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Brownville, Nebraska
Carson House on Main Street, in Brownville Historic District
Carson House on Main Street, in Brownville Historic District
Location of Brownville, Nebraska
Location of Brownville, Nebraska
Country United States
State Nebraska
County Nemaha
 • Total 0.65 sq mi (1.69 km2)
 • Land 0.65 sq mi (1.69 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
958 ft (292 m)
 • Total 132
 • Estimate 
 • Density 195.72/sq mi (75.53/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 402
FIPS code 31-06750
GNIS feature ID 0827698

Brownville is a village in Nemaha County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 132 at the 2010 census.


Established in 1854 and incorporated in 1856, Brownville was the largest town in the Nebraska Territory, with a population of 1,309 by 1880. Bordering slave-holding Missouri, the town became an important port on the Missouri River. Daniel Freeman, the first homesteader to file a claim under the Homestead Act of 1862, staked his claim at a New Year's Eve party in Brownville.

The rise of the railroad was ultimately Brownville's undoing. The railroads siphoned traffic away from the Missouri River's steamboats. Brownville's attempt to secure a railroad of its own was severely botched and led to immense tax increases to pay the bonds for the failed venture. This drove most of the population away and led to the county seat being transferred to Auburn in 1885. In 1856 Thomas Weston Tipton moved to the town to serve as a minister. He later became a longtime U.S. Senator, and ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Nebraska. Omaha land magnates Herman and Augustus Kountze held large holdings in the early town.

After the Civil War David Mercer established a law practice in the town. Mercer later served as a long-time U.S. Representative from Nebraska. The Nebraska State Fair was held in the town in 1870 and 71. That year Eugene Gilmore, the future acting Governor-General of the Philippines, was born in the town.

The Brownville Bridge was built over the Missouri River in 1939. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Owing to its place in Nebraska history, Brownville is primarily a tourist attraction with several old houses opened for tours or converted into museums. Art galleries and wineries in and near Brownville have also helped to make the town an increasingly attractive getaway for residents of the region's larger cities. Omaha's River City Star was built in the town in 1967, and was originally named the Belle of Brownville. The Governor Furnas Arboretum was planted in the city in 1992. The arboretum is named in honor of Nebraska's second governor, Robert W. Furnas, the signer of the first declaration of Arbor Day. The Cooper Nuclear Station is south of the city. In 1995 a mild tornado blew through the town.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.65 square miles (1.68 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 425
1870 1,305 207.1%
1880 1,309 0.3%
1890 980 −25.1%
1900 718 −26.7%
1910 457 −36.4%
1920 463 1.3%
1930 426 −8.0%
1940 581 36.4%
1950 357 −38.6%
1960 243 −31.9%
1970 174 −28.4%
1980 203 16.7%
1990 148 −27.1%
2000 146 −1.4%
2010 132 −9.6%
2019 (est.) 128 −3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 132 people, 73 households, and 40 families residing in the village. The population density was 203.1 inhabitants per square mile (78.4/km2). There were 103 housing units at an average density of 158.5 per square mile (61.2/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 97.7% White, 0.8% Native American, 0.8% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 73 households, of which 9.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 1.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.2% were non-families. 42.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.81 and the average family size was 2.30.

The median age in the village was 60.8 years. 6.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 7.6% were from 25 to 44; 40.1% were from 45 to 64; and 38.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 53.0% male and 47.0% female.


Brownville sits in the Loess Hills above the Missouri River Valley. It is home to one of Nebraska's two nuclear power plants. The Cooper Nuclear Station is owned and operated by the Nebraska Public Power District. U.S. Route 136, which meets Nebraska Highway 67 near Brownville, runs through the town, exiting the state via the Brownville Bridge. At Brownville bicycle riders along the Lewis & Clark Trail Bicycle Route can choose between the Steamboat Trace or the Hamburg Option.

Notable people

  • Eugene Allen Gilmore, Acting Governor-General of the Philippines in 1927.
  • Thomas Tipton, one of the first two United States senators from Nebraska.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Brownville (Nebraska) para niños

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