All In A Day's Drive

All in a Day's Drive: Folks stand by Brownsville

All in a Day's Drive: Folks stand by Brownsville

BROWNSVILLE, Ore. - It was the home of some of Oregon's first settlers and it was the setting for the movie "Stand By Me."

But people who still call Brownsville home say the town is always welcoming to visitors.

People who visit Brownsville may appreciate the rich history or the quiet streets.

“It's peaceful and it's quiet and it's close to everything,” Randy Ginn said.

But you may not know that the museum in this close-knit community was actually born from tragedy.

“The mill burned in 1955 and that was the town's major employer. And so the town went into a bit of a depression,” Joni Nelson said. Nelson volunteers at the Linn County Historical Museum.

Rather than dwell on what they lost, volunteers in Brownsville instead focused on what they had... history. They began collecting artifacts to form the museum and they bought the old Moyer House to fix up and offer tours.

“These ceilings are the most precious thing in the house. They're very rare. There's no other house in Oregon that you can see original painted ceilings,” Nelson said. 

Museum volunteers have made clever use of the current space. Inside, you'll find a bank, a beauty shop and a narrow cinema inside one of the old train cars. You may have to listen to appreciate the history lesson here. Around the corner from the museum, you can a coffee house where you can hang your hat, and your mug for that matter.

“I think it's because maybe I had such a poor selection of coffee cups in the beginning, I'm not sure,” Ginn said. Ginn owns Randy’s Main Street Coffee.

He's not a beginner anymore. After 16 years, Randy Ginn has carved out a niche on Main street that remains popular among locals and travelers to Linn County.

“We're just trying to hold onto a piece of Americana. I just refuse to let go,” Ginn said.

And he may not have to if these hungry customers have anything to say about it.

Next month, Brownsville will host Carriage Me Back to 1900. That's when people in town will dress up in period clothing and offer visitors carriage rides around town. That's happening May 3rd and 4th.