September 21, 2012

A Site Visit to Behold

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Endangered buildings, Friends of Stone Bank, Inside Stone Bank, Renovation at 6:23 pm by stonebankblog

Lorna Meidinger and Tiffany Sathre

Lorna Meidinger of the State Historical Society of North Dakota met with Tiffany Sathre, a new member of the Touchstones, Inc., board of directors, during a site visit of the Stone Bank project on Friday.

The Stone Bank project got organized faster and started preserving its building quicker than most groups do, according to an architectual historian for the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Lorna Meidinger came to Bottineau on a beautiful fall day Friday, for a site visit of the Stone Bank project. She said it was a relatively easy decision for the State Historical Society to award matching grants of $15,000 last year and $20,000 this year to the Stone Bank project, not only because it’s an historic and potentially beautiful building but because the nonprofit group behind it is so well organized and innovative. For instance, she said this is the first preservation project in North Dakota to sport a QR code, so that passersby can use their smartphone to access its mobile website, this blog and its PayPal site for donations.

After touring the Stone Bank inside and out, Meidinger said she hopes that community members will fully match the State Historical Society’s $20,000 grant for this year so that the back 20 feet of the walls and roof can be rebuilt yet this fall. Simply adding a back wall to the structure as it is now, 60 feet long instead of 80, she said, would only add costs and delays to the project before its completion.

So we hope that people will respond generously to the fundraising letter that we sent this week to more than 100 leaders of the Bottineau community. And for those of you who read this blog and therefore don’t need a printed update, please use the PayPal “Donate” button to the right to help us match the State Historical Society’s grant. No contribution is too small — or too large. Thank you!


September 20, 2012

A Rockin’ Stone House

Posted in Bottineau, History, Photos tagged , , , at 12:31 am by stonebankblog

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Didn’t we promise a look at some other great Bottineau buildings?

Let’s start with another great stone building that’s a scant block from the Stone Bank.

It’s a charmer that is called the Saunders house, for the family that only recently sold the house. The original owner was W.R. McIntosh, a member of a prominent Bottineau family in the settlement era. These photos seem to show that the house had a addition at one time, because it is longer than in the original. It also looks as if the porch was removed at some point. Still, the building is remarkably intact at 117 years old. We should all look this good at 117.

Wouldn’t it be great if buildings could talk?

Stay tuned to the Stone Bank blog for more pictures of the great old buildings still in use in Bottineau.

Do you have a story to tell about the Saunders house or a memory of the Stone Bank that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment here, or send an email to We would love to learn more about these buildings from the people who lived or worked in them.

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

September 13, 2012

Population 1900 and 2011

Posted in Bottineau, History, Life, Updates tagged , , , , at 10:40 pm by stonebankblog

Sometimes it’s really true that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here’s an item from the Bottineau Courant in 1900, reporting the astounding growth in population between 1890 and 1900, when the county’s population more than doubled.

What’s even more astounding is that in 1900 Bottineau County had more residents than Burleigh County — home of Bismarck, the state capital. (North Dakota gained statehood in 1889.) Even back then, Grand Forks County and Cass County,  where  Fargo is located, were the “big cities” of North Dakota.

ND Population by county in 1900

During the peak of the settlement era, Bottineau County’s population more than doubled.

A check of  U.S. census data shows that Bottineau County had 9,239 residents in 1980. And in 2011?

The county had fallen below the number set in 1900. Wow. At last count, Bottineau County had 6,443 residents.

But this could tick up, and probably has already with the oil activity in the area.

So, when the “stone” Stone Bank was under construction, the local area was booming. Bottineau County Bank was founded in 1887, and what we now call the Stone Bank was built in 1900. So, it’s a boom town bank!

It’s all rather interesting, isn’t? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment or your own history lesson. We love to hear from our readers.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

September 9, 2012

Build with Brick! (or Stone)

Posted in Bottineau, History, Life, Main Street, Photos tagged , , , , at 2:52 pm by stonebankblog

Here’s a fun editorial from the Oct. 1, 1901 Bottineau Courant — touting the benefits of building with brick. (Of course, we extrapolate this to the benefits of building with stone.) The Stone Bank was not yet a year old (completed in December 1900) when this editorial was published.

Editorial from Bottineau Courant 10.1.1901

Was the editor onto a good idea? From 111 years later, we think he was right. What do you think?

Bottineau’s “brick block” is still lined with sturdy brick buildings (including the Stone Bank). It lends the town an air of permanence and history. Check back in a few days, when we’ll post a slideshow of other downtown Bottineau businesses.

Stone Bank - Bottineau in July 2012

This only looks like an old picture. This shot of the charming Stone Bank was taken in July 2012

We are currently trying to raise $20,000 in matching funds for a $20,000 grant from the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The Stone Bank Project is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit. So your contribution is tax deductible.  Sending a check? Our address is Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main St., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog. Tell your friends to follow us, so they get all the latest updates on the Stone Bank Project.

September 8, 2012

Ahh, the beauty of flowers

Posted in Bottineau, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 11:57 am by stonebankblog

Blooming flowers add a nice touch to the Stone Bank’s front facade.

Summer brings a bit of extra color to flower boxes on Bottineau’s Main Street. We are lucky to have one of the planters in full bloom outside the Stone Bank. It looks just great against the bank’s warm stone exterior.

What’s up with the project? We are working to raise $20,000 in matching funds for a State Historical Society grant, so work can proceed on the back of the building. We’re hoping to start work in October. Can you help? There is a PayPal link on this page, or you can send a check to Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main St., PO Box 272. Bottineau, ND 58318.

We recently had a nice $2,500 donation from Otter Tail Power. That’s a great start for our fall work. Jump in. Every dollar helps. Seriously, every dollar helps.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

September 2, 2012

A Beaut of a Butte

Posted in History, Photos tagged , , , at 11:02 pm by stonebankblog

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It was one of those silky summer evenings — comfortably warm with a gentle breeze when we arrived at Butte Saint Paul.

We scrambled up the sharp incline — to  the top of this 2,280 foot  hill —  just as the sun was setting and were treated to a marvelous panoramic view of the prairie to the south and  some green undulating hills and ravines to the west. Gorgeous. We had the view to ourselves.

There’s a nice bit of history about the naming of this butte in 1850 by a missionary who got lost in a blizzard. The butte is now a state recreation area.

As you know,  the Stone Bank blog loves all things stone, so we were pleased to see the 12-foot tall  stone cairn at the butte’s summit. Sadly, it is surrounded by a chain link fence, but still striking, with some petrified wood among the stones and a cross at the top.

As luck would have it, we got a cherry on top of our Sunday view —  as we drove away, a gorgeous full moon rose above the plain.