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Browns Valley, Minnesota facts for kids

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Browns Valley
Location of Browns Valleywithin Traverse County, Minnesota
Location of Browns Valley
within Traverse County, Minnesota
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Traverse
 • Total 0.78 sq mi (2.02 km2)
 • Land 0.78 sq mi (2.02 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
988 ft (301 m)
 • Total 589
 • Estimate 
 • Density 676.06/sq mi (261.04/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 320
FIPS code 27-08200
GNIS feature ID 0659752

Browns Valley is a city in Traverse County, Minnesota, United States, adjacent to the South Dakota border. The population was 589 at the 2010 census.

Browns Valley lies along the Little Minnesota River between the northern end of Big Stone Lake and the southern end of Lake Traverse, which is separated from the Little Minnesota River by a low and narrow continental divide that skirts the northern edge of town. The city, both lakes, and the river lie in the Traverse Gap, the bed of ancient, south-flowing Glacial River Warren, the outlet to Glacial Lake Agassiz which, when drained, became the valley of the north-flowing Red River of the North.


Browns Valley was first settled in 1867 by Joseph R. Brown, and named for him. The settlement was platted in 1878. A post office was established in the community in 1867 under the name Lake Traverse. The post office was renamed Browns Valley in 1872. Two properties in the city are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the 1864 Fort Wadsworth Agency and Scout Headquarters Building within Sam Brown Memorial State Wayside and the 1916 Browns Valley Carnegie Library.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.79 square miles (2.05 km2), all of it land. Browns Valley is rested in an old glacier path.

The Browns Valley weather station records some of Minnesota's highest summer temperatures; on July 31, 2007, a high of 107 °F (42 °C) was registered.

Browns Valley Lies in the center of Traverse Gap, a valley and ancient riverbed. This valley is also home to a continental divide. The divide is the southernmost point of the Northern Divide between the watersheds of the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans. The area is also home to Browns Valley Man, the oldest human remains found in Minnesota. The remains were found in Traverse Gap and carbon dated to about 9,000 years ago.

Minnesota Highways 27 and 28 are two of the main routes in the community.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 64
1890 498 678.1%
1900 721 44.8%
1910 1,058 46.7%
1920 1,073 1.4%
1930 981 −8.6%
1940 1,075 9.6%
1950 1,117 3.9%
1960 1,033 −7.5%
1970 906 −12.3%
1980 887 −2.1%
1990 804 −9.4%
2000 690 −14.2%
2010 589 −14.6%
2019 (est.) 528 −10.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 589 people, 247 households, and 141 families residing in the city. The population density was 745.6 inhabitants per square mile (287.9/km2). There were 288 housing units at an average density of 364.6 per square mile (140.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.2% White, 21.4% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.

There were 247 households, of which 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.5% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.9% were non-families. 40.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 24.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.97.

The median age in the city was 48.3 years. 22.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 18.7% were from 25 to 44; 23.7% were from 45 to 64; and 30.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.0% male and 54.0% female.


Browns Valley flood 07
Traverse Gap from ice-covered Lake Traverse at the bottom of frame, south to Big Stone Lake (top). The Little Minnesota River is flooding the valley floor and Browns Valley (center).

In March 2007, Browns Valley was flooded from the north and west by the Little Minnesota River. 100 people had to be evacuated from their homes, a significant percentage of the town's population. The damage was significant enough to warrant a visit from Governor Tim Pawlenty and Congressman Collin Peterson.

Notable people

  • Charles Burnett, officer in Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force during World War I and World War II
  • Osborne Cowles, basketball coach
  • Charles M. Dale, 66th governor of New Hampshire
  • Kathy Skroch, member of the North Dakota House of Representatives
  • Arthur C. Townley, politician
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