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Brown County TX
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Brownwood Hotels



Brown County Seat, Texas Panhandle | Central Texas N

31° 42' 29" N, 98° 58' 57" W (31.708056, -98.9825)

Junction of Hwys 84 and 377
Just W of Hwy 183
82 miles SE of Abilene via Hwy 84
131 miles SW of Fort Worth via Hwy 377
Population: 18,455 Est. (2019)
19,288 (2010) 18,813 (2000)

Book Hotel Here › Brownwood Hotels

Brownwood TX Aerial view WWII US Army Air Corps Brown County
Brownwood TX Aerial view
WWII US Army Air Corps Photo
Click on image to enlarge
Old Photo courtesy Dan Whatley Collection

Brownwood, Texas Topics:

  • History in a Pecan Shell
  • City of Brownwood Historical Marker
  • Brownwood Landmarks/Attractions
  • Brownwood Chronicles
  • Brown County Courthouse next page
  • Brownwood Old Photos next page

    Book Hotel › Brownwood Hotels

  • Brown County courthouse, Brownwood Texas,  1939 photo
    Brown County Courthouse
    1939 Photo courtesy TXDoT

    History in a Pecan Shell

    Present day Early was the original site of Brownwood. The county was organized and Brownwood made the county seat in 1857. Growth was slow until the 1880s and the dawn of the 20th century saw 4,000 residents in Brownwood. The courthouse burned in 1880, the first railroad came through in 1885. The second came through in 1891. Howard Payne College opened in 1889, the same year as Daniel Baker College that later became part of Howard Payne College in 1953.

    1900 saw Brownwood as the biggest cotton center west of Fort Worth. An oil boom in the 20s didn't hurt the town, but it was nothing compared to the boom brought about by the building of Camp Bowie.

    Camp Bowie, not to be confused with the WWI Camp Bowie near Fort Worth, was to become the largest training camp in Texas. The Brownwood population of 1940 (13,000) was more than matched just by the workers at the Camp. The severe housing shortage for military dependants and workers turned various buildings and even movie theaters into dormitories.

    The Camp also served as a prisoner-of-war camp beginning in 1942, that held 3,000 German prisoners. Camp Bowie was deactivated in September of 1946. (See also World War II)

    Historical Marker:

    City of Brownwood

    (first site 1 mile E; second, 5 miles SE, present location)
    Settled 1857. Acquired a post office 1858. An oil vein ruined 1860s water well of townsite donor Greenleaf Fisk. Wagon-yard keeper Martin Meinsinger sold medicinal oil from 1878 well. Commercial drilling began 1889. Farming, cotton sales, business town since 1880s; was reached by Santa Fe Railroad, 1885; Frisco, 1890. Two colleges -- Daniel Baker and Howard Payne -- were situated here in 1889. Camp Bowie, World War II Military Post, operated in Brownwood from 1940 to 1946. Center for agriculture-retail sales-industry. Has a coliseum, parks, 110 miles of lake shore.

    Brownwood, Texas
    Landmarks / Attractions / Images:

    Photograher's Note:
    "This looks like it would be a great Texas town to live in. These are just the highlights of Brownwood." - Barclay Gibson

    Brownwood, Texas, Brown County courthouse today
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, 2007
    Brown County Courthouse

    Brownwood Jail Museum, Brownwood, Texas
    Brown County Museum of History

    Located in the old jail in the 200 block of Broadway
    Open Thursday & Friday 9 to 5, Saturday 10 to 4.

    Photo courtesy Shannan Yarbrough, 2005

    More Texas Jails
    Texas Museums

    Rufus F. Hardin School, Brownwood, Texas
    Photos courtesy Jason Grant
    The Rufus F. Hardin High School and
    the Rufus F. Hardin Elementary School

    Founder George Smith,
    Educator Rufus F. Hardin and the building.

    Brownwood Tx - St. John's Catholic Church
    St. John's Episcopal Church
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    More Texas Churches

    Brownwood Tx - Lyric Theater
    Lyric Theater
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    More Texas Theatres

    Brownwood TX - Lyric Theatre 1943 old photo
    "The Lyric was an opera house, then first run films and now reopened as a community theater. This one is beside the Lyric Theater, with Center Avenue behind us. Year is 1943 and from left to right: Robert Taylor, the manager, girl usher, Joe Swan, Bill Lequay, and Britt Towery" - Britt E. Towery, Jr.

    Brownwood TX - Bowie Theater , Center Ave,  1945
    Bowie Theater, Center Ave, Brownwood
    1945 photo courtesy Britt E. Towery, Jr.
    Brownwood Old Photos

    Brownwood Tx - McArthur Statue
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    More Texas Monuments & Statues

    Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom
    Affiliated with Howard Payne University.
    The museum contains MacArthur memorabilia and a larger-than-life statue of MacArthur by sculptor Waldine Tauch.
    Austin Avenue and Coggin - 325-646-2502

    Brownwood, Texas - Santa Fe R. R. Depot, old  post card
    Santa Fe R. R. Depot, Brownwood, Texas
    Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

    Brownwood Tx - Sante Fe Depot
    Sante Fe Depot
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    More Texas Depots

    Brownwood Tx -  Display Engine
    Display Engine
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    See Texas Railroads

    Brownwood Tx Harvey House
    Harvey House
    See related story: "Harvey Girls" by Delbert Trew

    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015

    Brownwood Tx - Silo And Depot
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    See Texas Grain Elevators

    Brownwood Tx - Old Gas Station
    Closed Gas Station
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015

