, and hands-on crafts for kids. Even the “American Pickers” have stopped by to check out the festival. The creators of the Peddler additionally host the newer Vintage Peddler each summer on these scenic wooded grounds. This upscale shopping event features all things vintage, industrial, farmhouse, and shabby chic.

On The Shawshank Trail

The beautiful farmlands around Butler made it to the big screen thanks to “The Shawshank Redemption.” At Snyder and Hagerman Road, you can walk in Red’s footsteps as he ventured the Road to Buxton. Head due East on Hagerman Road for 1.3 miles to where it dead ends at SR95. Looking North, you will see where Red’s Bus Ride took him after he was released from Shawshank Prison.


Escape to wooded getaways and rural farmlands. Butler is a great place to make your base for your time at Mohican State Park or the Prairie Peddler Festival. Bullfrog Mountain Cabins offers two charming cabin rentals on 12 wooded acres complete with full kitchens, bedding, towels and a hot tub. Nearby, you’ll find Luftberg Farm Bed & Breakfast. Located on 38 scenic acres, Luftberg Farm B&B features four spacious bedrooms and one suite. Lose your modern worries in the surrounding woods and meadows or just sit on the porch and watch the buggies go by.

For large groups and family reunions, stay in an authentic log home at The Lodge at Babble Brook. This private rental sleeps over 14 guests and has its own private fishing pond where you can canoe and kayak. Take in the views from rocking chairs in the front porch or make some s’mores around the fire pit.

Butler Statistics from JobsOhio as of 2018

  • The total population of Butler is 889 people with a median age of 41
  • Ontario has a labor force of 433 people
  • The distribution of 209 total employees is 52% blue-collar and 47% white-collar jobs across 28 establishments
  • Leading industries are 1. Education 2. Accommodation and Food Service 3. Construction and 4. Administrative and Support Services
  • Households in Butler earn a median income of $57,930 with 35.73% of households earning more than the national average each year.
  • Residents spend an average of 31 minutes commuting to work. Interstates can be accessed 7 miles away. Mansfield’s Lahm Regional Airport is approximately 20 miles away.