March 28, 2012

Still Standing

Posted in Dismantling the back, Photos, Renovation, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , at 11:01 pm by stonebankblog

… but not for long.

The Stone Bank’s north wall was spared when the back of the bank was dismantled. But its days are numbered.

Last week, our architect and stone mason said it’s just too damaged to repair — and it would get in the way of repairing the foundation. So, it will be going away — soon.

Exposed stone wall at rear of Stone Bank in Bottineau, ND

This stone wall will be taken down at the Stone Bank in Bottineau, ND.

Below is a closeup of the wall that shows how the mortar is letting go, and some of the soot on the stones from some long-ago fire.

Detail of north stone wall in  the Stone Bank

Some stones have voluntarily left the wall. The rest will be removed and saved for possible re-use.

It is  interesting to see how the builders stacked the stones and wedged them together for a good fit. Because this was an inside wall, it doesn’t have the prettiest stones. Even so, it will be sad to see it go.

On the other hand it’s good to see some things go. For example, Touchstones’ 2012 grant request to the State Historical Society left home today. Whew. It is due Friday, and we should hear if we are “chosen” in mid-May. Take a moment and put out some good vibes for the grant. Successful fundraising is critical to begin this year’s work — starting with the north stone wall.


March 27, 2012

Solid as a ROCK!

Posted in Bottineau, History, Main Street, Photos, Updates at 5:09 pm by stonebankblog

Here’s a 1901 ad about the Bottineau County Bank that was placed in “Bottineau Illustrated.” It’s the single best picture of the bank that we have. Isn’t it great to see the bank standing there true and as solid as a rock? The ad’s simple elegance seems designed to convey a sense of solidness and stability.

Your Stone Bank blogger’s guess is that the two chaps on the front steps are two of the guys named in the ad — perhaps the cashier and assistant cashier. (From other research, it appears that they handled the day-to-day operations of the bank.)

Ad for Bottineau County Bank circa 1901

This ad lists the second group of investors who owned and ran the bank.

Last week at the ND State Archives, we found that the bank had more than $722,000 in liabilities when it went under in 1923. Wow. And it took about 20 years for the receiver and his crew to work through all the claims and other issues. The really sad discovery at the Archives was an affadavit  that attests that all the bank’s records were burned when the receivership ended. Drat. And Double Drat. This probably explains why we can’t find much about the bank.

Speaking of money — we could use some donations. We have a few remaining bills from last season’s work, and we’re gearing up to go ahead with our 2012 agenda.

Go to to send an online payment via PayPal. Or drop a check in the mail to 511 Ohmer Street, Bottineau, ND 58318.  Every dollar will help with rebuilding the back. And tell your friends. We could use a few angels to drop some “deposits” our way.

Thanks for joining the push.

March 26, 2012

Gorgeous in 1901 — Still Gorgeous

Posted in Bottineau, History, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , at 1:47 pm by stonebankblog

Here’s a photo of the Stone Bank when it was shiny and new!

OK. We know that this stone doesn’t shine. But we are aglow with pride that we got a digital scan of this photo. It’s the best picture of the Stone Bank that has surfaced, so far.

This picture is from “Bottineau Illustrated,” which was published in 1901, and your Stone Bank blogger trekked to the State Archives in Bismarck, where they have a “rare” copy of the book. This photo is actually from an ad in the promotional booklet.

We only had a photocopy of this image before, and the scan has much better detail. It also shows — what we suspected — that the 20-foot rear section (recently dismantled) was an addition. Our stone mason thinks it was added in the 1930s … and he is getting ready to put it back together again.  It just needs a nip and tuck (and some heavy lifting)  to look good as new.

The Stone Bank was built as Bottineau County Bank

The Stone Bank in 1901. It's a swell building, isn't it? Such good bone structure!

Also at the Archives, there is a box of records from the bank’s closure in 1923. The files holds details how the receiver tried to claw back money “lost” in the bank’s financial collapse. More posts on that are coming soon.

In the meantime, let us bask in finding a great picture of Bottineau County’s FIRST bank and send good vibes to the effort to restore the building and find an adaptive re-use for it.

Did you like this post? Leave us a comment or a “like,” because it makes our day.

For more details on the Stone Bank Project, check out our website at

March 23, 2012

Old Bank with a New ‘Code’

Posted in Bottineau, History, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , at 7:00 pm by stonebankblog

We posted a QR code in three Stone Bank Windows this week — and within minutes we had a “customer.”

Clint Reinoehl of the Bottineau Chamber of Commerce walked across the street, pointed his iPhone at the code and BINGO! He had the Stone Bank’s mobile website on his cellphone.

