Stand By Me: Brownsville

Last year I wrote about the local, Cottage Grove filming locations for the movie Stand By Me. These locations are along the Row River Trail, which we visit often to ride our bikes or walk our dogs. Every time I watch the movie, it is fun to see places that are a regular part of our lives.

For those not familiar with Stand By Me, it is a classic coming of age story set in 1959. Directed by Rob Reiner, it starred four child actors who were unknown at the time – Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell. The movie was filmed in the summer of 1985, primarily in the town of Brownsville which became the fictitious town of Castle Rock, as well as along an old set of railroad tracks outside of Cottage Grove which have since become the Row River Trail. Scenes were also filmed in other locations around Linn and Lane Counties, including Eugene and Junction City.

Stand-By-Me-Brownsville

Coming into Brownsville, now, and in the movie Stand By Me*.

 

Earlier this year, I became infatuated with Stand By Me. I did some online research, watched it a couple different times – once with the director’s narrative – and finally took the 50 mile trek to Brownsville to see their local filming locations in person. As a bonus, I got to meet and talk with their local Stand By Me expert.

It is no secret, I was charmed by historic Brownsville and the friendly people I met there. It doesn’t seem like much has changed in Brownsville over the past century and for Stand By Me fans, that means that the filming locations are immediately recognizable.

Can you image the boys' tree fort still set within this oak tree?

Can you image the boys’ tree fort in this oak tree?

On my visit, I was transported back to Castle Rock just driving over the bridge into town and the city streets look like they did when Wil Wheaton (as Gordie) ambled through them at the beginning of the movie. Even the old oak tree, where the boys’ fort was located, is still there.

If you want to see the Brownsville filming locations for yourself, an easy-to-use walking map is available online or can be picked up from the Linn County History Museum (located at 101 Park Avenue in Brownsville). Almost all of the locations are easily accessible on foot by starting on North Main Street.

Important events for Stand By Me fans, or anyone who wants to become familiar with the movie, are July 23 when Brownsville holds their annual Stand By Me Day celebration, and August 5, 2014 when the Village Green Resort here in Cottage Grove, shows Stand By Me on an outdoor film screen.

* Scenes from Stand by Me are owned by Columbia Pictures.

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Comments

  1. Mel McGuire says:

    I watched Stand By Me again last night; great to be reminded. The boys gave remarkable performances and the old music was wonderful. I think the most memorable part of it for me is when grownup Gordie said that Chris Chambers became a lawyer even though one might think he had little chance: that kind of thing happens and it’s great to see it recognized on the screen.

    Do you know where the long bridge the boys got caught on is/was? I don’t recognized it.

    • The long bridge that they boy ran down as well as the water tower were both filmed in northern California. If you watch the type of trees in the background, you can see the shift between the scenes filmed along a railroad in California with those filmed around Cottage Grove.

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