May 20, 2012

Old Meets New at the Corner of Adaptive and Reuse

Posted in History, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , at 3:12 pm by stonebankblog

The term “adaptive reuse” is kind of flat, isn’t it? Those two words are pretty much yawn-inducing. Ho-hum.

EXCEPT when you see adaptive reuse done well — really well. Then it can be smile-inducing and, well,  inspiring.

Case in point: the San Pedro Cafe in Hudson, Wis. It was once a bank building, with a small footprint and lovely arched windows. Now? It’s a hip, stylish and inviting casual cafe with fantastic food.

The renovation mixed elements of the old interior (think pressed tin ceiling tiles and an exposed brick wall) with contemporary styling, a funky color scheme and eclectic decor to create a great space.

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San Pedro’s secret for serving a crowd from that tiny kitchen is that there is another prep kitchen in the basement.

Clever. And a great and thoughtful use of the space that is no larger than our own Stone Bank.


So, let’s lift a glass and toast this successful adaptive reuse. Not so boring now, eh? In fact, San Pedro is a beacon of the possible in restoring an old structure and giving it a vibrant new life.

Here’s a link to the San Pedro’s website for directions and other info.

We’re working on our own adaptive reuse at the Stone Bank. Now that you’ve seen what’s possible, we hope you’re inspired to help us meet our $40,000 fundraising goal this year. We have a PayPal link in the right sidebar for your convenience.

Give us a like or tell us if you’re already a fan of  San Pedro.


May 13, 2012

A Rockin’ Journey

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:27 pm by stonebankblog

Smooth stones on gorgeous beaches. Jagged stones in pastures. Stone buildings. Stone steps. You name it. Ireland has it in stone. And a walk around the Dingle Peninsula offers Ireland’s trump card.

We couldn’t help ourselves. We picked up small stones along the trail, filled our pockets as we walked, and stopped a couple times each day — on the beach, on the mountain, in pastures — to leave a little stone marker for the next hikers. With our tiny stone cairns we left a little love along the Dingle Way.

This post is for everyone who loves stone, and it’s a birthday present for Trish (of the pink rain jacket), who kept us laughing until our sides hurt — and who had to surrender her special stones at the airport. Sigh.

Time for a slideshow!

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Do you have a favorite stone place or stone memory? We’d love to hear about it.

Time marches on, but stone is really forever. Sadly, this marks the end of our Ireland Appreciation Week on the Stone Bank Blog.

Rock on!

May 6, 2012

Stone Cold Marvelous

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , at 9:12 pm by stonebankblog

PayPal Donate Now link

501(c)(3) tax-deductible

We interrupt “Ireland Week” for a wonderful announcement! The Stone Bank Project has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the State Historical Society of North Dakota to continue restoring the building! Woo Hoooooooooooooooooooo!

We couldn’t be happier, because this puts us on the road to making serious progress on restoring this landmark 1890s building. Our current plan is to fix the foundation under the 20-foot section that was dismantled last fall and then to begin rebuilding the back of the building.

When complete, the Stone Bank will look almost exactly like it did — but it will have a firm foundation, a new roof and much better posture. (Something we should all aim for!)

This section of the Stone Bank will be rebuilt over a nice, strong foundation.

The back 20 feet of the Stone Bank was dismantled in late 2011 and early 2012 because of structural concerns. With the help of this grant the work to rebuild it can continue

Perhaps you have noticed the “Donate” button on this post. Yep. We need to match that grant with local monies — and that will take your help. Using the PayPal link allows you to send money from a credit card or your bank account. And your donation is tax deductible.

Or you can sent us a check the old-fashioned way. Our mailing address: Touchstones, Inc.,  511 Ohmer St., Bottineau, ND 58318.  (We’ll send you a receipt.)

Our fundraising goal for 2012 is $60,000. This grant award gives us a HUGE leg up. Can you help? We are proud and happy  to receive donations of any amount. Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

The sun shines on the Stone Bank restoration in Bottineau, ND.

The Stone Bank in profile. At the far left of this photo, the scaffold stands during the dismantling project. Now, we focus of rebuilding.

Now we return to the fun and frivolity of Ireland Week. ROCK ON!

And thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

May 5, 2012

Pie and a Sleeping Giant

Posted in Life, Photos, Stone Work tagged , , , at 8:24 pm by stonebankblog

We’re all about stones at the Stone Bank, thus we have a profound appreciation of all rocks — especially Ireland’s.

So Ireland Week continues with a look at the Sleeping Giant near Dun Chaoin (pronounced Dunquin) — off Ireland’s west coast. (They say after Dun Chaoin the next stop is Boston.)

Sleeping Giant is one of the Blasket Islands

The Sleeping Giant is one of the Blasket Islands. The giant floats in profile with his (her?) head at the right in the picture.

Talk about an impressive rock!  It’s an amazing, mesmerizing sight and one of the highlights of  walking along this section of the breathtakingly gorgeous coast.

Here’s a link to more information about the Dingle Peninsula and Dun Chaion in particular (their site  has a picture of the giant on a clear day). It’s a very special slice of the rocky world. Wait. It’s a special slice of the rocky world with Bird’s Custard on top.

