The ghost town of Rimini was known by several other names and these were Bear Gulch, Lewis and Clark, Colorado, Tenmile and Vaughn. This is where Camp Rimini was situated and was where dogs used in WWII were trained. The town came into being when silver lodes were discovered in the area. The name Rimini is believed to have been borrowed from the Italian city of Rimini or one Francesca da Rimini.
The Army’s K-9 Corps was under the Quartermaster Corps who also ran Camp Rimini that trained 268 park dogs and 263 sled dogs for use in WWII as war dogs, from 1942 to 1944. Located on Tenmile Creek with Red Mountain on the east and Lee Mountain to the west, the town of Rimini is also believed to be the oldest lead-zinc camp within Montana.
A number of mines were developed here in the 1880s including the Lee Mountain Lode which was established in 1864 while the Eureka Mine was set up the year that followed. Of all the mines operating within Rimini City, those that were most profitable were the Porphery Dike, East Pacific, Eureka, Lady Washington, and John McGraw.
However, within the same period, mining activities were at a slow pace and this continued until 1885 when the Northern Pacific spurline was set up accessing the town of Rimini. This is what enhanced activities in the town that had open mines as deep as 500ft and 600ft. Lee Mountain was one of the deepest and more than $1.5 million was produced from this particular mine.
The other mine that was also profitable at a depth of 325 ft was the Valley Forge that produced a total of $200,000. By 1890, Rimini had hit its peak with a sawmill, saloons, a number of stores and hotels, a church, a number of houses for boarding, a school, livery stable, gambling houses and pool halls, as well as a physician’s office in place.
The population of the town by that time was 300 individuals. In 1891, 400 tons of ore were shipped on a weekly basis with most of it being sent to a smelter situated at Wickes. Susie mine was the other mine within this locality from where lead, gold and silver were mined. Today, it has a high concentration of acidic drainage, which contains heavy metals and arsenic. As a result, it causes heavy metal contamination in the streams flowing into the sources of water used in Helena, Montana.
On the southwest of Helena, you will find the Upper Tenmile Creek Mining Area that saw mining activities begin here before 1870 and continued up to the 1920s. Copper, gold, zinc and lead were mined from this area and today, it is the location of several hard-rock mine sites that were the center of activities here formerly. Since the early 1930s there is hardly any activity that has taken place here.
The drainage basin of Tenmile Creek upstream of the Helena water treatment plant is located within this region too and has tributaries supplying water to the five intake pipelines serving the plant. Within the watershed boundary, 150 mine sites have since been located by EPA and 70 of these have been ear marked for cleanup. Otherwise, Rimini remains a ghost town.