Bringing Back Brownwood

Brownwood: A downtown resurgence reinvigorates a World War II-era military town
by Paul Brown Photos by Melanie Grizzel

Texas road trip / day trip travel times:

Austin 2.5 hours

San Antonio 3 hours

Dallas 3 hours

Houston 5 hours

On a typical Saturday evening in the early 1940s, the sidewalks along Center Avenue in the heart of downtown Brownwood filled with folks walking to one of the half-dozen movie theaters to watch films like Casablanca and Paris After Dark. Many of the moviegoers were Army trainees at nearby Camp Bowie. The end of World War II brought much of Brownwood’s activity to a halt as the population of almost 80,000 began its precipitous drop; today the population is around 18,600. And while the town may not return to its 1940s population levels, many new businesses are bringing vibrancy to Brownwood’s downtown streets once again.

A Toast to Country Life: The Spirit of Texas Winery features a tasting room built from a repurposed barn, animal pen, and woodshed. Owners Brian and Moira McCue moved from the Austin area in 2016 to open a winery. “We found our place,” Moira says about discovering the property. If the weather is nice, you can take your glass of wine outside to play some patio games, including checkers and giant Jenga.

Bringing Back Brownwood read the Texas Highways story

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The mission of Texas Highways is to encourage travel to and within Texas. As the authority on Texas travel since 1974, Texas Highways provides readers with a curated guide to the state’s cities, small towns, hidden gems, and natural wonders. Stories focus on Texas’ diverse cultural, historical, scenic, and recreational treasures accompanied by strong photography highlighting the state’s natural beauty. From the comfort of your living room or at the wheel of your car, Texas Highways is your trusted guide for travel in Texas.

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