August 31, 2015

It’s a bank and not a bank

Posted in Bottineau, History, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , at 3:26 pm by stonebankblog

  When the Stone Bank phone rang last week the caller ID said the caller was from Mohall.

Mohall? Hmm. Could it be a generous donor who wants to help our project?

SB: Hello!

Caller: Is this the Stone Bank?

SB: Yes! 

Caller: Do you cash checks?

SB: (Thoughtful pause). Well, we take checks as contributions, but we are not a bank. We are restoring a historic bank building.

Long pause.

Caller: So, you don’t cash checks?

SB: No.

Caller: Do you know where I could cash a check?

SB: Sigh.

—-

Well, of course, I offered a couple of suggestions. We always try to be helpful at the Stone Bank.

We are NOT a bank, but we are restoring Bottineau’s first bank. 

Now we need your help to pay our contractors and put the building back together again. 

We will take your check (donations only) at Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

 Any amount will help. It all goes directly to the restoration project to match our grants and pay our contractors.

  
 If you love Bottineau’s historic Main Street, this is a great way to show that love — with cash, check or credit card. Maybe we should put an ATM in the restored building. (Just a thought.)

We need to enclose the back of the building in 2015. Your gift will mean a lot and it is tax deductible.

Thanks!

August 3, 2015

State historian sees good progress during Stone Bank site visit

Posted in History, Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , at 7:11 pm by stonebankblog

Touchstones advisory board member Mike Dorsher and State Historical Society Architectural Historian Lorna Meidinger survey the new concrete heated floor and support walls at the Stone Bank project.

Touchstones advisory board member Mike Dorsher and State Historical Society Architectural Historian Lorna Meidinger survey the new concrete heated floor and support walls at the Stone Bank project.

This year’s progress on the Stone Bank project is encouraging, and the restoration work might merit even larger matching grants in the near future, State Historical Society Architectural Historian Lorna Meidinger said today in Bottineau.

“It sure looks different now. You just keep making progress,” Meidinger said today, nearly three years after her last site visit to the Stone Bank project. “Not every (restoration) project keeps going. People get anxious and discouraged.”

Meidinger said she was happy to see that the Stone Bank project is now well into its construction phase, not just destruction any longer. She climbed down onto the basement’s new concrete floor with embedded heating coils and inspected the concrete block walls that will support the stone facade. She agreed it will be crucial to build the rest of the concrete walls and extend the new roof over the back 29 feet of the building before the snow flies this year.

Meidinger also toured the interior of the original 1900 structure and agreed that it would be relatively easy to take down the partition walls and open the space for a bright and airy cafe or meeting rooms. The architectural historian gave her approval to all of the scraping, priming and painting of Stone Bank window frames that a group of 12 visiting Fulbright Scholars did last summer.

“Volunteers aren’t always that careful with their work,” she said.

More help could be on the way from Bismarck, Meidinger said, noting that she and others are pushing for the State Historical Society of North Dakota to raise its $20,000 ceiling for annual matching grants. The Stone Bank project has already garnered two $20,000 grants and one $15,000 grant from the SHSND, but all grants from the state must be matched with donations of money or labor from the community.

Currently, the need for private donations is urgent, because if we can’t afford to finish the block walls and back roof before winter, ice will start to damage the basement walls and flooring already installed this year. So please send your tax-deductible contributions to P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, N.D. 58318 or use the PayPal or Razoo links to the right to put it on your credit card.

May 28, 2015

Let’s Get This Done

Posted in History, Photos, Renovation, Stone Work, Updates, Volunteers tagged , at 10:00 pm by stonebankblog

The Stone Bank turns 115 in 2015 — and we are determined to get the back of the building up and the roof on.

Are you with us?

We hope so. Because Saturday, May 30, we are hauling the last bit of junk out of the basement to get ready for the next step!
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Are you with us?

We hope so.

A few extra hands will make short work of this — and you will be able to say: “Yes. I helped rebuild the Stone Bank.”

The next step? Thought you’d never ask.

With the last bit of junk out of the basement, our plumber will be able to rough-in the plumbing.

Then the basement floor will be poured… and then…

Drum roll: Floor joists and a floor!!!!!!!!!

We are meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 30. Wear your work gloves and sensible shoes. No open toes — no matter how fabulous your pedicure is. (We expect to finish by no later than 11 a.m.)

