The Butler Window

The Butler Window Restoration Project

Broke ground in December 2023! Read the Garden Announcement here.

The Butler Window is one of the most popular locations in the Garden for photos, proposals, and special memories, and has become an iconic “Instagram-worthy” Garden moment.  The intense usage, however, has resulted in soil compaction near the Window and erosion on the hillside below. The Conservancy’s plan is to stabilize and improve the landscape adjacent to the Window that will both protect this historic artifact and create an attractive gathering space for small events.

Because of its location on a slope, the project is challenging and therefore costly. As exhibited in the included schematics, our goal is to level surrounding areas and create terraces to accentuate the window’s beautiful curved pink granite. The support walls can serve as terrace separations or double as visitor seating. The investment to terrace the landscape, including a defined walking path, helps preserve the window by stabilizing the ground with the bonus of enhanced visitor interaction.

For information about how to get involved, contact our development director, Holly Hawk, by emailing her

Thank You To Our Supporters

Austin Parks Foundation | Michael Butler | Michelle Cline | Stephanie Hunter | Wilda Campbell | Grayson Cecil | Cameron Vann | Keely Denenberg | John Butler | David Schoen | Meta Hunt & Trent Miller | Debra Watkins | Robert Hughes | Martha Cooper Golden | Elizabeth Santos | Ann Dolce | Anne Donovan | Teresa Clark | Stephen Butler

This project is supported by the Government of Ireland Emigrant Support Programme.

Project Partners

JTA Stoneworks | Studio Balcones

Project Updates

On December 20th, 2023, JTA Stoneworks broke ground on the Butler Window Restoration Project at Zilker Botanical Garden.  

Fast forward to January 11th and the first granite wall is completed, with the second close behind. If you look closely, there is pink granite sprinkled throughout the Butler Window which was sourced from the same quarry in Marble Falls that these walls are made of. This granite can also be found in the Texas State Capital. Ultimately there will be 3 walls, forming a pedestal for the Window, which will stand at the center like a sculpture.

Master stonebuilder and artist, Jon Aguilar, from JTA Stoneworks deserves recognition for his remarkable craftsmanship, as it is uncommon to find hand-chiseled edges and cuts in granite that create the illusion of a seamless, continuous stone wall.

Butler Bricks have been used in the restoration project to maintain the original style and look of this structure. These bricks have been recycled from past projects and were sourced by the granddaughter of Michael Butler, Meta Butler Hunt.

February 28-The third and final wall has been built incorporating the iconic Butler Bricks at the base of the hill beneath the Butler Window. As Phase 1 nears completion, the Conservancy is raising funds to support Phase 2 of the project which will involve irrigation improvements, landscaping, and lighting to enhance the scene around the window.


Michael Butler, the founder of the Butler Brick Company, commissioned Austin’s Butler Mansion in 1887.  He hired Thomas Harding, a close friend, and Little Rock architect, to design the house incorporating Butler bricks and Marble Falls granite, as both materials were being used to build the State Capitol.  Butler bricks were Austin’s “original building blocks” utilized in the construction of many significant Austin buildings.  The Butler Mansion was sadly demolished shortly after being sold by the family in the early 1970s.  This demolition, however, ended up being a critical event that fueled the establishment of the Austin preservation movement.

The Moorish-style arch, or keyhole window, was donated to the City of Austin and relocated to the grounds of the Zilker Botanical Garden in 1971, a result of the city’s faithful effort to preserve special architectural remnants and their accompanying stories. The Garden has become home to a diverse and eclectic collection of Austin’s architectural past including the Mamie Wilson Rowe Summer House, the Swedish Log Cabin, the Esperanza Schoolhouse, the Wishing Well, the Blacksmith Shop, the Bickler Cupola, a Congress Avenue Footbridge, and historic light posts that grace our parking area.

“There are ways in which a house holds the key to happiness, especially for children playing there. I am so pleased to
see memories of my childhood live on and bring others joy in this beautiful garden.”

-Meta Butler Hunt,
Michael Butler’s Great-Granddaughter,
Butler Window Restoration Fundraising Committee


The Zilker Botanical Garden joins many botanical gardens in exploring a wide range of programming and outreach strategies, from musical performances and art exhibits to cultural festivals and health and wellness opportunities. These activities take advantage of the quintessential ambiance a garden offers, welcoming long-time members and newcomers, and reaching beyond gardeners and nature-lovers. We provide an engaging, ever-changing mix of activities for the very youngest to the very oldest. Your kind assistance will help us preserve this Austin treasure for future generations.