Brownsville, located on
the far eastern edge of Houston County, sits at the foot of Wildcat
Bluff beside the "Mighty" Mississippi River. Running north
and south through the city is The Great River Road, Minnesota Highway
26. County Road 3 follows Main Street and goes west to Caledonia,
and County Road 18 goes north over the ridge to Hokah. The majestic
bluffs of southeastern Minnesota surround Brownsville on three sides
and across the river, the Wisconsin bluffs soar above this distinctive
Brownsville was the site for the first village in Minnesota Territory.
In 1848, Job Brown was rafting on the Mississippi River looking
for a place to establish a village. When he reached this spot, with
a good landing for steamboats, springs of fresh water, plenty of
trees, and valleys and bluffs, he knew it was the right place.
In the summer of 1849, his brother, Charles, joined him and they
platted what they hoped would become a metropolis. The settlers
soon came by steamboat and covered wagons and by the end of 1855,
there were 229 residents.
In 1854, Brownsville became the first county seat. By 1870, there
were over 1,500 residents, more than 50 businesses and industries,
and four churches.
Currently, the Brownsville area provides recreation for residents
and visitors. Wildcat Landing (owned by Houston County) has a public
boat landing and well-maintained, riverside campsite facilities..