April 22, 2013

Move Over Sisyphus

Posted in Dismantling the back, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , at 12:35 am by stonebankblog

Moving stone — successfully.  That’s the story this week at the Stone Bank.

Stone Bank Bottineau ND

Stone mason Joe Whetter removes a stone from the North Wall. Blackened stones behind him show damage from a fire in the 1970s.

After a couple weeks of work, Joe has completed taking down the North Wall — stone by heavy stone.

The North Wall of the Stone Bank has been removed. Wall at rear is the exterior wall of the building next door. Foreground shows remaining raised foundation on south of Stone Bank and floor joists.

The North Wall of the Stone Bank has been removed. Wall at rear is the exterior wall of the building next door. Foreground shows remaining raised foundation on south of Stone Bank and floor joists.

For those of you just joining us, we had to dismantle the back 20 feet of the Stone Bank, which was built of local stone in 1900. The back section sits on shallow  footings and was settling and causing structural issues. In 2013, we will put a new foundation under the back of the building  and then put it all back together again — with all the modern conveniences.

Stone Bank dismantling project in Bottineau, ND

This picture from October 2012, shows the North Wall exposed during the dismantling process. Cold temps and heavy snow stalled work on the project in the fall — but we are moving now.

Now what? We keep moving.  We have  a great architect, a strong and determined stone mason and a plan. What we need is your help. Even with grant money, we need local donations to help get this marvelous structure repaired and put back into use.

Here’s the difference between the “legend of the Stone Bank” and the myth of Sisyphus. The Stone Bank Project is not going to last an eternity — nor is it punishment.  Instead, we are embracing our town’s history and this wonderful building and pushing the Stone Bank into the future.

Can you help? Dedicate a stone or send a donation. You don’t have to lift anything heavier that your pen — and you can help put the Stone Bank back together again.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

April 7, 2013

Stone Quote No. 8

Posted in Dismantling the back, History, Photos, Stone Quotes tagged , , , , at 12:00 pm by stonebankblog

The Giver and the Gift

James Russell Lowell, and American poet, 1819-1891

James Russell Lowell, an American poet, 1819-1891.

To learn more about poet James Russell Lowell, check out the Poetry Foundation’s biography.

Beauty and history are two other needs your “alms” can feed. Our work to preserve and restore the Stone Bank on Bottineau’s Main Street is moving ahead, but we really need your help to pay our stone mason and buy supplies. It’s a different kind of hunger — but one that must be met somehow.

How can you help?

Join our “Dedicate a Stone” campaign to help rebuild the back 20 feet of the bank over a new foundation.

Encourage your friends, family, neighbors and organizations to chip in.  We truly need your help to make this happen.

Want to know more about dedicating a stone? Click here and visit our website to see our lovely commemorative certificate.

Don’t leave us hanging!

The edge of the Stone Bank

The edge of the south wall dismantled in 2012. The wall will be rebuilt over a new foundation in 2013, with your support.

We have 20 feet down and 20 feet left to rebuild. Built in 1900, the Stone Bank has borne witness to a growing and changing Bottineau over the years. Help us restore it and put it back to use so it can reflect the changes of light and passing clouds and Bottineau history for another century.

Stone Bank Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank showing the jagged edge at rear where 20 feet of the building was taken down.

The Stone Bank is a beauty worth saving. Please make a gift or a stone dedication today.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog. Scroll down to the last two posts to see pictures of our stone mason at work last week.

April 5, 2013

Really Heavy Lifting

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, History, Photos, Pictures at 1:07 am by stonebankblog

I don’t know about you, but my back hurts just looking at these photos.

Stone mason Joe Whetter dismantled more of the North Wall today — and he did it by HAND!

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Joe estimated that one stone he removed from the wall today weighed 450 pounds. And another was 350.

The North Wall also told another story. Joe found stones charred from a fire in the building next door — when it was Lloyd’s Fairway — in the 1970s.  The fire was so intense that it had melted the mortar and cracked some of the stones. And Joe helped rebuild the concrete-block wall way back then.

Do you have a Stone Bank story? We would love to hear from you. This charming building connects us to our history.

Joe’s work on this project not only takes a strong back — but lots of dedication. Does his dedication inspire you to dedicate a stone? We hope so. With your help, the wall will come down, the foundation will be repaired and the back of the building will be restored. Dedicate a stone or send a donation today. (Joe has some fliers in his truck. Pick one up from the Chamber of Commerce or download one from the website.)

Thanks to Scott Wagar of the Bottineau Courant for the photos.  And thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

April 3, 2013

Behind the Wall … Another Wall

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, History, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , at 11:15 pm by stonebankblog


With the weather finally improving, stone mason Joe Whetter has gotten back to work on the Stone Bank.

