One day in 1940, a little brown dog pranced into a Beach Street cab company, and history was made. The cabbies built him a little dog house and “Brownie,” as they called him, lived there the rest of his days. He’d sleep in the house at night, and wander around Beach Street during the day, to the delight of locals and tourists alike. In no time at all he became a minor local celebrity, and donations flooded in from all over the country to help cover his costs. Before long there was so much money coming in, a bank account had to be set up for him at the Florida Bank and Trust.
When Brownie died in 1954 he was buried in Riverfront Park with more than 70 people in attendance. Even the mayor attended – he delivered the eulogy. On Brownie’s grave stone is an etching of him with the words “THE TOWN DOG” and A GOOD DOG” below. The stone was lost to overgrowth over the years and all but forgotten, but when the park was undergoing renovations in the early 1990s it was uncovered and a small topiary in the shape of a dog was planted next to it. Brownie still tugs at the heartstrings of the local community – in 2007 there was even a Brownie Festival, complete with a Brownie look-alike contest.
Of course, not everyone thinks Brownie is truly gone – a few folks claim they’ve seen and felt Brownie’s presence in the area near his grave site.
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- Orange Ave
Daytona Beach, FL
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- 29.208930630204552, -81.01710900664335
- Volusia County, Florida
- Nearest Towns:
- Daytona Beach, FL (0.4 mi.)
Holly Hill, FL (2.7 mi.)
Daytona Beach Shores, FL (3.1 mi.)
South Daytona, FL (3.1 mi.)
Port Orange, FL (5.0 mi.)
Ormond Beach, FL (5.8 mi.)
Ponce Inlet, FL (9.2 mi.)
Ormond-by-the-Sea, FL (10.1 mi.)
Samsula-Spruce Creek, FL (11.4 mi.)
Glencoe, FL (12.9 mi.)
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I own Brownie’s Dog Boutique, a dog supply shop located on Beach Street in Daytona Beach, where Brownie lived and is inspired by Brownie’s life. We also take care of Brownie’s grave site and are working on creating a memorial park in honor of Brownie, complete with a statue of Brownie.
When we first opened our shop, a homeless man entered the store and shouted “I just saw Brownie get hit by a car!” I told him that Brownie died in 1954, so I highly doubt he saw Brownie get hit by a car. I found out later that Brownie actually was hit by a car in the late 40s and it happened right in front of our shop. Maybe Brownie was communicating with this homeless man?
Another story: On our opening night, we had a party and a woman came by herself and hung out alone all night. The next day, she came into the store. She said that her mother had recently passed and that she hadn’t been into her mother’s room since she died. Her mother loved Brownie and told many stories about playing with him when she was a child. Well, this woman said she had to come to the opening of the store named after Brownie so that’s why she was there the night before. When she got home after the party, she went into her mother’s room and opened a book beside her mother’s bed. In the book was a newspaper article from 1954 about Brownie’s funeral. She couldn’t believe the coincidence and decided to give us the article since it was obvious to her that her mother wanted us to have it.
Another story: I found out that Brownie was covered in a book called Haunted Daytona Beach by Dusty Smith. I ordered it and was reading it at our store counter and a woman walked in. I kept reading the Brownie part and was struck that Dusty said she sat at the bench near Brownie’s grave every day to eat her lunch. She said she felt better sitting with Brownie. I immediately wanted to meet this other Brownie lover. The woman in the shop came to the register to pay for some stuff and she noticed the book. She told me Dusty died recently. Not super scary, but a very strange coincidence.
Brownie also has a website browniethetowndog.org where I post all the historical documentation of his life. He lived quite a life!
Here is a photo of Brownie from around 1949.
This pic of Brownie is the one that is most used.