The Living Rock Studios in Brownsville, Oregon


A few years ago we found ourselves in Brownsville, Oregon for the town’s annual Stand By Me day (many scenes from the the 80’s classic were filmed in Brownsville, including the iconic image of the four boys crossing under an iron truss bridge as they head out of town).

On our way into Brownsville, we noticed a large, white banner on an unusual looking two-story building made out of rock and cement: “Experience Oregon Art & History.” The castle-like building turned out to be The Living Rock Studios, a private museum that houses the collections and creations of late Brownsville resident Howard B. Taylor.

Inside the building, we joined up with one other family and received a guided tour of the building’s interior (with a brief stop out into the back lawn to examine a collection petrified wood and some noteworthy trees). Taylor’s daughter Nancy helped the the kids identify thunder eggs (the Oregon state stone) and used flashlights to observe different properties of various rocks and minerals.

Living Rock Tour

Throughout the building, Taylor’s wood carvings, paintings, historic photos, and indigenous artifacts are on display. Note: There is a predominate underlying religious theme throughout the experience: “The main exhibit at the Living Rock Studios is a series of pictures made from thin slices of rock and lit from behind. These seven Living Rock Pictures depict biblical stories as Howard B. Taylor envisioned them. When lit from behind, the pictures become glowing illustrations that bring each story to life.”

Where to Stay

Find family-friendly accommodations in BROWNSVILLE, OREGON from traditional hotels to private vacation rentals through Stay22.com:

Tunder Egg

We also managed to find the answer to an earth cache themed geocache on the second floor (you will need to enter the building during normal hours of operation to find the answer required to log the earth cache). At the end of the tour, visitors are welcome to browse through a small gift shop and select from an assortment of rocks and minerals in various states of preservation and display.

Overall, the tour and exploration of The Living Rock studios lasted about an hour (the facility is great for elementary-age kids and up; with rocks, antiques, and a giant spiral staircase, toddlers might be a challenge). To extend a history lesson and learn more about the region’s early settlers, consider driving into downtown Brownsville and visiting the Brownsville Historic Pioneer Museum (aka the Linn County Historical Museum)

Brownsville History Museum

As you might suspect, The Living Rock Studios is featured on Roadside America. Read that story here.

The Living Rock Studios

Location: Halsey-Sweet Home Hwy 228, 911 W. Bishop Way, Brownsville, OR 97327
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Cost: There is no set cost, but a donation of $3 per person is requested. We are unable to accept credit cards at the studios. Cash only please.
Large Groups and Scheduled Tours: Reservations are suggested for groups of 10+. To schedule a tour, call (541) 466-5814.

Happy trails! 

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.