Basin was a prosperous mining community in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The mines in and around Basin produced a variety of metals including gold, zinc, silver, copper and lead. By the early 1900s Basin had two smelters to process local ore and it had become the commercial center of a larger mining district. Comet Montana was one of several smaller towns and mining camps in the area. At it's height Basin had over a thousand residents. Mining activity dwindled to almost nothing in the second half of the 1900s and both of Basin's smelters closed. There is very little left of the smelter on the east side of Basin. The ruins of the Glass Brothers smelter on the west side of Basin are still visible (pictured below). The area around Basin has two EPA designated Superfund sites - both are abandoned mines. Basin's population in 2010 was 212.
Basin is alongside interstate 15 but is not well developed for tourists. There are a couple of stores and a restaurant in downtown Basin but little else for casual visitors. Basin does have two radon health mines. At these mines, guests expose themselves to naturally occurring, radioactive radon gas in the hopes of treating pain from arthritis and other ailments. The Merry Widow Health Mine and the Sunshine Health Mine operate out of previously abandoned mines. Visitors are charged $5 per hour to expose themselves to radiation underground and drink the mine's water. Cabins, apartments or RV campgrounds accommodate visitors while they receive their repeated exposure "treatments" which last for a week or so.
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