The town of Pabrade is located on a confluence of two rivers – Zeimena and Dubinga. When in the 15th century the town was first mentioned in historical sources, there were no bridges and so the locals had to wade their way across the rivers. It is though that the name of Pabrade originated from the Lithuanian word for wade, brada.
For a long while the settlement belonged to various dignitary families such as Nosilovskiai, Radvilos, Tyzenhauzai, Tiskeviciai. Until the 19th century Pabrade was a very small town by the road joining Vilnius and Daugavpils. It then had a tavern that is still there today. The settlement began to grow in the second half of the 19th century when a railroad between Warsaw and St. Petersburg was built.
In 1927 the former orthodox church was converted into the catholic church of Saint Joseph (of neo-Byzantine architecture).
In 1939, as a consequence of the deal between the Soviet Union and Germany, Lithuania was forced to accommodate a soviet military base that was based on the edge of Pabrade. On 15 June 1940 this location acted as the base for the occupational forces.
In September 1957 an elementary school was opened that was reorganised into a secondary school in 1959. In 1963 a House of Culture and a Russian-Polish secondary school was opened. The House of Culture hosted a town library and a music school.After regaining independence in 1990 Lithuania had to cope with an increasing numbers of illegal immigrants. In order to cope with this problem, a centre for immigration issues (Uzsieniecių registracijos centras) was founded and is currently located in Pabrade.