Heritage Association of Brown County

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There are many historical sites in Brown County.  Here are just a few of those interesting places that you will want to visit.

Coggin Academy - Now the Girling Center for Social Justice, located in the 1300 block of Austin Avenue.  This is the oldest continuos use education building in Texas, having been opened in 1876 as Coggin Academy.  It became Daniel Baker College in 1889, and was used for classrooms and the home for Dr. B. T. McClelland, founder of Daniel Baker College.  In later years it served as an elementary school, high school, dormitory, science, library and band hall.  At the time of the merger of Daniel Baker College and Howard Payne College in 1953 it was the McClelland Library.

Douglas McArthur Academy of Freedom - Daniel Baker College - Dr. Brainard Taylor McClelland was the founder and first president of Daniel Baker College.  With authority granted by the Presbyterian Synod to establish DBC, the permanent organization took place on December 4, 1888. The first term of classes began in September 1889.  In 1930, Daniel Baker became an independent college supported primarily by Brownwood Presbyterians.  In 1946, it was turned over to the Methodist Church and in 1949, it was taken over by the Episcopal Church and operated until 1953 when it merged with Howard Payne College.

The Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom was established in 1962 by adding on to the existing Administration Building of the old Daniel Baker College.  The Academy of Freedom offers an academic program designed for honors students at Howard Payne University who want to advance beyond the normal requirements for an undergraduate degree.  The Academy of Freedom Building also houses a museum devoted to man's quest for religious and political freedom.  

Santa Fe Depot and Harvey House - The historical Santa Fe Railroad Station is located on Adams Street and Washington Ave. next to the Vine Street underpass.  The  Santa Fe Railroad Passenger Station was built in 1909 and the Harvey House Restaurant and hotel was built in 1911.  Both were built in Prairie Style of architecture.  the Harvey House had a coffee shop, restaurant, kitchen facilities and a tea room.  Upstairs were the hotel rooms and also where many of the Harvey House girls stayed.

The passenger station was divided into three sections.  On the east end, closest to the Harvey House, was the waiting room.  In the center section was the two-story tower which housed the telegrapher's bay, the ticket counter, and the restrooms with offices on the second floor.  The west wing housed the baggage room and the Railway Express Agency, and the black waiting room.  Passenger service to Brownwood was started on December 31, 1885 by the then Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad.  The last passenger train through Brownwood left the station on July 21, 1968.  Tours are available by calling the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce.

Early's First School - The "little red brick school" building built in 1938 is still in the Early Elementary School acreage in Early, Texas. The Early School District has added buildings, parking area, etc. but left the "red brick school" still standing. When the Early School is open, visitors can see the building towards the middle after registering at the school office at the intersection of Hwy. 84/183 & Hwy. 67/377( or Early Blvd.). It is believed to be the oldest building in the Early city limits.

Lake Brownwood State Recreation Area - A state park was built two years after the dam on Lake Brownwood was completed in 1933.  The personnel of a CCC group arrived on November 4, 1934 and set up a tent camp using army tents. They proceeded to build the original club house, dance terrace and some cabins. The club house is shown in the picture to your left. There has been much development at the State Park since then.  On January 1, 1970, a contract was let to build: 20 tent camp units, 20 trailer sites, 15 picnic sites, a concession building and renovation of other facilities and were completed by August 1970.  At the time the contract was let, the park already had 55 picnic sites, 5 screened shelters, 2 group lodges and 19 cabins. 

The park is located off State Highway 279 twenty-two miles northwest of Brownwood in Brown County. The Brown County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 dammed Pecan Bayou to form the lake, which covers 7,300 acres, for water for Brownwood.  The park has facilities for group events including a group dining hall and bunkhouses, a Beach Lodge, and a Fisherman Lodge.  Boat ramps and docks are available.  The park features a lighted fishing pier, fish-cleaning tables, a park store, a swimming beach, hiking trails, and a bike trail. Fishing is the big attraction; most of the fish caught are crappie, bass, or catfish.