Study Butte, TX

By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

Study Butte is a community on State Highway 118 five miles east of Terlingua in southwestern Brewster County. Like Terlingua, Study Butte owes its existence to the mercury mining industry established in the area around 1900. A post office operated in Study Butte from 1917 to 1921; some sources indicate that a post office also existed there for a few years sometime earlier in the 1900s. The town, like the nearby mountain, was named for Will Study (pronounced "Stoody"), the manager of the Big Bend or Study Butte mercury mine. The walls of the old Study Butte store, an adobe structure still standing in the late 1980s, were scarred by bullet holes from the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s. In 1940, when the population of Study Butte was estimated at sixty, the Rainbow Mercury Mine was the chief employer, and the town had a school, a general store, and scattered miners' dwellings. Study Butte enjoyed a brief economic resurgence during World War II, but by the late 1940s the mine had closed. Over the next two decades the estimated population of Study Butte dwindled to ten or fifteen. When the mine reopened in 1970, however, the town population climbed to an estimated 115. The Diamond Shamrock Corporation discontinued local operations in 1972, but Study Butte had taken on new life as a destination for retirees and as a tourist center, thanks to its location on the western edge of Big Bend National Park. In the late 1980s Study Butte consisted of a school, a new motel on the east side of State Highway 118, and scattered dwellings. Its population was 120 in 1990. In 2000 the population was 267.

Clifford B. Casey, Mirages, Mysteries and Reality: Brewster County, Texas, the Big Bend of the Rio Grande (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1972). J. B. and M. S. Stevens, "Road Logs, Field Trip to Big Bend Region, Trans-Pecos Texas," in Geology of the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos Region, ed. Patricia Wood Dickerson et al. (San Antonio: South Texas Geological Society, 1990).
  • Communities

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Martin Donell Kohout, “Study Butte, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995

Study Butte
Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: No
  • Is Incorporated: No
Belongs to
  • Brewster County
Associated Names


  • Latitude: 29.31825320°
  • Longitude: -103.53073890°
Population Counts
People Year
267 2000
233 2010
244 2019
Great Texas Land Rush logo
Adoption Status: ⭐
This place has been adopted and will not be available until October 16, 2024
Adopted by:
The DiBona Family
Dedication Message:
In honor of Being here now.