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.


July 22, 2015

Concrete progress at the Stone Bank

Posted in Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , , , at 7:50 am by stonebankblog

There you go! We have a fresh concrete floor in the Stone Bank’s basement.

This is the room where there were two heating fuel tanks for the building’s old boiler and the floor was dirty, crumbling concrete.

Much better.

In the lower right of the photo above, the black circular object is the top of our recently installed sewage lift pump. PROGRESS x 2.

Here is the in-floor heating in the part of the building that we took down and are putting back together. A concrete floor will be poured over the heat elements. In-floor heat! Pretty cool update for an old building in a cold climate.

Now, the back 20-feet of the building has nice deep footings to support the weight of a stone-clad structure. When our nonprofit purchased the Stone Bank  in 2011, the back section of the building had only a crawl space — and the back wall of the building was sinking, because it was resting on footings that were much too shallow.

When complete, the back of the Stone Bank will look much the same as it did when we started the project, but it will have a much sturdier foundation, a handicap entrance and two handicap-accessible restrooms.

That’s the way you take a building from 1900 into 2015 — and beyond.

Do you want to be part of the Stone Bank project? We always welcome volunteers, but right now, we really need donations to keep the ball — or stone — rolling on enclosing the back of the building.

Your donations will help us match a generous $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of ND. We also accept online gifts with PayPal and Razoo. The links are in the sidebar.

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. Please, share this post with your friends and family!

July 16, 2015

Everything’s Looking Up in Stone Bank’s Basement

Posted in Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , , , at 7:24 am by stonebankblog

Our Stone Bank contractors have been working hard to finish work in the basement — breaking up and hauling out the old concrete floor and creating a base for a new floor.

Stone Bank restoration, Bottineau ND

Before we can have a new basement floor, our crew had to remove the old, broken concrete from the Stone Bank’s basement. (Photo  courtesy of  D. Pederson)

After the crew broke up the old concrete, they hauled it into the new section of the basement where the rubble was taken away by backhoe.


Strong backs built the Stone Bank 115 years ago — and we have some strong backs and heavy equipment putting the back of the building together again. We took apart 20 feet of the building to put a foundation under it. (Don’t worry. We saved the stone and will put it up again.) This photo shows the new section of the basment. (Photos courtesy Scott Wagar)

Stone Bank restoration, Botutinea

Crew members of Jim Berg Construction scooped up the remnants of the old basement floor inside  the building to make way for a new, smooth concrete floor.

Make no mistake. This was a tough job. We appreciate our contractors and their crews — because they are doing the hard part of making the building whole again.

The result of all that hard work? A nice, smooth surface that will soon be a concrete basement floor. Notice the handsome stone walls in the basement. Built by immigrant craftsmen between July and December 1900.

Stone Bank restoration, Bottineau,

Wow! What a difference. The basement is prepped and ready for a new concrete floor.  For  everyone who loves the Stone Bank, this  is a beautiful sight.

Check back here soon to see more progress on our restoration project.

Want to be part of the action? We have some volunteer opportunities, but mosly we need donations. We must pay our contractors for all their heavy lifting — and for that we need cash. Any amount is welcome and all donations go directly into the restoration project.

You don’t have to put out your back  to do your part to save this historic building. Just pick up a pen and send a check today to Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318. PayPal and Razoo online payment sites are linked in the sidebar.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your gift is tax deductible.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

June 12, 2014

Stone Bank windows reflect worldly workers

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Renovation, Updates, Volunteers at 1:59 am by stonebankblog

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As you might recall from our earlier blog posts, it was immigrants from Scotland, Scandinavia, Ireland and Canada who built the Stone Bank in 1900. Now, 114 years later, it’s visitors from Nepal, Cambodia, Cuba, India and Germany — not to mention Minnesota and Wisconsin — who are helping to renovate the Stone Bank building.

A team of eight Fulbright Scholars, plus four of their family members, came to Bottineau this week to visit a part of the U.S. they had never seen before and volunteer their services on the historic Stone Bank Project. The 12 of them spent two long days scraping, sanding and priming every wood window frame on the building.

Many hands make short(er) work, and now the window frames will at least stop deteriorating — until we have the funds to replace them with new windows that are energy efficient yet historic looking. We can’t thank the Fulbrighters enough for their efforts, which were beyond the call of duty even for them.

But we did give them each a spiffy Stone Bank “Preservation Rocks!” T-shirt. We’ll give you one, too, if you come work on our renovation project. Or if you can’t make it to Bottineau anytime soon, you can still get a Stone Bank T-shirt here, for a donation of $15 or more. Please consider donating much more, just as the Fulbrighters did, because we have $60,000 worth of work to do on the building’s exterior this year, and we need to at least match our new $20,000 grant from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

You don’t have to be from Kathmando or Phnom Penh to donate time or money to the Stone Bank Project. We’re happy to take contributions from Bottineau or Bismarck, too. Make yours today, and you’ll feel as smart as a Fulbright Scholar by tomorrow!


November 3, 2013

It takes courage… and patience

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

Let’s see. You take a 100+ year-old building with some structural problems that the city is threatening to condemn.

So, uh, someone should do something, Right?

Turns out that someone is YOU and a couple of friends. So you jump in and get to work.

But the work is hard and progress is slow — but you push on. And on. And on.

Discouraged? Sometimes.


Stone Bank project in Bottineau, ND

Slogans and helpful sayings somehow are helpful. Here’s one.

So, no. It is not easy. But saving this historic gem is right and that makes it worth the angst.

