Oregon is full of charming small towns that tell a tale. However, my favorite is Brownsville, located just off I-5 20 miles north of Eugene. Brownsville is a town of 2,000 people and is Oregon’s third oldest city, after Astoria and Oregon City. Founded before Oregon was even a state, Brownsville is steeped with history, fun festivals and charming storefronts that are the perfect escape for a day.
If, looking at pictures, Brownsville looks familiar; it’s likely because you’ve seen the 1986 Steven King movie Stand By Me. The movie was filmed in and around Brownsville and features the town’s iconic downtown throughout the film.
Brownsville, Oregon is an easy drive from Eugene, Corvallis or Portland. You can easily miss this charming small town if you are not careful as you travel down I-5 (it’s exit 216). But don’t miss the chance.
Never-Ending Small Town Charm
Strolling down Main Street you will feel a breathe of relaxation as you enter this quaint town. Grab a treat at Randy’s Main Street Café for your adventures through town. The old-fashioned storefronts and friendly hometown feel make Brownsville unique.
After you grab your treat, stroll down Main Street and take in the beauty and historic significance of the storefronts and historic homes. To really picture how Brownsville has looked over the years, step in to the Pioneer Picture Gallery, which features picture collections dating back to the mid-1800s. Volunteers staff the gallery and talk you through each photo and the scene it reflects. Located at the corner of Main St. and Park Ave., the Gallery is a treat.
Next, take a right hand turn and visit the Linn County County Historical Museum and stroll through the artifacts of the Brownsville area and greater Linn County. There’s an actual stagecoach that made the trip from Independence, MO to Linn County, which is amazing to see. Also, check the movies at The Box Car Theatre and sit back and relax with a bag of popcorn.
Fun Events To Check Out
Pioneer Picnic is held every June on the third weekend of the month. As Oregon’s oldest continuing annual celebration, Pioneer Picnic events take place throughout town, with most activities anchored in the appropriately titled Pioneer Park – which is right in the heart of town along the banks of the Calapooia River. The first Pioneer Picnic was held in 1887 and was a reunion of Oregon Trail Pioneers. In modern days, the Picnic has transformed into a full festival with a Kiddie and Grand Parade, Wagon Train Breakfast, Quilt Show, Chicken BBQ, Pioneer Dam Run 5K/10K, Soccer and Horse Shoe Tournament and Pie Eating Contest.
Stand By Me Day – Monday, July 23, 2018, noon till 7:00 PM
The town embraces the movie that was filmed in town with an annual celebration including walking tours, movie viewing, 50’s car Cruise In, live music, a 50’s costume contest, Blueberry pie and ice cream, delicious food, 50’s games.
Hands On History – August 25 2018
Want to see what it was like to live in Brownsville in the Pioneer Days? This one-day event is an opportunity for kids of all ages to experience. Go experience Ox cart rides, handspinning, Native American Basket making, old time music and dancing, Blacksmithing, storytelling and more.
25th Annual Brownsville Antique Faire
The Brownsville Antique Faire is a one-day outdoor show held in Pioneer Park alongside the Calapooia River. The Antiqtue Fair attracts antique dealers, collectors and browsers from the entire Willamette Valley. More than 50 vendors sell their antiques and collectibles at the event.
Other Sites To See In Town
Moyer Historic House. Located right on Main Street, this historic, beautiful home was once described as, `The most artistically arranged residence in the state’. The Moyer House was built in 1882 and is an Italianate mansion is open afternoons seven days a week.
Kirk’s Ferry Trading Post. Looking for a fantastic meal? The Trading Post has delicious food cooked in a wood-fired oven, refreshing drinks, and a touch of history!
(Photo credit: Flickr user dtpancio)