, M.D., first superintendent of the hospital
The facility was founded in 1844 as Rhode Island's first exclusively mental health hospital. Industrialist Cyrus Butler donated heavily to the hospital, and it was named in his honor. Local Yankee philanthropist Nicholas Brown, Jr. also bequeathed a large amount of money to construct a mental health hospital which was used to fund the early hospital.
Butler Hospital's Gothic Revival complex was built beginning with its founding in 1844, and includes a 1731 farmhouse that stood on the property when it was acquired by the hospital. The hospital complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
In 1996, Butler Hospital joined with Women & Infants Hospital and Kent Hospital to create the Care New England Health System in order to continually improve the health and well-being of the people in the communities they serve.