Clint Reinoehl was the first to scan the Stone Bank's QR code.

“This is awesome,” Clint said.  “Did you see how quick that came up on my phone?”

We’re sure you all know that QR stands for Quick Response and the code connects the physical world to the virtual world. So, now you can virtually visit the Stone Bank.

Here's the Stone Bank mobile website on Clint's iPhone.
We call that rockin'

It’s really a trip to take this more than 110-year-old building from past to present… and into the future.

The Stone Bank totally ROCKS!

March 21, 2012

Between a Rock, and — well, You Know …

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Renovation, Stone Work, Uncategorized, Updates at 11:41 pm by stonebankblog

It was a BIG day at the Stone Bank in Bottineau, N.D.

How big?

Big times THREE.

Our architect, Bobbi Hepper Olson, our general contractor, Fred Kainz, and our stone mason, Joe Whetter, spent the afternoon at the Stone Bank working on a plan to move the project forward.

They assessed, conferred, scratched their heads and assessed some more.

The plan isn’t complete, but they came to a few conclusions, the first of which is this: The “inside” stone wall left in place in dismantling the back of the bank will have to come down, too. It’s crumbling and would hinder fixing the foundation.

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We had hoped that inside stone wall would become an interesting, exposed stone wall in the restored building. But it is not to be. The stones are scorched from some long-ago fire and the mortar holding the wall together is turning back into sand. Sigh.

A more detailed plan from today’s meeting is coming, but this is the first step. It was great to have the pros assess and report. Now we have to find the money to make it happen.

Go to if you want to help. We have a “Donate Now” button ready and waiting.

Never forget — Preservation ROCKS! (And so does the Stone Bank.)

March 20, 2012

Flapper-era photo

Posted in Bottineau, History, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , at 11:37 pm by stonebankblog

Well, well, well. Boop boop a doop!

Here’s a picture of Bottineau’s Main Street in the 1920s (from the look of the cars) — and there is the Stone Bank, snazzy awnings and all — standing proud on the west side of the street. Heck, most of the buildings on Main Street had awnings back then. Interesting. It looks like there is a traffic control device, too. In 2012, the intersection is a four-way stop.

Main Street in Bottineau, ND (1920s)

The Stone Bank has stood strong since before the Model T arrived in Bottineau. The bank is at left in the foreground of this picture.

Our architect looked at the picture a couple days ago and noted that at the time of this photo the building had been “doubled.” Note the second arched window facing Main, without an awning. That building was lost — more on that as we learn more.

Here’s a closeup of the Stone Bank from this photo.

Stone Bank--Bottineau

Closeup of the Stone Bank from a 1920s photo from the online archive of the Institute for Regional Studies at NDSU.

We are always THRILLED to find period photos of the bank. So, if you find any — you know where to send them.  And we are working on fundraising for our 2012 effort to rebuild the back of the building. Join our email list if you want regular updates and a copy of our new brochure — coming soon.

Now let’s all say the Stone Bank slogan: Preservation ROCKS!

Oh, and boop boop a doop!

March 14, 2012

Way Back When?

Posted in Bottineau, History, Main Street, Photos tagged , , , , at 5:08 pm by stonebankblog

Here’s one of the handful of pictures that we have of the Stone Bank — back when it was known as Bottineau County Bank.

It’s on the far left of this postcard, with its distinctive facade and arched windows. The picture is undated (note to self — WRITE THE DATE DOWN), but with the horse-drawn wagon in the background, this postcard probably dates to the early 1900’s.

It does appear in this image that the addition had been added to the north of the original bank’s structure.

Bottineau, ND in the early 1900s

The Stone Bank is at left in this old postcard shot of Main Street. Note the awnings on the buildings and the lack of telephone poles and street lights.

If you’re just joining us, check out this previous post that shows the original building and the “double-wide” addition that came sometime later. We are gathering clues to create a “timeline” of the bank’s history.

This work involves combing through old newspapers and deeds and whatever other documentation we can find. So far, answers have been a bit elusive, but we will keep on looking.

So, give us a shout if you find something we could use. We are always happy to see pictures of the bank building — because they help us “see” the bank’s history.

March 12, 2012

That’s a BIG Rock!

Posted in Bottineau, Life, Photos, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , , , at 11:44 am by stonebankblog

At the StoneBankBlog, we are always interested in “rock” news. And we  are impressed at the news that “the BOULDER” made it to downtown Los Angeles over the weekend. What boulder? “The BOULDER.” 

