Colonel T.L. Huston House

Butler Plantation was once one of the most extensive plantations in the South. The story of the plantation is a fascinating one, beginning in the 1790s when Major Pierce Butler planted rice on the Altamaha Delta. In 1838, the major’s grandson, Captain Pierce Butler, married Fanny Kemble, a famous British stage actress. Kemble, who was not familiar with the reality of slavery, immediately became very opposed to the treatment of slaves. She eventually published a book called “Journal of a Resident on a Georgia Plantation,” which some say helped persuade the British to oppose slavery and the Civil War.

Huston House

Colonel Tillinghast L’Hommedieu (T.L.) Huston, nicknamed “Cap,” was born in Buffalo, N.Y. on July 17, 1867. His father, an Irish-immigrant, was a civil engineer and his mother was a school teacher. His early years were spent in Cincinnati before he became an engineer alongside his father on the Louisville and Nashville railroads. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, Huston served in the U.S. Army as a captain of the 16th Regiment of Engineers during the fighting in Cuba. His first Army stint is where Huston earned his nickname, ‘Cap.’ He remained in Cuba after the war, establishing his fortune by helping the newly liberated country rebuild and improve its infrastructure.

Huston House

In 1913, Colonel T.L. Huston partnered with fellow Colonel, Jacob Ruppert Jr., and purchased the American League Baseball Club of New York. Two years later, they bought a lowly Yankees team from Frank Farrell and William Devery, who were responsible for bringing the franchise to New York City. Under Ruppert and Huston’s ownership, the New York Yankees won two pennants, quickly becoming one of the nation’s favorite baseball teams. As owner of the Yankees, Col. Huston was instrumental in signing and retaining Babe Ruth, at the time considered “The Deal of the Century.” He also supervised most of the $2 million construction of the original Yankee Stadium which was completed in 1923. Huston dubbed it “The House that Ruth Built.”

Huston House

In 1922, Huston retired and sold his share of the Yankees to Ruppert for $1.50 million. In 1926, he purchased the Butler Island property and built the house the following year. He converted the property into a dairy farm and attempted to raise cows. Locals proclaimed Huston’s Dairy produced the best milk east of the Mississippi. However, the dairy farm proved to be a challenging endeavor. Huston hauled off the cows in 1932 and found success using the land to grow iceberg lettuce. Within a decade, Butler Island became one of the largest iceberg lettuce farms on the east coast. On March 29, 1938, Col. Huston suffered a heart attack and died instantly while at his desk. Tobacco heir R.J. Reynolds purchased Butler Island after Huston’s death. By the 1970s, all operations on the grounds had ceased.

The Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division currently owns Butler Island Plantation which is open to the public for picnicking, fishing and bird watching. However, the Huston House is currently vacant and is not. There are no long-term plans for use or maintenance of the home. Changing climate conditions and recent hurricanes have exposed the house to the elements. Without a plan in place, these threats will lead to the continued deterioration of the home. In 2019, the Huston House was placed on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Places in Peril” list.

Huston House

Huston House

Huston House
The old chimney ruins from the 19th-century steam-powered rice mill are visible out of a window.
Huston House
A first-floor parlor room
Huston House
Over the years, The Huston House was visited by numerous famous baseball players, including Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb.
Huston House
The first-floor staircase
Huston House
The home was last used as offices for the Department of Conservancy.

Huston House

Huston House
The second-floor hallway

Huston House

Huston House
A third-floor bedroom
Huston House
An upstairs bathroom

Huston House

Huston House
Located on the opposite side of the highway a short drive down from the house, the old Huston Diary Barn dates back to 1929.

Huston House

Huston House
The overgrown dike and canal system behind the Huston House.

7 Replies to “Colonel T.L. Huston House”

  1. Wow the 1790s – 1838, plantation – reminiscent base ball, steamships, France and Cuba. I most love that third – floor bedroom the most. Thank you for sharing of both your talent and presenting such unique and delightful ghostly establishments.
    I so do love the fine solid hard wood interiors’ the designs a smooth and the colors were perfection in the era of the establishments, homes and mansions. And even peeling paint has its unique feel of artistic character. Mint or sea green color wall tiles, but it’s the wood grains and stains that are so alluring of eye.
    I must say that I do have my favorite though; it’s the eye and imagination catching images of ‘The Foster – Thomason – Miller House. Stunning even in its suffrage of fire damages. But those tall wooden doors, and raised ceiling, the entirety of it, must definitely be home to such spirits of yesteryear. If there was a vote it should make first page and book cover honors.

    Like

  2. That made me cry. I hope that house can be preservepreserved. It is so beautiful. God bless you for bringing these places to peoples attention.

    Like

Leave a Reply to CHartman Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: