The citizens of Butler were the first to have electric power in the state of Missouri and anywhere West of the Mississippi. The Bates County Record documents that the lights went on in Butler on December 6, 1881. A short while later, St. Louis followed in. Reportedly, folks would take the train from Kansas City to Butler just to see the lights on the Courthouse and around the town.
The City of Butler acquired the electric plant and lights in 1900. The American Public Power Association described what they "believe to the be oldest electric power system in continuous operation in the United States, established before Thomas Edison started his Pearl Street station in New York and still operating proudly as a municipal."