The nearly 75-acre Browntown Historic District encompasses most of Browntown, a village located in a valley in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Warren County. Browntown coalesced around the Brown–Updike Mill during the early-to-mid 1800s and extended along a mountain brook, Gooney Run. The picturesque settlement took its present crossroads form after the opening of Cover Tannery in 1874, propelling its growth, which followed in the early 1900s with the establishment of stave and tool-handle factories that sustained the village economy. The historic district encompasses 80 contributing buildings, mostly houses, some influenced by Italianate and Queen Anne styles, as well as churches, stores, barns, a schoolhouse, railroad depot, and archaeological sites. The latter includes the circa-1800 cellar ruins of the Abraham Brown House, of which its owner operated two mills and a tannery, probably beginning in the 1810s. Two other houses were likely built before the Civil War; however, most housing stock appears to date to Browntown’s era of industrial growth, from 1874 to 1899. Twentieth-century architecture includes late 1940s and early 1950s Minimal Traditional and Craftsman-influenced houses, and scattered dwellings remodeled with post-World War II era architectural embellishments.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
Photo credit: Dan Pezzoni, 2021