If you can’t join our work crew, you can support the effort to restore this historic building. We need to match a grant with donations from the community. Can you help? Volunteers help with many things, but we do need to pay our contractors.

Hope to see you there on Saturday morning!

And thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

January 19, 2014

Old and Still Very Useful

Posted in Bottineau, History, Main Street, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 10:08 pm by stonebankblog

Oh, how it makes the Stone Bank blogger happy to see a great old building with a new lease on life.

Right there on Main Street in Red Wing, Minn., is a Caribou Coffee in a red brick railway station from 1906. Not too crazy about the interior, but it’s just great to see this building standing, sturdy and useful. Hurrah.

Don’t you love a timeline? Here are the details:

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Love it!

We want the same for our Stone Bank. Sturdy and useful and IN USE for the next 100 years or more.

For comparison’s sake: Bottineau County Bank (what we now call the Stone Bank) was founded in 1887. The Stone Bank was built in the last six months in 1900 — and replaced an earlier wood-frame building. It was Bottineau’s first bank, which failed in 1923. The building had many uses over the years and most recently was a lawyer’s office. We know that our restoration project will give it a new life in the next couple of years.

Do you have a favorite restored building in your home town or someplace you have visited? What was it built for and how is it now used? Send a photo and we will post it.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. Comments and contributions always welcome.

November 28, 2013

Time to give thanks for the Stone Bank’s bedrock

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Life, Volunteers at 12:17 pm by stonebankblog

We interrupt this series of daily missives by Stone Bank blogger Sharon Kessler to bring you a Thanksgiving message — by her husband and guest Stone Bank blogger Mike Dorsher. …

The Stone Bank Project is thankful for — and indebted to — many people. You can see some of them in the slide show below, but they also include many unseen supporters who have made financial donations from near and afar. They even include everyone who has read this blog, given it a “Like,” left a Comment or just contributed good wishes and karma to our quest.

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But there are two people, in particular, without whom this project would now be a pile of rubble. Rather than a piece of history being preserved, the Stone Bank would now be a relic of history were it not for these two people.

One them is Joe Whetter, whom we usually simply refer to as our “stone mason,” but he is much, much more. Joe is the brawn and brains of the Stone Bank restoration that you see today. He has put his blood, sweat and gears into disassembling the back 20 feet of this structure, stone-by-stone, and now rebuilding it, block-by-block — plus an 8-foot addition for handicap accessibility. With a small crew of helpers under his direction, Joe has hand-carried some of the bank’s 400-pound boulders in the bitter cold and snow, he has poured pilings and cut sidewalk in the rain, and he has hand-shoveled mud in the heat of summer — all for sporadic pay of his heavily discounted bills. I don’t know what is more amazing — to see this grandchild-raising ex-Marine who’s pushing 60 engage in hard labor like a ball-and-chain prisoner or that such a man resides within the same town as the Stone Bank, that he and my wife were Bottineau High School classmates — and that they’re still talking to each other.

We owe a great, BIG thanks to Joe today. But even Joe would readily acknowledge that there would be no Stone Bank Project today without my wife, Sharon Kessler. She walked past the Stone Bank every day on her way to and from Bottineau High School, and she never forgot it, even after going off to UND and living with me in Bismarck, Madison, Washington, DC, Wisconsin, England and the Twin Cities. When Karen Larson told her the back of the Stone Bank was crumbling and the City Council was about to condemn and raze it, they formed a nonprofit, Touchstones, Inc., to raise funds and save it. In the 2 1/2 years since then, Sharon has poured hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the Stone Bank Project — in addition to her full-time (plus some) job in the Twin Cities at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. None of Joe’s work on the site would have been possible without her grant writing, fundraising, organizing — and blog posting.

So today, as we all give thanks for our family, friends and fortunes small and large, those of us who are friends of the Stone Bank Project should pause and give thanks to Joe and Sharon, too. That process started a couple months ago when Cenex recognized Sharon with a $50 gift card from its “Tanks of Thanks” program. I will close this guest post by letting you read the Cenex-edited version of what I wrote then (click on the image to see it full size). Tomorrow, Sharon will be back here with the penultimate installment of National Blog Posting Month.

ThanksTanksEssay

November 24, 2013

A Postcard from Bottineau: 1928

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Pictures tagged , , , , at 2:58 pm by stonebankblog

Isn’t this interesting? A friend of a Stone Bank friend found this postcard in the archives of O’Reilly Auto Parts. He tells me that O’Reilly bought out a company known as Midwest Auto Parts that seems to have North Dakota roots. But my knowledge of the company’s history ends right there.