Artist Michael Heizer is creating an exhibit “Levitated Mass,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and this 340-TON stone is the centerpiece. And the 11-night move from quarry to city was pretty cool.

I give this effort a TRIPLE WOW!

Artist Michael Heizer's giant rock

(REUTERS/Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art/Handout )

Moving the boulder involved the use of a specially designed trailer, and most of the action took place at night and on side roads to avoid traffic, bridges and other issues.

More details on the boulder and the move are in a slideshow on Yahoo:

It cost $10 million dollars to move “the boulder” — and the money came from donors.

Do you feel moved by stone?  We are moving a lot of stone, too, and we could use a financial boost. We aren’t as BIG as the L.A. project, but our effort will feel as big on Bottineau’s Main Street.

It’s easy to donate on our website:

March 8, 2012

Just Down the Block

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Main Street, Photos tagged , , , , at 12:53 am by stonebankblog

Here’s a picture of what is now the Golden Rule clothing store in Bottineau, referred to in a recent post.   It’s another marvelous settlement-era building on Main Street.

If you were to walk in front of the Golden Rule and continue down the street (walking off the left side of this picture), you will find the Stone Bank at the end of the block.

Clothing store and Masonic Temple in Bottineau, ND

Bottineau's Main Street clothier is now "The Golden Rule."

In the past year, the owners of the Golden Rule have done some remodeling and renovation of the building. And reports are that the Masonic Temple on the third floor is pretty amazing.

Bravo! to the effort to keep another great old building going strong on Main Street.

March 6, 2012

Why Are You Doing This?

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Life, Main Street, Photos, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 2:12 pm by stonebankblog

That’s the question the Stone Bank family has been asked again … and again.

Why would seemingly sane people take on a gargantuan task — costly — time-consuming — backbreaking — mind-bending? Why? Indeed.

Here’s your Stone Bank Blogger’s reason: When I was a teenager, my family lived a block from the old Bottineau County Courthouse — a marvelous 1900 structure. Three stories, a tower, wonderful windows. Inside were oak floors, a great staircase and satiny oak woodwork. It was a striking and memorable building.

Then in the 1970s the push was made to replace the building with something new. Something modern. I don’t know all the politics, because I was a mere wisp of a girl then. But in the end, the old building was demolished and a new, low,modern structure replaced it.

Worse yet, they started building the new courthouse behind the old one and then tore down the 1900 building. The result? The new courthouse is oddly situated on its lot. Too much front yard. An uninteresting, charmless, and bland building. Sure, many things inside the new courthouse are probably better than in the old building — but for sheer visual impact and a sense of place the new courthouse is about 100 steps back from its predecessor.

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The “loss” of the old courthouse has bothered me for years. We have lost other interesting structures in Bottineau, but this one was a biggie for me.

So wonder no more — this is the “why” of my work on the Stone Bank Project. (I have heard many of my school chums voice the same regret about the old courthouse.)

We were too young and too inexperienced to do much about it.

But that was then. This is now.

Our goal now is to give the Stone Bank a happier ending.

The Stone Bank — another charming, historic structure, really began to deteriorate over the past few years. And I asked everyone “what is happening here?” That question was mostly met with shrugs and the obligatory, “Gee, someone should do something.”

Yes. SOMEONE SHOULD. And sometimes that SOMEONE is ME or YOU.

How often do we have to mourn the loss of a town’s identity and its landmarks before we step up and say “I can help with that.”

So, in 2011, a handful of friends formed a nonprofit and began to work with the building’s owner to find a solution. In the end, we bought the building and worked like crazy to keep the city from condemning it and tearing it down. To its credit the city did relent and give our project a $20,000 loan to start the renovation project.

But we have a long way to go. The fight goes on. But will be worth the effort?


In the end, we will have a “fine, stone building” even better than the original that will stand another 100 or 200 years. It will stand shining on Main Street for the world to see that we care about our town’s history and its landmarks.

Stone Bank in Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank Project will put this charmer back to use.

And we will know that we did what we could. Because we could. It was our turn. We’re grownups now.

Here’s a quote from the “When I Have Time” blog about this very topic.

… no one will be there to give you permission to act. To try. To succeed. And to fail. No one will take you by the hand and say, “Now it’s time. You’re ready.” No one will be so sure to say, “Don’t worry, you won’t fail.” No one will lay their hand on yours as you click that submit button, as you fill out that form, as you sign up for that chance, as you raise your hand.

Here’s a link to the blog, if you want to read the whole post:

Never forget that we are the world that we create. So get out there and make a difference. And if you want to share your talents with the Stone Bank Project — join us! Our email is

That’s my “why” — what is yours? Leave a comment!

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