Job #1 is to take down the North Wall to make way for foundation work, and Joe has been moving stone for a couple of days. Behind the Stone Bank’s North Wall is the concrete block wall of the building next door. Joe says there is a gap of several inches between the buildings — whew. Much easier for him to remove stone that is NOT attached to the building next door. (Joe actually worked on the concrete block wall in the 1970s!)

And while he dismantles it, the North Wall is telling Joe a bit of  its history. For instance, he said it is clear that the masons who put up this wall ran out of “medium” stones, because there were LARGE stones — 300 pounds — along the top rows.  What does that mean? Joe suggests that the long-ago masons ran short of stones cut to the right dimensions, wanted to finish and just used what they had on hand to get the job done. Then the roof  and the north parapet were covered in tar paper roofing and sat there for a good long time.

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Speaking of moving stone — have you dedicated a stone yet? It’s a great way to- – a-hem  — kill two birds with one stone. Dedicate a stone to a loved one or your class, business or best friend and help support the ongoing restoration work at the Stone Bank.  Each stone dedication comes with a lovely commemorative certificate.  We have one posted on StoneBank.org.

You don’t have to lift anything but your pen to the face of a check to help us keep moving those stones.

Thanks to Scott Wagar of the Bottineau Courant for keeping an eye on the project and sharing his pictures.

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

March 14, 2013

It Will Take Dedication(s)

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, History, Promotions/Contests, Updates tagged , at 9:31 pm by stonebankblog


We are rolling out our “Dedicate a Stone” campaign this weekend in Bottineau at the Spring Arts and Crafts Fair. It won’t feel like spring — because winter seems to want to hang around — but we hope to see you there.

Dedicating a stone to a loved one, your book club or business is a great way to put some oomph in our restoration project. As you probably know, our goal in 2013 is to put a new foundation under th back of the building and then put it back together again.

Once completed, we plan to have a “Wall of Honor” inside the restored building carrying the names of those whose generosity and dedications helped get this done.

We will also send you a lovely dedication certificate. See it posted on our website.

Stop by our table on Saturday, March 16, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. We would love to answer your questions about the project and have you dedicate a stone.

See you there — and thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

January 14, 2013

Pushing the Boulder

Posted in Dismantling the back, Endangered buildings, Stone Quotes, Updates, Videos tagged , , , at 1:33 pm by stonebankblog

Historic restoration isn’t an easy road. It’s rugged, and, yet, rugged roads often  lead to the highest reward. That’s how we feel about the  Stone Bank Project.

Here’s a quote from Paul Graham, an entrepreneur, on the value of an idea (or purpose).

The founders who do the best are the type of people who just refuse to fail. Most startups have at least one low point where any reasonable person would give up…. The only people who get through it are the ones who have an unreasonable aversion to failing.

That’s pretty much how we feel about the Stone Bank Project — we are going to see this through. PERIOD.  We are really pleased by a recent uptick in donations. It’s great to have some other cockeyed optimists join the effort.

Mark Briggs puts it this way:

Developing a great idea into a successful business is like pushing a boulder up a hill. The best entrepreneurs — those who successfully reach the top — get to watch the boulder roll down the other side.

Mr. Briggs is writing about business and entrepreneurship — but historic restoration projects — like the Stone Bank — are also a form of entrepreneurship.

So, we are pushing the boulder up the hill — indeed — our stone mason is actually moving boulders to bring the Stone Bank back to life.  Check out this video about moving stone!

By this time next year? We hope to be watching that boulder tumble down the other side. We hope you are there to help us give it the last shove.

Here’s a great video from the day our contractor began pulling down the Stone Bank’s back wall. It’s all up from here.

Thanks for joining us on our journey and thanks for your continued support.

January 4, 2013

Philosopher Stone

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Endangered buildings, History, Photos, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , at 12:01 am by stonebankblog

The first of the year is a time of beginning. Starting over. Reconsidering. Wiping the slate clean or just picking up and getting on with it.

So, that makes it the perfect time for a new stone quote and a couple shots of the Stone Bank — restoration work already in progress.

Make this the year you commit to a project bigger than yourself. Do something great for your community. For posterity. For mankind.

Or just for the heck of it.

Stone Quote No. 6

Another great quote — carved in limestone — from the Peace Chapel at the Intl. Peace Garden

Stone Bank work in Bottineau, ND

Scaffold going up at the Stone Bank. The north wall is coming down soon.

Sizing up the north wall.

