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J.V. Brower
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Christ the King Church
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Main Street 1904
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Main Street 1930's
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Early Browerville pictures 2.jpg

Originally settled in 1865, Browerville has a varied and interesting history.  Not many communities can lay claim to having been started twice in two different locations.  The community that would eventually bear the name of Browerville was originally settled by John Bassett in 1865 at a location, on the Long Prairie River, approximately 3 miles north of the existing community.  The original name of the community was Hartford or Old Hartford.  In 1869, businesses moved from the original site to the current community site due the future construction of the Great Northern Railroad. 


In 1882 J. V. Brower, owner of the land that was to become Browerville, platted out the current community.  The location for the community had been chosen by Brower due to the future building of the Great Northern Railroad.  

On February 8, 1884, a petition was presented to the Seventh Judicial District seeking incorporation as a village.  The petition was signed by the following:  R.H. Harkens, J.H. Lanphear, A. Runyon, W.G. Canfield, Ben Stevens, Wm. Wehmeyer, J.E. Johnson, H.B. Murphy, M. Hoosier, M.L. Murphy, J.W. Barnhard, Beo. S. Weeks, H.G. Simmons, Wm. Keppel, O.J. Tuller, Enos Keys, J.H. Scott, D.C. Matterson, O.M. Lanphear, O.E. Lanphear, J.C. Jaques, A.M. Wright, E.N. Perry, Peter Hermes, C.D. Nickey and Frank Svoboda.  The petition was signed by Judge L.W. Collins and Browerville became a legal village on March 3, 1884

 The two predominant ethnic groups to settle in the Browerville area were German & Polish.   Browerville was a thriving community in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Early pictures show a busy community supported by both the logging industry and area farms.

Church life in Browerville was impacted by the ethnicity of the early settlers.  In 1882, the first Catholic Church was organized in Browerville.  The congregation was comprised of both Polish and German members.  St. Joseph’s congregation built its first church in 1893 at a cost of $1,500.00.  

By 1895, dissension was spreading among the congregation due to parish debt and language barriers.  The parish was split into two parishes in July 1895.  St. Joseph’s church became the Polish church and St. Peter’s would become the German church.

 St. Peter’s Catholic Church was organized in 1895.  In 1896, St. Peter’s Catholic Church was built at a cost of $60,000.00; it was located at 210 Main Street.  St.  Peter’s was officially closed and the two parishes again combined in 1978.

 St. Joseph’s Catholic Church became the Catholic church for the Browerville community.  In an attempt to ease friction between the two groups, the Church was renamed Christ the King Catholic Church.    Today it serves all Catholics in the area.

 Zion Lutheran – Zion Lutheran Church had its informal beginnings in 1898 when Reverend S.K. Toehaug of the Norwegian Synod of the Lutheran Church came to hold services at the Johanson brothers’ home.   The congregation was small at first and did not actually organize until 1902.  It was not until 1931 that the first Lutheran church was built in Browerville.  The congregation had grown substantially since that time and in 1966, they built a new church on the north end of Browerville.

 Education of the children was an important part of the early residents’ lives.  The first Catholic parochial school was built in 1891.  Holy Angels School was a three-classroom school with living quarters for the Sisters.  It was a two story brick veneered building located at 333 Gillis Avenue South.

 The first public school was built in 1898 on land purchased from J.V. Brower for a cost of $1,500.00.  It was a two story brick building that was later sold to St. Peter’s Parish for use as a parochial school.  Today the Lakewood Medical Center stands on that location.

 In 1913, the first school building to be built on the current school location was built.  It was a two-storey white brick building consisting of six classrooms.  Today Browerville School District serves 510 students in a 102,000 square foot facility.

Browerville area residents are proud of their schools and work diligently to ensure that our children receive the best educations possible by ensuring approval of necessary school referendums.   

Browerville is and was a community of hard working people.  The original settlers came to start a new life and shape a future for their children. Many of the original founders’ families are still living in the area today.  These descendants of the original founders have an interesting and proud history, and now they too are working on shaping a future for their children.