Pierce Butler Route is known by many as a shortcut through area neighborhoods, Pierce Butler Route is named for one of Saint Paul’s U.S. Supreme Court justices. The street was platted in 1961.
Butler was born in 1886 and died in November 1939 while he was still serving on the court. He served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1923 until his death. He is notable for being the first Justice from Minnesota, and for being a Democrat appointed by a Republican president.
Prior to being appointed to the high court, Butler was a prominent civic leader and attorney, who did much of his work for the railroads. He was elected Ramsey County Attorney in Ramsey 1892, and re-elected in 1894. He joined the law firm of How & Eller in 1896, which became How & Butler.
Butler, like much of Frogtown, had ties to railroad magnate James J. Hill. He handled railroad-related matters for Hill. He worked in railroad law in Canada from 1912 to 1922. At the time of his Supreme Court nomination, Butler was in the process of winning about $12 million for the shareholders of the Toronto Street Railway.
In 1908, Butler was elected President of the Minnesota State Bar Association.
Longer-term city plans call for Pierce Butler Route to extend east to connect with Interstate 35E and Phalen Boulevard.