Brownsville was an early lumber camp, run to supply lumber for mines, lumber for buildings, and fuel for boilers. As early as 1880 some 400 men were employed at Brownsville. This number undoubtedly increased when the narrow gauge Black Hills & Fort Pierre Railroad came to town. In 1883, a disastrous fire destroyed the saw mill northeast of town killing eleven men. The town never recovered. Today, Brownsville is a gas station, store, and tavern about 6 1/2 miles south of Pluma on US 385. There are some deserted ruins, which can be seen when passing through.