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



  1. Mark J said,

    You maybe have written this before – but where did the stone itself come from, where was it quarried?

  2. tuxedofiles said,

    Let me see if I understand. This is a photogravure of the original photo? You don’t have the original photo, I’m guessing. Was there any info identifying the two gentlemen at the door?

    I love this information. We think of this era as an information-packed time when people are finally able to live life to the fullest, but when you do dig into the past, it’s amazing how full life was back then.

    • You are right! We do NOT have the original photo. But the State Archives has an original copy of the booklet where the picture was used in an ad. For a small price, the Archives made a digital scan of that photo for us.
      Really, wouldn’t it be great if we knew the IDs of those swells standing on the front steps?
      I will post the full ad next, and my guess is that those are two of the men named in the ad.
      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Hi, Mark J;
    We don’t know for certain, but we believe the Stone Bank is built from rocks carried to ND by glaciers. There is an academic paper online about the Coghlan Castle in St. John, ND, that describes the stone used to construct that marvelous structure (also being restored).
    Here’s the link to that article:
    Because the Stone Bank and Coghlan Castle are only about 45 miles apart and the stones are remarkably similar, I believe our stone is the same type of glacial rock. The paper says it was carried from northern Manitoba. And what is a fact is that ND’s Turtle Mountains are a glacial deposit.
    Thanks for asking!

    • Mark J said,

      Thanks for the info – now I can see that better by looking at some of the “current” photos. One fine detail that I can see in this scanned image is that the mortar used on the field stone is very light (it really stands out). However, where the reddish stone at the corner and arches uses a mortar that must have been colored to match or blend with that stone. I wonder if that particular stone was quarried somewhere since it’s pretty uniform. It looks like that as tuckpointing was done in the more recent past, that standard gray was used everywhere. Ah, the details!

  4. You have a good eye! The red sandstone trim on the Stone Bank is NOT from North Dakota. Our stone mason thinks it came from a quarry “out East” and arrived by train in ND. Our architect, who visited the Stone Bank last week, marveled at the excellent craftsmanship on the bank’s alterations. She said that if she hadn’t seen the photos that she would think the addition was “original.” And our stone mason is a pro — we are sure it will look “original” when the back section is rebuilt!

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