Browndell is at the junction of Farm Road 1007 and U.S. Highway 96, in extreme northeastern Jasper County eighty-five miles north of Beaumont. The area, in the vast East Texas piney woodlands, became accessible to large-scale lumbering operations with the construction of the Gulf, Beaumont and Great Northern Railway north of Roganville in the early 1900s. The Kirby Lumber Corporation built a sawmill in northeastern Jasper County shortly thereafter, and the mill site was called Browndell in honor of Dell Brown, the wife of one of John Henry Kirby's financial backers. The Browndell post office opened in 1903 and was discontinued in 1928. By 1904 an enthusiastic Kirby Corporation official dubbed the Browndell plant, with kilns, planer, and sawmill, "one of the company's most successful and economic mills." Ten years later the facility, known as Mill S, could reportedly cut 75,000 to 80,000 board feet of lumber every ten hours. The 1925 fire that destroyed the mill threatened the continued existence of the Browndell community. Its population, once estimated to be about 900, fell to below 200 by the mid-1940s. The community's economy was revitalized, however, after the completion of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir opened up new recreational opportunities in the area. Browndell residents voted to incorporate in 1968. By the mid-1980s the community's population had increased to more than 225; in 1990 it was reported as 192. In 2000 the population was 219.
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Browndell by the Numbers
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|204||2019||Texas Demographic Center|
|197||2010||Texas Demographic Center|
|219||2000||Texas Demographic Center|
|192||1990||Texas Demographic Center|