Minnesota: Brown County

Brown County (pop. 25,893) is just east of Redwood County. It’s bordered on the north by the Minnesota River.

There are nine Brown counties in the U.S., most of them in the Midwest. Four of them are named for Jacob Brown, a general in the War of 1812; Minnesota’s is the only one named for Joseph Renshaw Brown, a 19th-century trader, businessman, and politician.

He served in both the Wisconsin and Minnesota territorial legislatures.

The county seat is New Ulm (pop. 13,522), named for Ulm, Germany.

The world’s tallest church steeple

New Ulm was once known as the Polka Capital of the Nation; it’s now the home of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame.

Bobby Vee, inducted in 1992.

In Schonlau Park, New Ulm has a German glockenspiel – a 45-foot, free-standing carillon clock tower.

It plays three times a day.

Actress Tippi Hedren was born in New Ulm in 1930.

In Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (1963)

The Sons of Hermann, a German-American fraternal order, erected the Hermann Heights Monument in New Ulm in 1897. The monument is 102 feet high, with a stairway to the base of the statue.

Known locally as “Hermann the German”

The former post office in New Ulm, built in 1909, is now the Brown County Historical Society.

Renaissance Revival style

The town of Sleepy Eye (pop. 3,599) was named for the 19th-century Sisseton Sioux Chief Sleepy Eye (Ishtakhaba).

Sleepy Eye Depot Museum

NEXT: NICOLLET COUNTY

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2 comments on “Minnesota: Brown County

  1. Lois says:

    Interesting about the church steeple. I would have thought the world’s largest would be in Paris. I love the historical society’s building. Beautiful and unusual. What a wonderful name–sleepy eye!

  2. Kathy Kasten says:

    Just to be clear–the world’s tallest church spire is in Ulm, Germany–not New Ulm, MN. (By the way, Ulm. Germany has a sister city (or suburb) known as Neu Ulm.) I lived in New Ulm for 24 years and I was on the City Council when the Glockenspiel was built. It is fun to visit there now and see all the improvements I was a part of.

    Chief Sleepy Eye was so named, it is told, because he had one droopy eye lid!

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