April 3, 2017
Let’s face it. WE are living in historic times! It was a winter of historic snowfall in Bottineau, but our friend Spring is finally pushing the snow into memory. It’s time to seize the moment and get back to the important work of enclosing the Stone Bank.
Of course, it’s always about the bottom line. That’s the challenge. And we are asking our classmates in the BHS Class of ’72 to lead the way. How? It’s easy.
We are challenging each member of the Class of ’72 to donate $100 to restoring the Stone Bank. We have lost five classmates far too young, and it would be marvelous if each of us donated in memory of those friends as well.
Those $100 donations would bring $7,000 to a project that really needs a financial shot in the arm. Together, we can give the project a boost and inspire giving from others with ties to Bottineau.
Why the class of ’72? Good question. Well, two of your classmates have been doing the heavy lifting on this restoration project. Joe Whetter, is a stone mason and an amazing advocate and partner on this project. I (Sharon Kessler) founded a nonprofit, have coordinated fundraising and planning to advance the project since 2011.
Or you can send a check: Touchstones, Inc., PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318
The time is now. We can’t do this alone. We need to make progress on the building in 2017 to keep the structure from deteriorating. It has been open to the elements for a couple of years. We need to show community participation and interest to generate grants — so your contribution really does make a difference. In total, we need to raise $58,000 to enclose the structure. Can you help?
Frankly, we are at a point in life, where many of us are thinking about legacy — the difference we made in the world. The good we will leave behind. This is a great chance for you to help preserve a piece of Bottineau history and make it useful for future generations of those who will call Bottineau home. Your $100 gift added to those of other classmates really will make a difference.
Please make a gift today, so we can move forward with restoring this community treasure. Let’s get this done, together.
Joe Whetter and Sharon Kessler, BHS Class of ’72
We would love to hear from you. Please send a note, your ideas and memories of Bottineau for the blog to firstname.lastname@example.org. Guest blog entries are also welcome.
November 17, 2016
Today is Give to the Max Day, which is an initiative started by GiveMN, an offshoot of Minnesota Community Foundation. And here we are, a couple residing in Wisconsin most of the year, asking people from Minnesota and beyond to make donations to a nonprofit restoration project in remote Bottineau, North Dakota.
Why, considering all of the other nonprofits with great causes closer to home, should you make a contribution to the Stone Bank Project today?
Maybe because we need it more than most. Maybe because you’re a supportive friend. Or maybe because you realize that they’re not hand-building Main Street anchors out of millennial-old stone boulders anymore. If this project fails and they tear down this landmark, we all lose a part of our pioneer history that is unrecoverable, unique and yet universal.
The State Historical Society of North Dakota has recognized this with a $20,000 grant to the Stone Bank Project that must be matched, dollar for dollar, by April 15. That’s where you come in. Every dollar you contribute to the Stone Bank on Give to the Max Day or any day goes directly toward matching that grant and, ultimately, paying for the $58,000 worth of work our contractors will do to enclose the back quarter of the Stone Bank building.
As you can see in the slide show on our fresh new home page, StoneBank.org, we have raised the funds to excavate a basement foundation, install a heated concrete floor and raise concrete-block support walls. The materials for the first floor decking are here. Now we need to fund their installation, the raising of the support walls to the roof and the extension of the insulated membrane roof already on the front three-quarters of the building.(Much of this work can proceed now — if we can pay the contractors. So give today.)
We are so close to getting this done. The only thing we need is a financial boost to pay for the labor and materials. And we really need to enclose the building, which as been partially open to the elements for a couple of years. That exposure takes a toll — so in 2016 your support is critical.(We pay no salaries, all donations go directly to project costs.)
Please include the Stone Bank in your Give to the Max contributions today and beyond. (And if the Give to the Max site is down or too slow, please use our gofundme page — or send us a good old-fashioned check, made out to our nonprofit, Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.) Thank you!
Sharon and Mike
November 12, 2015
Today is “Give to the Max Day,” which means it’s the day when people all over the Midwest are digging deep into their heart — and budget — to donate as much as they can to the charitable causes that mean the most to them.
We hope the Stone Bank Project will be one of those causes for each of you reading this. Please make a donation today on the Stone Bank Give to the Max page by clicking on the logo or this link.
Not only is your deduction 100% tax deductible (because we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization), but 100% of it will be matched by our new $20,000 grant from the State Historical Society of North Dakota — and 100% of it will help pay for enclosure of our new Stone Bank basement before winter sets in. PLUS, we will enter your name in our Nov. 28 raffle for the beautiful homemade quilt you see here.
So please donate now, before “Give to the Max Day” ends — and we all turn into frozen pumpkins 😉
September 7, 2015
Let’s hear it for the working man… and woman. We hope you are taking a break and enjoying the day.
This Labor Day, we are especially grateful for our Stone Bank team. They are doing the heavy lifting to help bring this historic building back to life.
They are ready to get back to work, but we need the money to pay for their time and effort.
Every donation to our 501(c)(3) goes directly to materials and labor. Your donation will make a difference. Please make one today.
Or just help us move the project forward with a contribution to the project. Links for online giving are in the right column, or you can mail a check to: Touchstones, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.
If you need a “Dedicate a Stone” form, we will send you one.
We are very thankful for the resourcefulness and tenacity of our contractors. They give us a lot and we want them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Please make a donation today to honor their work to finish enclosing the building.
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!
August 31, 2015
Mohall? Hmm. Could it be a generous donor who wants to help our project?
