Brooklyn Mine (Dale Mining District)

The Brooklyn Gold Mine is located within an isolated canyon in the Pinto Mountains, it operated within the boundaries of the Dale Mining District, the earliest of the two districts in the Pinto Mountains.  The Brooklyn Mine was founded in the late 1800’s, and began operating under H. B. Botsford. In 1899 it was reported that he was driving a 300-foot tunnel, with a shaft of 112-feet. Later that year the mine exchanged hands,  purchased by the Brooklyn Mining Company.

The Brooklyn Mine included 14 additional claims, including the neighboring Los Angeles Mine. A mill was built in 1900, with water hauled for its operation from Cottonwood Springs, some 20-miles away. It was said that the Brooklyn produced the “highest grade ore in camp.” I would assume that “camp” refers to the other claims, making up the group of claims.

In December of 1909, it was reported in the Los Angeles Herald that the Brooklyn Mine was being sold to J.A. Mullen for $150,000.  Half of which was to paid upon the signing of the agreement, with the other half to be paid within 6-months. This deal apparently fell through, the Brooklyn Mining Company continued to operate the Brooklyn claims through 1916.

July of 1910, the Imperial Valley Press reported that a “force of men” were working at the 800-foot level, with a considerable amount of ore waiting to be processed at the eight-stamp mill.

Like many of the mines in the Dale Mining District, the history of these mines is considerably difficult to trace. One article from the July 30th, 1914 edition of the Los Angeles Herald managed to grab my attention:

“Miner Killed in Collapse of Shaft”

SAN BERNARDINO, July 30.— Chas. E. Goering, a miner, was killed and others reported injured in the collapse of a drift in the Brooklyn mine at Dale. Coroner E. P. Fuller left today for the scene. Goering was crushed to death under hundreds of tons of rock, and other miners narrowly escaped being imprisoned in the mine and suffocated. Goering’s family lives at Redlands.

After 1916, the history of the Brooklyn Mine disappears, however there are reports of the mine being working into the 1930’s. To what extent is not known.

 

The stone cabin at the Brooklyn Mine.

The stone cabin at the Brooklyn Mine.

 

Inside the cabin.

Inside the cabin.

 

The cozy front porch.

The cozy front porch.

 

Bob Duncan in his 2010 report on the Dale Mining District indicates, “The Brooklyn vein was developed by a tunnel which was driven northwest 550 feet, with a winze sunk to a depth of 200 feet, which is located about 300 feet from the entrance to the tunnel. Drifting in the winze was done at the 60 foot, 110 foot, 160 foot, and 200 foot levels, developing ore shoots 200 foot in length. Total production was $142,035.”

Today at the Brooklyn mine there is significant evidence of the by-gone mining era. One fully intact stone building sits within the picturesque canyon. Travelers have adopted it, filling it with tables, chairs, and assortment of cookware, making it a comfy place to stay for a day, or even a week. A handful of crumbling stone structures sit nearby as a testament to a time when the canyon was teeming with miners buzzing about.  Further up canyon are remnants of the old mill. Stone walls, and tanks made of wood are filled with potentially toxic slurry from the milling process.  I’m pretty sure that these holding tanks would not meet today’s EPA requirements.

In a district that has seen much of its history collected by metal scrapers, the Brooklyn Mine is still a destination worth seeking out.

 

Crumbling stone building ruins.

Crumbling stone building ruins.

 

Anyone need a bed frame?

Anyone need a bed frame?

 

More building ruins.

More building ruins.

 

The crumbling mill site.

The crumbling mill site.

 

Slurry from the milling process is stored in wood tanks.

Slurry from the milling process is stored in wood tanks.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

1 Comment

  • Am I somehow odd in that I love to see the images and learn the histories of old historical places? Jim, you give us a glimpse of how people followed their dreams and were willing to labor hard to make them come true. In the end, as people left for other pursuits, they probably took a last look back. Some glad to put it behind them, some glad to have had the opportunity to learn, and some wishing it had become the basis for a long lasting community in a land they had grown to love. Thanks.

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