Bottineau, ND

This postcard with a 1928 postmark was mailed from Bottineau, ND.

It’s just fun to see something mailed from Bottineau in 1928. And it’s interesting to see the cost of the auto parts for a Model T. In 1928, the Stone Bank had been standing on the corner of Sixth and Main for 28 years. Bottineau County Bank had failed five years before this postcard was mailed, and it was in receivership. The bank never reopened, but the building was occupied over the years by a number of businesses — and we plan to see it occupied again in the next couple of years.

In 2013, not a lot of folks are still driving Model T’s but the Stone Bank is getting ready to roll again.

It’s Day 24 of National Blog Posting Month and we have the blog firmly in “drive” and are moving ahead.

We have some photos from 2003 sent in by a blog reader — we will be posting those soon. Do you have a photo to share? We would love to post photos, guest blogs or your comments on the blog. Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

November 18, 2013

The Stone Will Remember

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, History, Stone Quotes tagged , , , at 9:29 pm by stonebankblog

Here’s a stone quote — not etched in stone — but about stone.

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Construction of the Stone Bank was completed in mid-December 1900. Imagine the world that has rolled past it over 113 years. This building really is a link to those who came before us, you can actually see the chisel marks in the stone. It remembers.

We are glad it does.

It’s Day 18 of National Blog Posting Month — and we would appreciate it if you “remember” the Stone Bank with a contribution. We are actively restoring this beautiful structure, and you can touch history by helping us put the back section of the building back together again.

The stone will remember, and, I think I hear it saying “thanks.”

November 14, 2013

Give to the Max in ND

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, History, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , at 7:58 pm by stonebankblog

Today in Minnesota it has been Give to the Max Day — 24 hours of fundraising for nonprofits and charities.

GTMD logo

It’s a great event … BUT!

The focus is on schools and nonprofits in Minnesota. This is all good. Really good.

BUT.

A vast number of Twin Citians come from places like Bottineau, Bismarck, Williston and Fargo. You really can’t throw a rock around the Twin Cities without hitting someone from North Dakota.

Bottineau County ND

There are great causes all across North Dakota. We think the Stone Bank is a good one!

So. North Dakotan-Twin Citians, why not point some of that generosity to the west?

Yep. It’s Day 14 of National Blog Posting Month, and we are asking in plain language for your support.

Open your heart to the Stone Bank or another North Dakota nonprofit — and give them a little sugar.

We don’t have a great organization like GiveMN making giving cool. But is IS cool. Saving a historic building, supporting your local library or giving to any of a number of causes is totally hip. So share some of the love with a North Dakota cause.

Stone Bank circa 1902

The Stone Bank in 1902. It was then-known as Bottineau County Bank.

Tonight.

Before midnight.

Write a check.

Find a stamp.

Address the envelope.

Or go to our website.

You can make a donation through PayPal or Razoo there.

Buy a T-shirt.

Dedicate a stone.

Do it for posterity.

Do it for North Dakota.

We thank you for your support.

November 12, 2013

11.12.13

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, History, Photos, Pictures, Stone Bank rocks, Updates tagged , , at 6:52 pm by stonebankblog

We won’t live long enough to see this date sequence again.

But the Stone Bank will most likely be around a hundred years from now to bear witness to a another series of consecutive sequence dates in the next millennium. Why? Because we are making sure this building stands tall for another century or more.

StoneBank111213

So here’s to the Stone Bank — and another 100 years.

It’s the season of giving, and we could use your support as we rebuild the back of this building. Any amount helps pay the contractors — so give away. You are holding history in your hands.

November 9, 2013

Let’s Go to Bismarck!

Posted in History, ND Capitol, Photos, Pictures tagged , , at 6:56 pm by stonebankblog

We hear they have a lovely stone Capitol building.

Indeed they do. It’s a modern building sheathed in Indiana limestone. Lovely. Sure looks great in the setting sun.

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According to the State Capitol website: The 19-story, Art Deco building was constructed in 1933 for $2 million and contains unique woods and materials from many stated and countries.

Do you have a favorite historic building — inside or out? We’d love to hear about it.

Of course, the Stone Bank is #1 on our list. We hope it lands in your Top 5!

NaBloPoMo is cruising along. Thanks for reading along.

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