June 14, 2013
It’s big dig day at the Stone Bank
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.”