Brownsville history and culture featured in local museums


Brownsville’s four (count ’em) museums feature exhibits and collections dating from pioneer days to the 1940s, photo displays, and one of a unique rock and mineral collections imaginable – all within a town of just over 1,500 residents.  Amazing.

When you cross the Calapooia River into Brownsville, it’s impossible to miss the Moyer House, an elegant structure completed in 1881 by pioneering figures of Brownsville, John M. and Elizabeth Brown Moyer. Located at 204 Main St., just north of the bridge as you drive into town from Highway 228, it is built by John Moyer, a carpenter, from an original design inspired by the Italianate Villa style, with exterior details including carved finials, corner boards, frieze boards, and eave brackets. Interior details include ornately painted ceilings. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays when volunteers are on duty. Owned by the Linn County Parks and Recreation Department, the Moyer House is managed by the Linn County Historical Museum, located around the corner.

The Linn County Historical Museum, housed in Brownsville’s original railroad depot at 101 Park Ave. in Brownsville, features exhibits and collections dating from pioneer days to

the 1940s, representing all of Linn County. It captures the essence of early Linn County life with replicas of a general store, a bank, a barber shop and milliner’s shop, all rich with the objects, clothing and turn-of-the-century tools of the trade. A pioneer covered wagon stands in the lobby containing some items brought across the plains on the Oregon Trail. Displays also range from exhibits on the Indians and natural history to Linn County cities, manufacturing and agriculture. The museum also includes a mini-theatre, a research collection, and a store. The theatre occupies one of the box cars and includes 30 seats from the old Linn Theatre in Brownsville. Historical and vintage video programs are shown by request. For more information call (541) 466-3390.

The Living Rock Studios, located at 911 W. Bishop Way, off Highway 228 in Brownsville, is more than a castle made of stone and cement. It is a work of art, a wonderland of rock, art, and history. Within its solid walls, visitors see things they could never have imagined. A hollow tree over two stories high made of petrified wood and lined with sparkling crystals. Beautiful, one–of–a–kind woodcarvings. Pictures of logging scenes made of thin translucent pieces of rock collected and arranged in such a way that when lit from behind, the pictures become glowing illustrations. Original life–size oil paintings of various species of bird and a large assortment of rocks. Living Rock Studios is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. For more information call (541) 466-5814.

A unique museum located in Brownsville on the corner of Park and Main streets, the Pioneer Picture Gallery houses a collection of donated photos that date from the late 1800s to the present, featuring Linn County communities, schools, people, buildings, homes and the Linn County Pioneer Picnic. The gallery is open May through September on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., or by appointment at (541) 466-3448.