Once filled with mining activity, Rimini is mostly quiet now,
inhabited by a just a few full time residents, and a number of people who
flock to the area in the summer months, many of whom make their homes in
restored minerís cabins.
Sitting in the narrow Ten Mile Creek Valley
between Red Mountain to the east and Lee Mountain to the West, the mining
district got its start when silver lode mining began in 1864.
The town and the mining district were named for Francesca da
Rimini, a character in the opera Dante's Inferno,
which was popular in nearby Helena at the time.
Though the mining district, which would
eventually support more than 100 mines and is one of the
oldest mining districts in
Montana, was most often referred to
as Rimini, it also went by other names including, Lewis
and Clark, Tenmile, Vaughn, Colorado, and Bear Gulch.
Mountain Lode was first discovered in 1864 and the Eureka Mine
in 1865, followed by numerous others. However, transporting
the ore was difficult, so the district wouldnít boom until
1885, when a Northern Pacific spur line was constructed to the
district. At that time, a number of new mines were developed,
with the most productive being the East Pacific, Lady
Washington, John McGraw, Eureka and Porphery Dike.
1890, Rimini was called home to about 300 people and included
several hotels and
stores; a school; saloons, gambling houses and pool halls;
livery stable; physicianís office; church; several boarding
houses; and a sawmill. By the following year, the
district was shipping some 400 tons of ore per
week to the smelter at Wickes.
Like other mining camps, the boom was not to last and with the
repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act in 1893 and the
resulting low silver prices, many of the miners moved away. By
1898, only the Porphyry Dike Mine was working with any
a the construction of a smelter in East Helena, the town was
somewhat revived by the turn of the century. Over the next few
decades several of the mines and the abundant tailings were
intermittently worked, but Rimini was dying. By 1920, the town
boasted only 20 residents. The Porphyry Dike Mine which
survived the silver panic because it was primarily a gold
mine, continued to work until 1926, when it was closed by a
lawsuit because its mill tailings were polluting the Helena
By 1928 the district reportedly
produced up to $7,000,000 in various ores, including silver,
lead, zinc, copper, and gold, most of which occurred prior to
the turn of the century.
has a growing population of year-round residents and many
summer people who utilize both new and old buildings as
retreats. The town continues to display a number of historic
buildings, some which have been preserved or restored, while
others look much as they did decades ago. Some of these
include Rose Wilsonís store, the Red Mountain Tavern, an old
livery-garage, and the restored 1904 Rimini School-Community
Center, which is listed in the National Register of Historic
Rimini is located about 12 miles
west of Helena just off Highway 12. Turn south on Rimini Road
to reach the old town site.
Helena National Forest
Helena Ranger District
2001 Poplar St.
of America, 2008. Updated February, 2010.