Sharpshooter Annie Oakley Lived in Nutley, New Jersey

Annie Oakley and her husband Frank Butler lived on Grant Avenue in Nutley from 1892 through the turn of the century. The Nutley Historical Society has an extensive collection of Annie Oakley artifacts, including photos and firearms, at the Nutley Museum. An "Annie Oakley expert" is one of the society's directors and attends local meetings discussing the township's famous sharpshooter.

Annie Oakley was inducted into the Nutley Hall of Fame in its inaugural year 2003.

Return of Annie Oakley - Nutley, NJ Post Office mural

Annie Oakley Mural Hung
In Nutley Post Office

(The Nutley Sun, April 11, 1941) -- The bare drabness of the Post Office Building interior was given some lilt and color this week with the hanging on the south wall of a painting by Paul Chapman, WPA artist, which seeks to memorialize the memory of Annie Oakley, far-famed woman rifle expert. Although she was not a native of Nutley, she spent a number of years during her later life in town, first coming here in 1892 with the Eaton Stone circus which maintained its winter quarters in Kingsland road on the property now owned by Johnn D. DeWitt.

The selection of Annie Oakley as the theme for the mural was made by a committee of local men including Edgar Sergeant, Isaac B. Hazelton, Irwin Smith and Abram Molarsky, artists, and Johnson Foy, former publisher of The Sun.

Read More Nutley Post Office

The Annie Oakley Story - famed Nutley, NJ sharpshooter

The Annie Oakley Story

Yes, "Little Miss Sure Shot" really  lived in Nutley many years ago! The "Little Missy" who made Bill Cody's Wild West Circus famous in Europe and America at the turn of the century bought her "little acre of heaven" at 300 Gant Avenue in 1892, and it was to this home that she returned after receiving acclaim and medals from the crowned heads of Europe.

Although portrayed by Ethel Merman in the recent hit, "Annie Get Your Gun," as an aggressive teen-ager of the 1880s. Annie Oakley is remembered in Nutley as the quiet, reserved woman who with her husband, Frank Butler, entranced many of the neighborhood children with trick shooting.

It was during her residence here that the late John H. Donaldson of Highfield Lane was presented with Buffalo Bill's horse pistol, a patent Cold six-shooter, and leather pony collar trimmed with silver.

It is as neighbor and friend of later years that Mrs. William Longfelder of Highfield Lane takes pleasure in recalling the Butlers.

Annie Oakley house at 300 Grant Avenue, Nutley, N.J.

Deeds to the Grant Avenue property and town records show that the land on Grant Avenue was purchased from J. Fisher Satterthwaite by Frank and Annie Butler in 1892. The house, demolished about August 16, 1937, is said to have been built "without thought to closets because for years Mrs. Butler had traveled in trunks."

Friendly visits brought Annie Oakley and her husband to Nutley in the years after 1904. Days of World War I found soldier camps thrilled by the sight of the mature woman equaling her record of Chicago World's Fair days when in one day, leading the gun herself, she fired 5,000 rounds hitting 4,772 of the flying balls.

Following two severe accidents, Annie Oakley returned to Dayton, Ohio, the state of her birth. The late Will Rogers visited her there and in 1927, a year after her death, wrote the following tribute:

Annie Oakley, one of the finest and truest of American women was not only the greatest rifle shot for a woman that ever lived but I doubt if her character could be matched outside of some saint. She was a marvelous woman, kind hearted, most thoughtful and a wonderful Christian woman. Whenever I think of Annie Oakley, I stop and say to myself: 'It's what you are and now what you are in, that makes you.' "

Such was Annie Oakley's skill that the story is told of a baseball magnate who, disliking passes for free admission came upon a card full of holes and said: "Huh! Looks like Annie Oakley'd shot at it." Thus a new came for free admission tickets was coined, and free passes to this day are known as Annie Oakleys.

In 1952, two homes of Colonial Brick occupy the site of the Annie Oakley house. They are the homes of Henry Finston at 302 Grant Avenue and of Arthur Horn at 306 Grant Avenue.

50th Anniversary, Nutley, New Jersey Programma Historicum, 1902-1952.

Annie Oakley Lived In Nutley

By Ann A. Troy, Director, Nutley Museum (1961)

Annie Oakley: Little Sure Shot by Gary Erbe

"Annie Oakley: Little Sure Shot" by Gary Erbe

Coin shot by sharpshooter Annie Oakley - Nutley Museum, Nutley, NJ

Coin shot by sharpshooter Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley -1894

August 13, 1860 – November 3, 1926

Nutley High School Performing Arts Presents Annie Get Your Gun

Nutley High School, Nutley, NJ—Nutley High School Performing Arts presented three performances of Annie Get Your Gun at Nutley High School in March 2017.

Read more about the Nutley musical

Eaton Stone-The Wonder, Amateur Circus - Nutley, NJ

Nutley Amateur Circus

March 2016 -- Nutley Museum Director John Simko looks back at the Nutley Amateur Circus, a colorful fundraiser to help those in need more than 100 years ago. Although this event took place in 1894, it has inspired a local mural competition unveiled laterin the year. The fund-raiser for the local Red Cross was coordinated by Eaton Stone and sharpshooter Annie Oakley and involved many local citizens as performers. Video

Red Cross League Amateur Circus at Eaton Stone Wonder Pavilion

By David Wilson

Books and Such

Wikipedia: Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley's Home, Rich in History

Annie Oakley, Vol. 1: 50TH Anniversary Edition

Annie Oakley by Shirl Kasper

American Experience - Annie Oakley (2005) by Marion Ross, Marilyn Spanier, Bob Ader, and Laura Linney

Shooting For The Moon: The Amazing Life and Times of Annie Oakley by Stephen Krensky and Bernie Fuchs

Bull's-Eye: A Photobiography Of Annie Oakley - by Sue Macy 

Biography: Annie Oakley - Crackshot in Petticoats

The Life and Legacy of Annie Oakley (Oklahoma Western Biographies, Volume 7) By Glenda Riley

Annie Oakley: Vol 1 TV Series (1954)

More on the Mural


Nutley, New Jersey, News & History Archives

At Height of Fame, Sharpshooter Annie Oakley Moved to Nutley

The Essex County community was an idyllic respite for Oakley after years spent living in tents, hotels and rooming houses on tour.

By Fred B. Adelson, New Jersey Monthly, August 2022



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NUTLEY Yesterday - Today, edited by Ann A. Troy

NUTLEY Yesterday – Today

Annie Oakley Lived In Nutley by Ann Troy

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Italian Americans of Newark, Belleville and Nutley (Images of America)

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Bad News on the Doorstep "The Mud Bowl" between Nutley and Belleville by Joseph Cervasio

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The natural wilderness which was once Nutley was first disturbed by the tread of the Lenape Indians on their eastward migration from the west of the Mississippi...

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