Speaking of Bird’s Custard, here’s a picture of a fabulous piece of deep-dish apple pie with warm Bird’s Custard. (Something else not to miss in Ireland.)

Apple pie in Ireland. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Our slogan at the Stone Bank is “Preservation Rocks!”  We can easily extend that to Ireland Rocks! Or, Ireland’s Rocks Rock.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog. We’re restoring an 1890s stone bank building in Bottineau, ND. Watch for more posts on Ireland’s Rocks over the next few days. Rock on!

May 4, 2012

Dingle Barn

Posted in Life, Photos, Stone Work tagged , , , at 11:23 pm by stonebankblog

Dingle Barn

This charming stone barn was so pretty it demanded a pause and a photo along the Dingle Way.

Ireland! The home of marvelous stone EVERYTHING!

Stone walls. Stone houses. Standing stones. Reclining Giant stones. Fabulous stone-strewn beaches.

If you like stone — this is another destination for your bucket list.

In the next few days, we will post some “stone photos” from a recent hike around the Dingle Peninsula.

Where have you traveled and found great stones? Maybe we’ll add it to our bucket list.


May 1, 2012

Mmmm. Stone Soup!

Posted in History, Life, Updates at 6:30 pm by stonebankblog

As you probably know, the Stone Bank Blog is not only about the Stone Bank –but  “all things stone.”

The legend of Stone Soup is all about sharing.

So, let’s talk about Stone Soup.

Like your Stone Bank blogger, you’re probably wondering “Is there really a recipe for that?”

A recipe? How about hundreds of recipes? And a parable.

The recipes call for adding a clean stone or two to the broth. And the parable appeals to our better nature.


Here’s one version of the story from

“Once upon a time in the Middle Ages, there was great famine in which the peasants jealously hoarded and hid whatever little food they had. One day two soldiers were returning from war talking with each other: “How I would like a good dinner tonight,” said the first. “And a soft bed to sleep in,” added the second. The two men continued walking in silence when they noticed some lights ahead of them. They were hoping, of course, that they might find something to eat and a bed to sleep in.

When they arrived in the little village, they began to inquire about food and lodging. “”We have no food for ourselves! In fact, there’s not a bite to eat in the whole village” the peasants lied. “You’d better keep on moving.”

The first soldier declared, “Good people! We are hungry soldiers; we’ve asked you for food and you have none. I suppose we will have to make stone soup.” The peasants just stared. The soldier added mysteriously, “Our king gave me a very special gift when I saved his life in battle.”  He then asked for a big cauldron and water to fill it. When the villagers brought the cauldron, the two soldiers placed it in the middle of the square and built a huge fire underneath. Then the first soldier took out an ornate bag from a secret pocket of his cape, removed three very ordinary-looking stones from the bag, and with great ceremony dropped them into the water.

A crowd started gathering in the square to see what all the commotion was about.

“A good soup needs salt and pepper,” the first soldier said, so one of the peasants sent his children to fetch some salt and pepper.

As the soldiers sniffed the soup and licked their lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome the skepticism of the villagers. “Oh!” the soldier said to himself rather loudly, “I do love stone soup. Of course, stone soup with carrots…that’s hard to beat.”

Hearing this, one of villagers sent his son home to fetch some carrots hidden in the cellar. Soon the son returned and they ceremoniously added the carrots to the pot. “Magnificent!” exclaimed the soldier. “You know, I once had stone soup with carrots and some salt beef as well, and it was fit for the king!” The village butcher managed to find some salt beef. And so it went, until soon there were onions, potatoes, barley, cabbage, and milk added to the cauldron.

“It’s soup,” yelled the cooks, “but first we must prepare the square for a feast.” Tables, chairs, torches, and banners were arranged in the square, and the soldiers and villagers sat down together to eat. One of the villagers said, “A great soup would be better with bread and cider,” so he brought out these last two items. The village peasants had never before tasted anything so good that was made of stones, and soon they began singing, dancing, and making merry well into the night.

The soldiers were weary from their travels, so they inquired again to see if there was a hayloft or  spare floor corner somewhere where they could rest for the night. “Oh, no, a hayloft or a corner won’t do for men such as you!” cried the mayor. “You two must have the best beds in the village!” One soldier spent the night in the mayor’s house, while the other was offered lodging in the baker’s house.

The next morning the villagers gathered to say goodbye to the soldiers and offered them a great sum of money for the “magic” stones. The soldiers said the stones were not for sale, politely refused the offer, and then traveled on.


The moral of the story? That when everyone pitches in and contributes what they can, even the seemingly impossible can be accomplished. 

And the moral of our story is that we would love some contributions to get the work started on rebuilding the back of the Stone Bank in 2012.

Remember, like the returning soldiers, we are dependent on donations to make our “stone soup” into a restored stone building. Let’s do this together. We have a handy “donate now” button at Maybe our next Stone Bank fundraiser should include a Stone Soup cook-off!

Interested in scrubbing off some stones and making Stone Soup?  Here’s a link to a Stone Soup recipe from

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!