    Brownwood Tx - Old Gas Station
    Old gas station - "Texas" silhouette
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    More Texas Gas Stations

    Brownwood TX - Phillips 66 Gas Station Sign and Lion Gas Pump
    Phillips 66 Gas Station Sign and Lion Gas Pump
    Jimmy Dobson Photo, September 2017

    Brownwood Tx - Brooke Smith Historical Marker
    Brooke Smith Historical Marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015

  • Camp Bowie Memorial Park - Burnett Drive and Travis Road

  • Indian Creek Cemetery near Brownwood -
    "Sometimes called Texas’ greatest woman writer, [Katherine Anne] Porter died September 18, 1980, in a nursing home at College Park, Maryland, after a series of strokes. She was buried beside her mother’s grave in the Indian Creek Cemetery near Brownwood."
    See Katherine Anne Porter by Bob Bowman

  • Lake Brownwood

  • Lake Brownwood State Park

  • Brownwood Hotels

    Brownwood Tourist Information
    Brownwood Chamber of Commerce:
    In the recently restored railroad depot.
    600A Depot Street - 325-646-9535
    Website: www.brownwoodchamber.org

  • Brownwood Chronicles

  • The Rufus F. Hardin High School &
    the Rufus F. Hardin Elementary School

    Founder George Smith,
    Educator Rufus F. Hardin and the building.

  • San Jacinto vets and Brown County by Mike Cox

    " In 1836, as Texas colonists faced the largest Army in North America, no one of European decent lived in what would become Brown County.

    But the struggle against Mexico had a lasting impact on the future 956.9-square mile political subdivision along the as-yet-unnamed tributary of the Colorado that later came to be called Pecan Bayou. The Texas Revolution set in motion events that eventually shaped the county's property lines and attracted some of the men who guided the county's early governmental, religious and educational development." ... more

  • The Fence Cutter War (From "Owen Wister" by Mike Cox)

    "Less than a decade before, Brownwood had been the epicenter of what came to be known as the Fence Cutter War, a bloody feud between those opposed to the end of the old free range days and those who enclosed their acreage with barbed wire.

    The worst of the violence occurred in the mid to late 1880s, but as recently as three years prior to his arrival, Wister wrote, “this part of the country was in a high state of disorder…In 18 months there were 34 murders.”

    Those suspected of fence cutting and or cattle rustling often received a letter giving them 10 days to vacate the area, he noted.

    “The results that followed upon neglecting the hint were so uniform that a man upon being given 10 days…was heard to exclaim, ‘I’ll let ‘em have nine days back.’”

    Some of those involving in issuing the warnings, Wister hinted darkly, later purchased land vacated by those who heeded the dreaded notification."

  • The Many Lives of Ray Bourbon by Clay Coppedge

    Brownwood had never seen anybody quite like Ray Bourbon, an aging female impersonator, actor and comedian whose best days-most of his days, actually-were already behind him when he landed in the Brown County jail awaiting a decision on his appeal of a 99-year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. Bourbon wasn't so much famous as he was notorious... more

  • Eyewitness by Maggie Van Ostrand

    J.W. Epperson, a carpenter by trade, lived at 1601 First Street in Brownwood Texas, though he wasn't always a carpenter and he didn't always live in Brownwood. He was once a newsboy and lived in Washington DC. This does not sound all that memorable except for one fact: He was selling newspapers at Ford's Theatre on the night of April 14, 1865... more

  • The Boy With Two Tombstones Or Iraan's “Little Boy Lost.” by Mike Cox

    Perhealth found that an Isreal Ellis Clements, born March 3, 1870 in Brown County to Israel and Harriet C. Anderson Clements, died on Nov. 28, 1872 and is buried in the Roberts Cemetery on private property north of Brownwood. Perhealth checked the cemetery and discovered that the child indeed still has a tombstone bearing that information. That, of course, brought on the next mystery: If the little boy has one tombstone, why did he need another? And why was it more than 200 miles from Brown County? more

  • If It was a Fable, Let It Continue by Britt Towery

    There was a certain pride of station when I wore the maroon uniform of a Lyric Theater usher. That was a time when theater ushers actually helped people find a seat during the film...

  • Chicken Fried Steak: An Unbiased Recommendation by Britt Towery

    One thing I have tired to do through the years is to visit Underwood's Bar-B-Q when near Brownwood. Pity the poor traveler who is in Brownwood on a Wednesday...

  • Wisdom learned from the silver screen by Britt Towery

    I was fortunate to get an early start on study of the history of the world. Every Saturday night mother took my sister and I to a double-feature at the one-aisled Queen Theater on Brownwood’s Center Avenue.

  • Brownwood has a lot to be proud about by Britt Towery
    Artist Blanche Westerman Springer

    Book Hotel > Brownwood Hotels

  • Brownwood old photos
    1930 photo courtesy Britt Towery
    Brownwood Old Photos
    Barbershops, General Store, Schools, Churches, Hotels ...

    Limited Coffee ghost sign in Brownwood Texas
    Photo courtesy Donna Chevalier, June 2007

    Ghost sign in Brownwood Texas
    Ghost signs in Brownwood
    Photo courtesy Donna Chevalier, June 2007
    More Ghost Signs

    Brownwood Tx Local BBQ
    Local BBQ
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015
    See Texas Signs

    Brownwood Tx - Fire Truck
    Fire Truck
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2015

    Take a road trip

    Texas Panhandle | Central Texa North

    Brownwood, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Fort Worth
    See Brown County

    Book Hotel Here:
    Brownwood Hotels | More Hotels

    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.


























































































































































































































































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