Part of what makes the Brownell Homestead Inn so special is the history of the house, as well as the impact the Brownell name has had in the city of Seward.

Don Carlos Brownell Sr. was born in Farmington, Utah in 1853. Upon moving to Seward in 1903, he became one of the city’s first businessmen when he bought the first lot to be sold in Seward on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Washington Street: this spot, which is currently the home of Seward’s iconic Yukon Bar, was originally the site of D.C. Brownell Hardware. This wasn’t Brownell’s only property in Seward: in 1904, he would go on to build his home which was known as the Brownell Homestead.

Brownell’s son, Don Carlos Brownell Jr., was also a key figure in the history of not just Seward but Alaska as a whole. He served as Seward’s mayor during the 1930s and was a Senator in the Alaska legislature in the 1940s. There, he was one of the major sponsors of the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 which was a landmark bill in support of rights for the indigenous people of Alaska. On top of all of that he was a silent film actor, and his love of the arts led him to open the Liberty Theater, which stayed open in Seward until November 2013.

The Brownells also opened up their home to eclectic artist Rockwell Kent, who found great inspiration the rugged landscape of Seward and the surrounding areas in 1918 and 1919. He would create some of his best work in Alaska.

The Brownell Homestead Inn also has another more recent claim to fame. The film Sugar Mountain was filmed in Seward in 2014, and much of it was shot inside the Brownell Homestead Inn. The film stars Cary Elwes and Jason Momoa.