Brownsville, MN

P.O. Box 138          Brownsville, MN 55919          507- 482- 6732

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Brownsville Historic Photos



History of Brownsville


During the growth of the community, education and religion were not neglected. A brick schoolhouse was built in 1873 and torn down in 1993, with a new Community Center replacing it. The Episcopalian Church of the Holy Comforter, built in 1869, has served as a religious center for almost 100 years. It is open by appointment throughout the year and the church is available for weddings and other appropriate functions for a nominal fee.

The Twentieth Century brought a decline to Brownsville.  Fires destroyed buildings, transportation progressed, and several businesses closed their doors. Front Street disappeared in 1950 when Highway 26 was built.

The pioneers in Brownsville worked hard but they knew how to have fun.  Back in 1855 the Fourth of July was celebrated by barbecuing an ox in a fire pit, by giving speeches and by shooting fireworks. Masquerade

dances were popular and a Drama Society entertained by producing plays. There were dances at  Odd Fellows Hall and at Germania Hall.

Currently, the Brownsville area provides recreation for residents and visitors.  Wildcat Landing (owned by Houston County) has a public boat landing and well-maintained, riverside campsite facilities. Up the channel, Lawrence Lake Marina offers bait, boat rentals, boat slips, snacks, fishing licenses, gift store and antiques. And, finally, to catch a glimpse of Brownsville history, stop at the Community Center during morning hours and check out the Historical Room.


Carol Walhovd Family History



It takes a lot of dedication, curiosity and pride to write about ones family and ancestors. Carol Walhovd was one of these people as four years ago she started feeling regret that she did not question her parents more about their heritage.

Carols parents, Jack and Marie Heisler were descendants of Native Americans. Each had a grand parent with one hundred percent Ojibwe Blood Quantum. Over the years many times Jack and Marie would tell their children of the traditional way they were raised on the White Earth Indian Reservation, in Northern Minnesota. How they were taken from their homes and put into mission schools and forced to live the white mans way. 

Carol, sister Nancy and brother Al all had many memories that needed recording to paper so all their children would know of these and many more events that took place before their time.

Carol took on the job of writing the 138 page Heisler Family Tree. There are stories of the Heisler children growing up in Brownsville. Early school years, climbing the hills, swimming at Wild Cat creek, fishing the banks of the Mississippi, skating and watching their children do the same things.

This book reflects what it is like to be raised in a small town..



Village History Book


There are a few histories floating around Brownsville these days. They give you an idea what was taking place in our little town in years past. One of these accounts was written by Carol Walhovd a resident for over 64 years.

Carol loved this little town so much she decided that a book should be written about it. Knowing that to do a good job she must find help accomplishing this feat. ..She approached a long time friend, Fern Heiller about this task and Fern agreed to be a part of it. And off they went. They each found a couple more girls to help them interview local oldsters and scour the village for pictures.

Word got around quickly and many offered their photos and stories of the “olden days”. After gathering the information, Carol and Fern each wrote parts, making the “Brownsville Story”. It took many months of gathering and compiling but when they were through everyone wanted a copy. They sold like the proverbial, hot cakes.

The book includes stories and pictures of yesteryear before 1976. Then for the Brownsville Sesquicentennial, Carol updated the book with a few more pictures and news.

The 126 page book can be purchased for $20.00 by writing Carol Walhovd PO # 97 Brownsville, Mn. 55919


"The Fred and Tillie Miller Family of Brownsville"

Synopsis of Miller Book by Fred Miller


The stories start in 1870, when 3 of our grandparents emigrated from Germany to the U.S. and directly to Brownsville.  At  that  time, Brownsville had about 50 businesses and 1500 inhabitants.  Grandpa Miller was a stonemason.  He and Frieda Schmidt Miller, later had 10 children, of which Dad was the youngest, and lived in a one bedroom house located where Margaret Moriarity lives today.  Amazingly, Grandpa walked to work carrying his tools, to as far away as Caledonia. He probably did this on Monday, stayed there during the week, and walked home on Saturday afternoon.  Dad started working with him when he was out of school at 14.  Much later, Dad worked on many buildings, etc. in the Caledonia and Eitzen area with his brother Bill.  They didn't walk to work though.


Grandpa Ideker lived on a farm at the top of the hill on the road to Hokah, where John F. Ideker now lives.  Grandpa and Mary Graf Ideker had 5 living children including our Mom, Mathilda (Tillie).


Mom and Dad were married in 1926 and had 6 children; Frederick the author, Donald, Marian Miller Lowrey, Marvin, and two present day residents of the area, Melvin and Marlene Miller Levendoski.  We were raised in the house where Tim and Karen Anderson now reside.  Across the street from us was Klawitter's grocery store.  West of us was the stone building which was a blacksmith shop, then several different gas stations when we were kids, and recently was the VFW hall.  Upriver from us was Matt Bissen's tavern and Joe Serres' tavern both of which were lost to the improvement of Highway 26, which took out all of that part of town that wasn't destroyed  by the fire of 1920. 

 We had a "small farm in town" as we had four milk cows, chickens, several hogs and a huge garden on 4 lots where the Moriarity  home is.  We had a small farm where Mel now lives, where we kept our cows in the summertime and where we had trees for our firewood needs. We sold raw milk, cream and eggs to customers in town.


Life was much simpler in those days even though we had no electricity until 1940, no running water in the house until the 1950's,no refrigerator, but we had an air conditioned outhouse, BRRRR in winter time. We played ball, swam in Wildcat  Creek, sledded, skated, took care of our livestock and our gardens, cut and handled our firewood and otherwise made our own entertainment.  Of course, doing well in school was always expected.  In the book I describe what the family did during the four seasons.


I tried to tell our many tales in a humorous, easy to read style.  A copy of the book is in the Caledonia public library, and one each with the Houston County and the Minnesota Historical Societies. 


For more information about Brownsville


Call: 507-482-6732

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