Our Story

Millions of years ago giant kelp forests grew in the ocean that covered the land now known as the Pacific Northwest. Over time tons of kelp from the ocean bottom were deposited into a forest canyon on the Oregon coast in southern Tillamook County. When the waters receded, the sea-kelp forest dried up and folded into the mountainsides. There it combined with the minerals of the forest soil and hardened to the consistency of soft rock, blending and preserving the wonderful values of both forest and sea. The resulting thick blue layer of fossilized kelp manufactured by time and uncovered by my ancestors is KelpMineral – Nature’s Gift from the Sea! Learn more about this historic journey to KelpMineral's discovery, below as we continue to discover the innumerable valuable nutrients and medicinal properties of this fossilized mineral. 


In 1888, Hans Brooten, Carey's Great Great Grandfather, had a strange recurring dream. His feet carried him through an emerald arch into a lush tree lined canyon, where he had a vision of sick people coming out of the rocky hillsides, begging for help. The dream was realistic and occurred so often that he sought the advice of a famous seer, or fortune teller. She told him he would locate a mine, not of silver or gold, but even more valuable in a different way.


His dream called him to the west coast and he settled into Pacific City. In 1904, after following repeated signs Hans discovered a mysterious soft, elastic material in a substrate of blue-shell shale. He sent the material to be tested by assayers at Willamette University in Salem, Charlton Laboratories in Portland, and the Pittsburg Testing Laboratory in California. The labs reported that the substance included potash, iodine, and the fossil remains of microorganisms and that the principal ingredient was mineralized kelp from ancient, prehistoric sea forests.


Believing that Kelp Ore, as he called it, had curative properties, Brooten began to experiment. He determined that Kelp Ore worked best if it was exposed to the air, so he only used it after it had been in the sun for five years. He built his first bathhouse in 1905, where he offered steam baths, a mixture of Kelp Ore and water, and Kelp Ore-treated bandages. H.H. Brooten’s Kelp Ore was sold, in both hard and powdered form, through drugstores, and shipped to entrepreneurs in other states for poultices, mud and stream baths, and a liquid mineral concentrate to be added to drinking water.


After expanding his products, the Brooten facilities had expanded as well to include a central bathhouse with fifty-four tubs, a steam-heating plant, cottages for patients, a commissary, a second bathhouse, a clubhouse, and a hotel that was a combination hospital and a sanatorium. Through the 1920s, the Statesman published testimonials from Brooten’s patients, who claimed cures from heart disease, consumption, neuralgia, rheumatism, diabetes, infections, eczema, and bronchitis. As the fame of Kelp Ore grew, the plank road he had built to the resort was not large enough to accommodate the traffic. Brooten financed the new road leading from Hwy 101 into Pacific City, which remains Brooten Road to this day. 


The spa appeared to have a prosperous future, but the boom did not last. Other resorts nearby competed with Brooten Baths through the 1920s, and the spa suffered from expensive legal challenges. By 1926, Brooten’s exclusive Kelp Ore name was in jeopardy. “Beware of imitation Kelp Ore! There is fake ore on the market,” he warned in a 1926 news article. He received a trademark for “Kelp Ore” in 1926, but lost a case against Oregon Kelp Ore Products in 1928 that said that “Kelp Ore” was a generic term. In 1929, he lost a case in the Oregon Supreme Court, Kelp Ore Remedies Corp. v. Brooten, in which he sought to break a contract with a commercial buyer. The economic pressures of the Depression slowed the flow of patients, but Brooten continued to treat people until shortly before his death on July 19, 1933. Family members operated the resort until it closed in the 1940s. While the Brooten Baths is gone, the Brooten family home has been restored and is a private residence.


In 2014, Hans Brootens' great great granddaughter Carey, started having a reoccurring dream. Again, it was so persistent that she felt called to return to the west coast and reconnect with her cousin in Cloverdale where she studied and ultimately re-discovered the KelpMineral mine. She then started working with Hartwick College in New York and Oregon State University to investigate the properties of the mineral. In a serendipitous twist of events, Markus Kleber, a tenured scientist at OSU noted it's "not gold, not silver, but something incredibly valuable in a new way." In 2023, Carey started the official LLC for KelpMineral, paired with a fresh new look that pays homage to her ancestor's first vision. She continues to connect with her customers deeply, sharing the original Brooten passion for healing the world.