|The land that is now Browning, Missouri was first purchased by a man named Francis Stone on October 30, |
1840. The land passed through various hands including Lot Lantz, until it was officially surveyed and platted by
C. G. Bigger on November 15, 1872, partially in Linn County and partially in Sullivan County. Justin Clark of the
Burlington & Southwestern Railroad Company, named Browning after Ann Browning who was the sister in law of
Orville H. Browning of Burlington, Iowa.
The tracks that ran through Browning were originally the Central North Missouri Branch of the St. Joseph &
Iowa Railroad. In 1871 the line was purchased by a group of investors, including Benjamin F. Northcott, of the
Burlington & Southwestern Railroad Company and re-named the Linneus Branch of the purchasing line. Service
first began to Browning from Burlington, Iowa in 1872 with a southern connection at Laclede, Missouri with the
Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad. In 1881 the line was re-organized by the Chicago Burlington & Kansas City
Railway and then finally in 1901, to the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad.
Browning was the second largest railroad shipping town in Linn County, next to Brookfield, with logs, lumber and
hoop-poles being the main items shipped. Coal was mined locally, though not commercially.
In 1892 it became a fourth class city. The first electricity was put into effect on June 21, 1915. The streets
of Browning were graveled in 1929 and city water was installed in 1956.
The town grew quickly after the railroad arrived and had around 1,000 people in the early 1900's.
In the late 1930's, the Burlington Railroad discontinued regular passenger trains on the line that ran through
Linneus, Purdin, and Browning. A self-contained unit known as the “Doodle-Bug” or “Puddle-Jumper” replaced the
regular locomotive passenger trains, containing a power and a passenger section, which twenty-five to forty
passengers could be accommodated, plus a small freight compartment. Mail was carried in the freight section.
After WWll, regular freight and mail service was once again restored to Browning with a regular locomotive
engine, freight car and caboose. There was no regular passenger service to Browning after WWll.
Rail service to Browning was discontinued in 1981 and the track was removed in 1982.