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Linn County Museum

Brownsville offers a peek into Oregon's history
by Elizabeth Willoughby

Only 30 minutes away, Brownsville makes an ideal day trip from Eugene, Oregon's second largest city and a great home base for visiting Willamette Valley.

One of Oregon's earliest settlements, Brownsville's beginnings reach back to 1846, when a group of families claimed land along the Calapooia River. They established a ferry to cross the river, then a covered bridge and a store. More settlers came, resulting in a dam, mills, factories and a stop along the railroad.

The town's Linn County Historical Museum exhibits artifacts and costumes dating back to its origins, including from historical characters and households. An original covered wagon that crossed the Oregon Trail in 1865, as well as details of the six-month journey, is also on exhibit, as are Native American artifacts. Each year, the community theatre company puts on "Carriage Me Back", which portrays a year in the town's history in period costumes using well-known, local, historical characters.

Pick up a brochure at the museum for a historical walking tour of Brownsville. There are 31 points of interest, starting with the museum itself, which was the original Southern Pacific Railroad Company Depot from 1895. Other stops include buildings from the turn of the century and earlier, plus monuments and galleries.

The bridge scene

Several scenes of the movie Stand By Me were filmed in Brownsville. Fans can even watch the film at the Linn County Historical Museum theater set in the onsite historical railroad box car. After viewing, pick up a pamphlet that maps out where to find the local scenes:
1. Bridge into "Castle Rock" town
2. The tree house on School Avenue
3. Pie Eating contest in Pioneer Park
4. Gordie's House at 325 Fisher Street
5. Tattoo scene with Ace's gang – took place in driveway
6. Blue Point Diner (Now Brownsville Saloon) – a good option for lunch today.
7. Gun scene in alley behind the Blue Point diner
8. Where the boys said good-bye, look up Park Avenue and Main Street for familiar views
9. Coca Cola sign painted on the 1903 building
10. Funeral Scene at Baptist Cemetery

Stand By Me cinema

This article was originally published in November 2015 here at Examiner.com.

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