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First Settlers

The first settlers came to Brownsdale in the spring of 1855. They were 3 Norwegian families, they then sold their claims and moved west. In the summer of 1855, J.L. Johnson took a claim in section 4 west of the original three settlers. He built a sod shanty near a large red rock. Red Rock Township was named for this red rock. The village of Brownsdale was legally established July 7, 1856.

First Stores

The first store in Brownsdale was opened by John L. Johnson. The Brownsdale Post Office was established in the fall of 1856, with John L. Johnson as postmaster. The office was kept in his store, mail was received once a week, and the mail was brought from Austin on horseback.

The first boot and shoe store was built for Thomas Alfred in 1857, and the railroad came through in 1870.

First Churches

The first church built in Brownsdale was the Baptist Church in 1870. That church is still on the same lot. A small Christian Church was built in 1876 and the Methodist Church was finished in 1891. The English Lutheran Church of Our Savior Church was moved here in October 1937. The Catholic Church, Lady of Loretto, began building in 1947 and finished in 1949.

First School

The first school house in Brownsdale was built in 1856. The building burned down in 1858, but was immediately rebuilt. The second school burned down in 1871 and was replaced at once with a two story, tow room school. In the fall of 1896 the third school burned down. That winter school was held in 2 empty stores on Main Street. In 1897 a two story, four room school was built. In 1953 a new modern school was built. In 1998 the school was remodeled and a media center was added.

The first school house in Brownsdale was built in 1856. The building burned down in 1858, but was immediately rebuilt. The second school burned down in 1871 and was replaced at once with a two story, tow room school. In the fall of 1896 the third school burned down. That winter school was held in 2 empty stores on Main Street. In 1897 a two story, four room school was built. In 1953 a new modern school was built. In 1998 the school was remodeled and a media center was added.

Street scene, Brownsdale Minnesota, 1910s.
Photo curtesy of lakesnwoods.com
Brownsdale School, Brownsdale Minnesota, 1909.
Photo curtesy of lakesnwoods.com
Residence section, Main Street, Brownsdale Minnesota, 1916.
Photo curtesy of lakesnwoods.com