Brownwood, city (1990 pop. 18,387), seat of Brown co., central Tex.; inc. 1876. Its many industries include oil and gas, printing, and the manufacture of fabricated metal products, furniture, beverages, and electronic equipment. Brownwood processes and ships cattle, wool, poultry, sheep, Angora goats, wheat, vegetables, nuts, and meat from surrounding farms and ranches. Howard Payne Univ. is there. Nearby Lake Brownwood is a large reservoir used for irrigation and recreation.
Brownwood is a city in and the county seat of Brown County, Texas, United States. The population was 18,813 at the 2000 census.


During the Second World War, Brownwood was the location of U.S. Army Camp Bowie, which had a peak complement of over 80,000 soldiers. Camp Bowie serves as a training camp today at the intersection Farm-to-market roads 45 and 2126.

On 19 April 1976, an F5 tornado struck Brownwood, causing extensive damage, but no fatalities.

Brownwood's census figures were re-evaluated after the 2000 census from 18,813 to reflect more accurate figures of 20,407. The city was categorized in 2003 as a "Micropolitan Statistical Area". The federal Office of Management and Budget has issued a definition of "Micropolitan Statistical Areas" as "an urban cluster of at least 10,000, but less than 50,000 population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core, as measured by commuting ties."

A dispute over water rights created the adjacent city of Early. The two cities are separated by the Pecan Bayou, one of five major tributaries of the Colorado River.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.6 square miles (32.6 km²), all of it land.

Water Bodies

Lake Brownwood is located north of the City of Brownwood, TX. The Lake is a reservoir created by damming Pecan Bayou. There is a wide variety of fish in the lake. Large Mouth Bass, Small Mouth Bass, White Bass, Stripers, White Crappie, Yellow Cat, Flathead Cat, Perch, and Gar. Camping is available, water skiing, jet skiing, and boating is always great on this central Texas lake. It is also home of the Lake Brownwood State Park, a park which opened in 1938.

The Pecan Bayou is a major tributary of the Colorado River. Due to the damming of the area to form Lake Brownwood, the Pecan Bayou has a shallow depth and little flow downstream from Brownwood. During heavy rains, the Bayou often floods. It runs northwest to southeast and serves as a boundary between the cities of Brownwood and Early, Texas.


As of the census of 2000, there were 18,813 people, 7,110 households, and 4,664 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,493.2 people per square mile (576.5/km²). There were 8,169 housing units at an average density of 648.4/sq mi (250.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.74% White, 5.51% African American, 0.61% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 8.47% from other races, and 2.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.34% of the population. NOTE: The 2000 census figures were adjusted later to reflect a more accurate figure of just over 20,000 people. The city has been economically designated a Microplex.

There were 7,110 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 30.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.5% under the age of 18, 12.8% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,325, and the median income for a family was $33,991. Males had a median income of $29,090 versus $18,905 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,158. About 18.2% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.9% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.


The city lies within the Brownwood Independent School District and is home to Howard Payne University. Howard Payne University teams achieved national championship status in 1957 and 1964 in NAIA Cross Country, and in 2008 with NCAA Division III Women's Basketball. The Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, a museum with recreations of famous rooms in American history, such as Independence Hall, and a high mural depicting Biblical history, is located on the Howard Payne campus.

Brownwood High School was tied for most state championships in High School football, with 7, the last coming in 1981, until Celina won their 8th state championship in 2007. Gordon Wood, who coached at Brownwood High for a quarter-century, retired in 1985 as the winningest coach in Texas history, with 396 wins. He was recently surpassed by former Celina and Pilot Point coach G. A. Moore.


Brownwood is served by the following U.S. Highways: US 67, US 84, US 183, and US 377. The BNSF Railway also serves Brownwood. The railroad was a major player in the development and growth of the city. Brownwood is also served by Brownwood Regional Airport. The airport currently has two runways: 17/35, a 5599 x 150 ft. / 1707 x 46 m asphalt runway (30,000 lb per wheel), and 13/31, a 4596 x 100 ft. / 1401 x 30 m asphalt runway (25,000 lb per wheel). Mostly cargo and private air operations take place at the airport, although in the past Mesa Airlines offered regional connections to other locations.

Famous citizens

  • Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan the Barbarian, attended Howard Payne and is buried in Greenleaf Memorial Cemetery in Brownwood.
  • Bob Denver, the actor who played Gilligan and Maynard G. Krebs, was reared in Brownwood and attended Brownwood High School.
  • Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson, also known as Paul & Paula, attended Howard Payne University in 1962. They sang the song "Hey Paula" on a local radio station as part of an American Cancer Society benefit.
  • Glenn Strange, who played Sam, the Bartender in CBS's Gunsmoke from 1961 until his death in 1973, grew up in Brown County near Cross Cut. He also played Frankenstein's Monster in the final three Universal Studios Frankenstein films in the 1940s.
  • Phil Wilson, who grew up in Brownwood was appointed by Governor Rick Perry as the 106th Texas secretary of state effective July 1, 2007.
  • Madylin Sweeten, who played the fictional character Ally Barone in the TV sitcom 'Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten, who played the fictional characters Michael and Geoffrey Barone in the TV sitcom 'Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • Clint Walker, star of the 1950s Western television series Cheyenne on ABC lived briefly in Brownwood prior to launching his acting career.
  • Jim Morris, baseball player who made his debut at age 35 and had a movie The Rookie (2002), staring Dennis Quaid, that highlighted his career.
  • Jerry Don Gleaton, Major League Baseball pitcher from 1979 to 1992 for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Drew Womack, country music singer/songwriter. 1997 Top 10 hit with the band Sons of the Desert (band), "Whatever Comes First".
  • Gordon Wood, Wood set a state and national record with a total of 396 wins, 91 losses, and 15 ties in 43 seasons as a head Texas high school football coach, an 80% winning record. He won seven State Championships at Brownwood in 1960, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1978, and 1981. On top of that he either won or shared 25 district titles. Inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
  • LaTonne Sewalt, World Champion Barrel Racer in 1950 and 1954.
  • Royce Sewalt, World Champion Calf Roper in the RCA in 1946, Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame inductee.
  • Candy Barr, stripper, burlesque dancer, actress.
  • Boyce House, author, humorist, and radio personality.
  • Jeff Gore, Cowboy, singer, named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists in 1997.
  • William T. Anderson a.k.a "Bloody Bill" was a pro-Confederate guerrilla leader in the American Civil War.
  • James Neal “Jim” Thomasonwas a former American football halfback, part of the 1939 national championship team of Texas A&M University, selected 5th overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1941 NFL Draft.
  • George M. Shelton, Medal of Honor recipient.
  • John Paul Stapp, M.D., Ph.D., Colonel, USAF, was a pioneer in studying the effects of acceleration and deceleration forces on humans, and became known as "the fastest man on earth". His workplace subculture is also the clear originating source for the ubiquitous principle known as Murphy's law. Stapp was subjected to 46.2 times the force of gravity. He was one of the principal advocates of automotive safety belts. His preliminary education was obtained at the Brownwood High School, Brownwood, Texas, and San Marcos Academy, San Marcos, Texas.


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