Born in Georgia in 1885, Frank B. Butler was a businessman, political and civic leader, founder of Butler Beach, and Florida’s first black citizen to serve on a grand jury.

He moved to St. Augustine around 1906 and in 1914 opened Palace Grocery on the corner of Washington Street and Bridge Streets. A year later, Butler entered the real estate business and his company would soon develop the College Park subdivision.

In 1927, Butler was frustrated with the injustice of “whites-only” beaches and began purchasing oceanfront property on Anastasia Island, eventually acquiring a tract from the Atlantic to the Matanzas River.

Butler’s Beach became the first beach between Daytona and Jacksonville where African Americans were able to freely enjoy the surf, sun, and sand. Several Civil Rights demonstrations took place on Butler Beach in the 1960s.

Photo & Content provided by St. Johns Cultural Council