Caller: Is this the Stone Bank?
Caller: Do you cash checks?
SB: (Thoughtful pause). Well, we take checks as contributions, but we are not a bank. We are restoring a historic bank building.
Caller: So, you don’t cash checks?
Caller: Do you know where I could cash a check?
Well, of course, I offered a couple of suggestions. We always try to be helpful at the Stone Bank.
We are NOT a bank, but we are restoring Bottineau’s first bank.
Now we need your help to pay our contractors and put the building back together again.
We will take your check (donations only) at Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.
Any amount will help. It all goes directly to the restoration project to match our grants and pay our contractors.
We need to enclose the back of the building in 2015. Your gift will mean a lot and it is tax deductible.
August 3, 2015
This year’s progress on the Stone Bank project is encouraging, and the restoration work might merit even larger matching grants in the near future, State Historical Society Architectural Historian Lorna Meidinger said today in Bottineau.
“It sure looks different now. You just keep making progress,” Meidinger said today, nearly three years after her last site visit to the Stone Bank project. “Not every (restoration) project keeps going. People get anxious and discouraged.”
Meidinger said she was happy to see that the Stone Bank project is now well into its construction phase, not just destruction any longer. She climbed down onto the basement’s new concrete floor with embedded heating coils and inspected the concrete block walls that will support the stone facade. She agreed it will be crucial to build the rest of the concrete walls and extend the new roof over the back 29 feet of the building before the snow flies this year.
Meidinger also toured the interior of the original 1900 structure and agreed that it would be relatively easy to take down the partition walls and open the space for a bright and airy cafe or meeting rooms. The architectural historian gave her approval to all of the scraping, priming and painting of Stone Bank window frames that a group of 12 visiting Fulbright Scholars did last summer.
“Volunteers aren’t always that careful with their work,” she said.
More help could be on the way from Bismarck, Meidinger said, noting that she and others are pushing for the State Historical Society of North Dakota to raise its $20,000 ceiling for annual matching grants. The Stone Bank project has already garnered two $20,000 grants and one $15,000 grant from the SHSND, but all grants from the state must be matched with donations of money or labor from the community.
Currently, the need for private donations is urgent, because if we can’t afford to finish the block walls and back roof before winter, ice will start to damage the basement walls and flooring already installed this year. So please send your tax-deductible contributions to P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, N.D. 58318 or use the PayPal or Razoo links to the right to put it on your credit card.
August 1, 2015
July 22, 2015
There you go! We have a fresh concrete floor in the Stone Bank’s basement.
This is the room where there were two heating fuel tanks for the building’s old boiler and the floor was dirty, crumbling concrete.
In the lower right of the photo above, the black circular object is the top of our recently installed sewage lift pump. PROGRESS x 2.
Here is the in-floor heating in the part of the building that we took down and are putting back together. A concrete floor will be poured over the heat elements. In-floor heat! Pretty cool update for an old building in a cold climate.
Now, the back 20-feet of the building has nice deep footings to support the weight of a stone-clad structure. When our nonprofit purchased the Stone Bank in 2011, the back section of the building had only a crawl space — and the back wall of the building was sinking, because it was resting on footings that were much too shallow.
When complete, the back of the Stone Bank will look much the same as it did when we started the project, but it will have a much sturdier foundation, a handicap entrance and two handicap-accessible restrooms.
That’s the way you take a building from 1900 into 2015 — and beyond.
Do you want to be part of the Stone Bank project? We always welcome volunteers, but right now, we really need donations to keep the ball — or stone — rolling on enclosing the back of the building.
Your donations will help us match a generous $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of ND. We also accept online gifts with PayPal and Razoo. The links are in the sidebar.
As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. Please, share this post with your friends and family!
July 21, 2015
We’ve got the right contractor, the best stone mason and a willing plumber.
What we need now is YOU.
Your donation will help us pay our contractors and provide the financial spark we need to reach our goal of enclosing the back 20 feet of the Stone Bank this year.
Can you help? Here’s a newspaper insert we shared last week in our two local papers. If you don’t subscribe, we didn’t want you to feel left out. So here it is.
Send your check today or follow the links on this page to Razoo or PayPal to make an online donations. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your gift is tax deductible.
We can’t do it without you.
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!
July 16, 2015
Our Stone Bank contractors have been working hard to finish work in the basement — breaking up and hauling out the old concrete floor and creating a base for a new floor.
After the crew broke up the old concrete, they hauled it into the new section of the basement where the rubble was taken away by backhoe.
Strong backs built the Stone Bank 115 years ago — and we have some strong backs and heavy equipment putting the back of the building together again. We took apart 20 feet of the building to put a foundation under it. (Don’t worry. We saved the stone and will put it up again.) This photo shows the new section of the basment. (Photos courtesy Scott Wagar)
Make no mistake. This was a tough job. We appreciate our contractors and their crews — because they are doing the hard part of making the building whole again.
The result of all that hard work? A nice, smooth surface that will soon be a concrete basement floor. Notice the handsome stone walls in the basement. Built by immigrant craftsmen between July and December 1900.
Check back here soon to see more progress on our restoration project.
Want to be part of the action? We have some volunteer opportunities, but mosly we need donations. We must pay our contractors for all their heavy lifting — and for that we need cash. Any amount is welcome and all donations go directly into the restoration project.
You don’t have to put out your back to do your part to save this historic building. Just pick up a pen and send a check today to Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318. PayPal and Razoo online payment sites are linked in the sidebar.
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your gift is tax deductible.
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!