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

This is how the Stone Bank looked in October 2011. The back wall was crumbling and something clearly had to be done.

So we made a plan to save the Stone Bank by fixing what was wrong. Part of the problem was caused by a roof that was more like a sieve. The other problem was that the back section of the building was constructed over shallow footings.

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

This is what the back 20 feet of the Stone Bank was sitting on — very shallow footings. At rear, you can see the back stone shelf supporting the back wall.

So with a great deal of physical labor and some time, we took the back section of the bank apart, stone by stone. (Some of the stones weighed more that 200 pounds.) The stones were labeled and saved and will be reused when we put the back section of the bank back together again.

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank with the back wall and 20 feet of the south wall removed. The stone wall at rear in this photo was dismantled in 2012 and early 2013.

So, yes. This is hard. But our hearts are light. Because we are now rebuilding the back section of the building, starting with deep footings and a proper foundation. This is progress and it feels great.

Care to help? We have to pay our contractors and our taxes and insurance — so we are always happy to receive donations. You can buy a T-shirt or dedicate a stone. Or you can drop a bag of money on our doorstep. All the details on how to give are on our website.

Stay tuned for more photos.

Rome wasn’t built in a day — and the Stone Bank sort of has the same attitude.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. We sure appreciate it when you “like” our posts.

February 6, 2013

Stone Bank on TV

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Inside Stone Bank, Updates, Videos tagged , , , at 2:13 pm by stonebankblog

KX News stopped by the Stone Bank last week and did a nice overview story about the restoration project.

News anchor Perry Olson of  KXMC-TV in Minot, ND, introduces a story about the Stone Bank.

News anchor Perry Olson of KXMC-TV in Minot, ND, introduces a story about the Stone Bank that aired on Tuesday, February 5, 2013.

If you’re a new follower of this blog, take a few minutes to scroll through our old posts to see how far the project has come.

In 2013, our goal is to raise the back of the building over a new foundation and begin working to restore the interior. We are always happy to hear from our readers. Tell us what you think.

Thanks KX for taking an interest in the Stone Bank project and thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.


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!

March 21, 2012

Between a Rock, and — well, You Know …

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Renovation, Stone Work, Uncategorized, Updates at 11:41 pm by stonebankblog

It was a BIG day at the Stone Bank in Bottineau, N.D.

How big?

Big times THREE.

Our architect, Bobbi Hepper Olson, our general contractor, Fred Kainz, and our stone mason, Joe Whetter, spent the afternoon at the Stone Bank working on a plan to move the project forward.

They assessed, conferred, scratched their heads and assessed some more.

The plan isn’t complete, but they came to a few conclusions, the first of which is this: The “inside” stone wall left in place in dismantling the back of the bank will have to come down, too. It’s crumbling and would hinder fixing the foundation.

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We had hoped that inside stone wall would become an interesting, exposed stone wall in the restored building. But it is not to be. The stones are scorched from some long-ago fire and the mortar holding the wall together is turning back into sand. Sigh.

A more detailed plan from today’s meeting is coming, but this is the first step. It was great to have the pros assess and report. Now we have to find the money to make it happen.

Go to if you want to help. We have a “Donate Now” button ready and waiting.

Never forget — Preservation ROCKS! (And so does the Stone Bank.)

December 13, 2011

Open to the Stars

Posted in Inside Stone Bank, Renovation tagged , , , , , at 8:47 pm by stonebankblog

Your Stone Bank blogger clambered up the scaffolding and onto the roof today with general contractor Fred Kainz to get a progress report on the removal of roof beams on the back of the Stone Bank.

Great view AND a positive progress report. That’s worth a climb to the roof.

By 4 p.m. today, Fred had liberated all but two of the beams.

demolition, Stone Bank, history, Bottineau, North Dakota

A pile of roof beams covered the floor of the Stone Bank's back room on Tuesday.
At right is the temporary wall that will close the rest of the building this winter.
At top, the stubs of the roof beams remain embedded in the north wall.
The building's back was is at left,
and the Stone Bank blogger is standing on the top of the scaffold -- gulp.

Fred noted that some of the beams were sagging from the weight of many layers of asphalt roofing. But this wipes the slate clean — really clean.

With the beams removed, our stone mason will be able to continue dismantling the stone facade on the back 20 feet of the building. We’ll keep you posted on the progress.

December 5, 2011

Inside the Stone Bank

Posted in Inside Stone Bank tagged , , , , , at 4:38 pm by stonebankblog

Progress. Progress. Progress. That’s the mode we’re in at the Stone Bank. While the roofers finish up on their work, our contractor Fred Kainz has been inside the bank changing the landscape a bit.

Here’s the interior of the Stone Bank’s back end. The building is being dismantled to about the dark line in the pink wallpaper, at left.

This section of the Stone Bank will disappear very soon. The wall constructed of 2x4s has been taken down.

But the 2×4 wall was NOT discarded, it was reused! Our contractor Fred used that wall to build the temporary wall that will close the shortened building this winter. Bravo! Why waste new materials on a temporary wall? The Stone Bank’s story isn’t only written in shades a brown, burgundy and gray — but it’s going a bit green around the edges!

Here are the components of the old wall being reused as the temporary wall. Note the line in the pink wallpaper near the window to get a sense of how much of the back part of the building is being dismantled.

As soon as Fred finishes this interior work, Joe, the stone mason can get back to removing the exterior walls. Then what will we discuss? The weather?

Thanks again to Scott Wagar for his help with photography.

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