The stone mason removed a few stones to check the sturdiness of the wall that abuts the north wall. Good to go.

So, we are continuing — to the end.  When weather permits, work on the Stone Bank will continue.  Scroll through our previous posts to learn more about this great building and the effort to restore it to usefulness.

Watch this space for updates, and thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

Happy New Year!

December 12, 2012

December Story

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Endangered buildings, History, Photos tagged , , , , at 10:41 pm by stonebankblog

The Stone Bank’s story seems to have a lot of December in it.

For starters, the original building was completed in December 1900. Here’s a blog post about the Stone Bank’s beginning.

Fast forward about 111 years, and it’s December 2011. And the nonprofit group  working to restore the building decides that to save the building and return it to use  the back 20 feet  must be dismantled to get at a structural problem.  Brr. It’s clear and cold as the stone mason begins the work , stone by stone,  to take apart  the back of the building.

About 20 feet of the Stone Bank's south wall was dismantled starting in December 2011.

Stones from the south wall were numbered and stacked starting in December 2011. The hand-hewn stones will be reused when the back section of the building rises again.

Fundraising and planning occupied the Stone Bank’s supporters during most of 2012, but now, at last, the project is moving forward again. In the next few days, our stone mason has another December date with the Stone Bank.  He will begin the work to dismantle 20 feet of the Stone Bank’s north wall. This wall was left standing, but it must make way for foundation repairs in 2013.

Stone Bank dismantling project in Bottineau, ND

The stone wall at the left is what we call the north wall. It will be taken apart in the next couple of weeks, as will be the remainder of the raised foundation on the south and west sides.

Yep. December is cold. But it seems to be the hot season for work on the Stone Bank. Get this: Joe, our stone mason, says he doesn’t mind working in the cold. Why? Well, lifting stones is hot work.

So wish the bank and this project “Happy Birthday” with a card and a check.  The work to dismantle the north wall will cost about $4,000. Can you help with a donation?

The Stone Bank Project is an all-volunteer effort — every donated dollar goes into restoring this historic building.   There are links to  PayPal and Razoo at right for online giving.  If you’re sending a check, the Stone Bank’s mailing address is 524 Main St., PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

The Stone Bank is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — so your gift is not only deeply appreciated — it’s tax deductible!

Watch this space for updates as the dismantling project continues. As always, do like the Stone Bank and “Rock On!”

November 4, 2012

Razoo to You, too!

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Main Street, Photos, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , at 11:39 pm by stonebankblog

Greetings from Stone Bank fundraising HQ where we have some news to report. But first, let’s pause for a lovely picture of the Stone Bank.

Stone Bank at dawn on a clear, cold October morning. It simply glows in the light.

We are pleased to report some incoming contributions for the Stone Bank Project. A list of  recent supporters is posted on top of the Stone Bank homepage. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We needed that. And that. And that.

Also, to make things easier for online giving, we have opened an account with Razoo. Ra-what? You ask.

Razoo is a national company that works with nonprofits around the country to raise millions for great causes like ours. We have posted a Razoo “donate” button on this page and on the Stone Bank’s homepage. No need to find an envelope, a stamp and remember our address — just click and give!  Nearly 100 percent of your donation comes directly to the Stone Bank.  (For instance,  a $100 online contribution will bring $97  to the Stone Bank.  Very fair for the ease and accessibility of the service. Give it a try. There are several other great Bottineau nonprofits on Razoo, too. Just search for Bottineau’s zipcode — 58318 — to find other worthy projects.

Did you know that November 15th is Give to the Max Day? Nonprofits across the country work to get out end-of-year donations on the National Day of Giving. We hope when you think of charitable giving that the Stone Bank Project is near the top of your list. And then you take action.

This is a critical time for your support, because at the end of the month our stone mason will finish dismantling the back 20 feet of the building. Your donations create the matching funds we need for $25,000 in grants that support this project.

Stone Bank in Bottineau ND

The stone wall at left in this picture and the remaining  rear foundation will be dismantled in late November 2012. Rebuilding over a new foundation is planned for 2013 with your support.

This fall’s work will ready the project for its “rebuild phase” in early 2013. So, Razoo to you! It’s a great way to help the Stone Bank Project move ahead. Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. We appreciate your interest in our project. Here’s another early morning shot of the bank. Charming and pretty! It glows in the light — and you’ll glow, too, knowing your contribution helped bring this historic building back to life.

Stone Bank in Bottineau, ND

Dawn’s light glows in the front window of the Stone Bank.

As excited as we are to offer online giving through Razoo, we won’t turn down your check. Send it to: Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main St., PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318

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!

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