June 14, 2013

It’s big dig day at the Stone Bank

Posted in Dismantling the back, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Renovation, Uncategorized, Updates, Volunteers at 7:50 pm by stonebankblog

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Can you dig it? Yes, we can!

Or at least, Mikkelsen Aggregates can. What a HUGE favor Monte Mikkelsen did the Stone Bank Project today by donating more than $2,300 worth of excavator, dump trucks and crew to dig out the basement for a firm new foundation.

Daryle “Junior” Lorenz and his athletic son, Austyn, 15, expertly excavated an area about 33 feet long by 25 feet wide by 6 feet deep. That’s about 5,000 cubic feet of rocky rubble, dirt and clay gone in one day. They even worked through a midday thunderstorm that threatened to leave the Stone Bank as the only building on Bottineau’s Main Street with its own pool.

“This is a giant step forward,” said Sharon Kessler, president of Touchstones, Inc., the nonprofit organization formed to save and re-purpose the Stone Bank building. “We can’t thank Monte Mikkelsen enough for making it possible for us to complete the disassembly of the back quarter of the building — and he did it in time to complete the matching of our $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota. We’ve been tearing down for two years; now we can start to build it back up!”

Stone mason Joe Whetter said he’ll pour concrete for the foundation and footings this week. He has already had 17 pallets of concrete block delivered to the site. He’ll use that to build the interior walls this summer, so we can extend the new insulated roof by fall and do interior work over the winter.

During today’s excavation, Austyn pulled seven bottles and part of a wine glass from the dirt and rubble. At least one of them dates to the 19th century. It held a “vegetable compound” patent medicine reputed to cure all “female complaints.”

“Getting this foundation dug in time to meet our grant match cured my complaints,” Kessler said. “Now if we can just get some more grants and matching local contributions, maybe we can get the Stone Bank ready for a cafe that serves coffee and vegetable soup, if not vegetable compounds.”

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June 13, 2013

Visit us at the Bottineau County Fair!

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Main Street, Promotions/Contests, Uncategorized, Volunteers at 1:03 pm by stonebankblog

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Today through Sunday afternoon, we will be one of the featured exhibitors at the Bottineau County Fair. Stop by and say, “Hi”; examine the architect’s blueprints for our Stone Bank Project; sign up for a daily drawing for a “Preservation Rocks!” T-shirt; get a wristband for $1 (or free, if you sign up for our email newsletters); and most helpful of all, sign up for our “Dedicate a Stone” fundraiser, at levels ranging from $25 to $500. We can even put through a credit card transaction from here at the fair.

Started in 1875, the Bottineau County Fair is the oldest county fair in North Dakota. It’s even 25 years older than the Stone Bank building. So what better place to publicize Bottineau County’s most historic Main Street building than at Bottineau’s historic county fair?

And even if you can’t make it to Bottineau for the County Fair, you can still “Dedicate a Stone” on our website — and buy a T-shirt or wristband here. Plus, if you “follow” this blog by signing up in the lower-right corner of this page, you’ll be on our list for email newsletters in the future.

Hope to see you at the fair. But right now, I have to go over to the First Lutheran lunch stand for my first piece of apple pie!

— By Mike Dorsher, Stone Bank advisory board member and webmaster

June 5, 2013

Weathered men vs. stone and concrete

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Renovation, Uncategorized, Updates, Volunteers at 11:57 am by stonebankblog

It felt pretty manly for a mild-mannered college professor to pick up a Hilte power hammer and start pounding away at the concrete and stone where the building and sidewalk have been fighting each other.

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But after seven hours of scraping and hammering away — by hand, Hilte, chisel and crowbar — with a cold rain beating at my bald head, I knew that the prehistoric stone in this 113-year-old building would be the enduring element in this battle.

Still, by the end of the day, stone mason Joe Whetter, his helper Adrian Suchan and I had accomplished what we set out to do: We gave the Stone Bank a little breathing room by cutting back the sidewalk enough to insert a rubberized expansion joint. No longer will the sidewalk be cracking the building’s foundation and letting in water as they both go through the freeze-thaw cycle that almost never ends in Bottineau. The whole key to the Stone Bank Project is making the building water-tight again. Whetter dismantled the back 20 feet of the building, stone by stone, because a leaky roof and shallow foundation had made it start to crumble. We put a new, super-insulated roof on the front 60 feet of the building, and we’ll extend that to the back this year once Whetter and contractor Fred Kainz construct a deep, solid foundation and rebuild the back walls.

But meanwhile, while they wait for the rains to subside so they can finish pouring the foundation, we went to work on the nagging base problem — so we don’t end up with a water-tight roof and stone walls, only to have the concrete sidewalk undermine the building’s foundation. The result: “Score” one for the team of Whetter, Suchan and your aching-armed Stone Bank guest blogger.

— By Mike Dorsher, Stone Bank advisory board member and webmaster

P.S. For a more comprehensive slideshow on the Stone Bank Project, visit our all-new home page at http://www.StoneBank.org