Brownwood, located near Abilene, is a city and the county seat of Brown County, Texas, in the United States. Brownwood is in the northern Texas Hill Country. It is home to Howard Payne University, which was founded in 1889. Brownwood has been an important town since 1857 when it became the county seat of the new and sparsely populated Brown County. The county was named after Henry Stevenson Brown, an early Texas merchant, pioneer, and warrior who died in 1834.
During World War II, Camp Bowie, the biggest military training camp in Texas, was located near Brownwood. Even though the camp shut down soon after the war ended, it had a clear impact on the community that can still be seen today.
With the westward expansion of cotton production in the 1870s, Brownwood developed more quickly but remained a modest commercial station along the western cattle routes. At the end of the 19th century, it grew and became a center for the Farmers’ Alliance. This was a group of activists who fought against how corporate, financial, industrial, and railroad monopolies took advantage of farmers.
The coming of the train was the turning point for Brownwood. The Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, was the first to break through in 1885. In 1891, Fort Worth and Rio Grande replaced it. A third, short-lived rail line, the Brownwood North and South Railway, was constructed in 1912 to link the cotton-ginning hub to the comparatively tiny Brown County village of May. It was given up in 1927.
Cotton was followed by oil. And after oil, there is Camp Bowie, a military facility. Camp Bowie was the biggest military training facility in the area during World War II. It ceased operations in 1946, and what remains resembles a municipal park. In addition to the military, railroads, cotton, and oil, add schools. In 1889, two institutions started here, including what is today known as Howard Payne University. It is a Baptist-affiliated institution with around 1,100 students and a campus that, under certain lighting conditions, resembles Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia.
Brownwood is a wonderful tiny town situated in a gorgeous region of Texas. The people are nice and pleasant, and the city has all the amenities of a metropolis twice its size. The schools are excellent, and the instructors really care about their children. It is large enough to contain everything you need, yet tiny enough to be attractive.