Fire Destroys Huston House at Butler Plantation in Darien

Historic landmark was listed on the Georgia Trust’s Places in Peril in 2019

ATLANTA, June 27, 2024—The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation has learned that the historic Huston House at Butler Plantation in Darien, Ga. was destroyed by fire last night. The historic house was listed on the Trust’s Places in Peril in 2019.

“The Georgia Trust is saddened to learn about the loss of the Huston House on Butler Island,” said Georgia Trust President and CEO W. Wright Mitchell. “Despite the site’s association with a difficult period in the history of our state, the property is nonetheless an important historic resource that allows us to tell Georgia’s full and complete story. Unfortunately, when historic buildings are allowed to sit vacant and neglected for long periods of time, fire is not uncommon.”

The historic property had been identified by a diverse group of local advocates, as well as the Georgia Trust, as a site that required intervention to ensure its preservation. It is regrettable that nothing was done to prevent what was a foreseeable outcome for an abandoned historic structure. The Huston House was unoccupied with no long-term plan for use or maintenance.

Butler Island, originally a rice plantation dating to the late 1700s, is associated with the Weeping Time, the largest auction of enslaved people in U.S. history. More than 400 enslaved people at Butler Plantation were sold on a racetrack in Savannah during a rain storm in 1859 to pay off slave owner Pierce Mease Butler’s gambling debts.

The property was converted to a dairy and lettuce farm by Col. Huston in the 20th century. The Huston House was constructed in 1927 by Colonel T.L. Huston, a former co-owner of the New York Yankees. After his death in 1938, the property was purchased by tobacco heir R. J. Reynolds, Jr.

The site is currently owned by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

About the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use. 

As one of the country’s leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations, the Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund and raises awareness of other endangered historic resources through an annual listing of Georgia’s “Places in Peril.” The Trust recognizes preservation projects and individuals with its annual Preservation Awards and oversees the Neel Reid Prize and Liz Lyon Fellowship. The Trust offers a variety of educational programs for adults and children, provides technical assistance to property owners and historic communities, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts, and manages two house museums in Atlanta (Rhodes Hall) and Macon (Hay House). To learn more, visit


EDITOR’S NOTE: Images of the house in 2018 are available for download HERE. Please credit Halston Pitman/Nick Woolever/MotorSportMedia.