November 4, 2012

Thirteen or 33

Posted in Life, Recommended Reading tagged , , at 5:32 am by stonebankblog

Writing a novel in a month! Doesn’t that sound crazy and intrguing? An old friend  has been doing this for a number of years as part of NANOWRIMO.

National Novel Writing Month. Crazy fun. She sometimes takes time from her novel writing to blog about the experience. Check it out. And best of all, she has a marvelous picture of a stone room within a room on her blog’s homepage. Very cool, and i like the symbolism of going deep inside to find a truth.

Here’s a link to The Tuxedo Files blog. Enjoy. Thirteen or 33.


October 13, 2012

Bad Buildings in Nice Towns

Posted in Endangered buildings, History, Life, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , at 9:56 pm by stonebankblog

Why are you saving that old building?

That’s what some people have asked us about our effort to save the Stone Bank.

“Drive up to Deloraine,” we respond. “That is why.”

Deloraine is a Canadian town about 25 miles from Bottineau. A boom town at the turn of the 20th century, its bustling commercial district had many buildings of brick and stone. But that was then.

Thanks to a photo display in the entry of the Rendezvous Restaurant, we can see that  Deloraine.  Today’s Deloraine is a different story. This slideshow is a cautionary tale about what gives a town its sense of place and how it can be lost, even though a few traces of  the past remain.

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Your Stone Bank blogger doesn’t know how or why Deloraine’s fine buildings were lost. Fire is a likely culprit in some cases — but in others “progress” was probably the reason some buildings were taken down.

Deloraine is a fine town with nice people and a good restaurant. The display of  flags from around the globe is impressive. But wouldn’t it be a better town with some of those grand old buildings still standing and in use? We think so.

Any town can become Deloraine —  all it takes is indifference, forgetting history and substituting cheap and serviceable buildings for those that are elegant and enduring.  Towns all across the  country face the same fate if someone doesn’t take up the challenge to save the great buildings. (There are plenty of Deloraines in North Dakota.)

The Stone Bank Project  is our effort to save a great building in Bottineau. It’s not easy. It’s probably not even sensible. But it does matter.

We’d love to see your comments!

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

September 13, 2012

Population 1900 and 2011

Posted in Bottineau, History, Life, Updates tagged , , , , at 10:40 pm by stonebankblog

Sometimes it’s really true that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here’s an item from the Bottineau Courant in 1900, reporting the astounding growth in population between 1890 and 1900, when the county’s population more than doubled.

What’s even more astounding is that in 1900 Bottineau County had more residents than Burleigh County — home of Bismarck, the state capital. (North Dakota gained statehood in 1889.) Even back then, Grand Forks County and Cass County,  where  Fargo is located, were the “big cities” of North Dakota.

ND Population by county in 1900

During the peak of the settlement era, Bottineau County’s population more than doubled.

A check of  U.S. census data shows that Bottineau County had 9,239 residents in 1980. And in 2011?

The county had fallen below the number set in 1900. Wow. At last count, Bottineau County had 6,443 residents.

But this could tick up, and probably has already with the oil activity in the area.

So, when the “stone” Stone Bank was under construction, the local area was booming. Bottineau County Bank was founded in 1887, and what we now call the Stone Bank was built in 1900. So, it’s a boom town bank!

It’s all rather interesting, isn’t? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment or your own history lesson. We love to hear from our readers.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

September 9, 2012

Build with Brick! (or Stone)

Posted in Bottineau, History, Life, Main Street, Photos tagged , , , , at 2:52 pm by stonebankblog

Here’s a fun editorial from the Oct. 1, 1901 Bottineau Courant — touting the benefits of building with brick. (Of course, we extrapolate this to the benefits of building with stone.) The Stone Bank was not yet a year old (completed in December 1900) when this editorial was published.

Editorial from Bottineau Courant 10.1.1901

Was the editor onto a good idea? From 111 years later, we think he was right. What do you think?

Bottineau’s “brick block” is still lined with sturdy brick buildings (including the Stone Bank). It lends the town an air of permanence and history. Check back in a few days, when we’ll post a slideshow of other downtown Bottineau businesses.

Stone Bank - Bottineau in July 2012

This only looks like an old picture. This shot of the charming Stone Bank was taken in July 2012

We are currently trying to raise $20,000 in matching funds for a $20,000 grant from the State Historical Society of North Dakota. The Stone Bank Project is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit. So your contribution is tax deductible.  Sending a check? Our address is Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main St., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog. Tell your friends to follow us, so they get all the latest updates on the Stone Bank Project.

July 24, 2012

Stone Bank with Effects!

Posted in Bottineau, History, Life, Main Street, Photos tagged , , at 4:51 pm by stonebankblog

Let’s face it. The Stone Bank is very photogenic. Has  been for 112 years.

The play of light and clouds gives the stones a different look every single day of  the year — so no matter how many pictures we shoot, we always see something new.

A couple of days ago, your Stone Bank Blogger and her b.f. spent some time at the bank, trying to catch its many shadows and colors on a sunny day.

The b.f. also discovered the “effects” button on his new camera and had some fun with it. (You know how it is. Give a man a button — and he’ll push it.) Anyway, these photos show off the Stone Bank in a new light, and we thought you’d like to see them.

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Indeed, it was 112 years ago this month that work began on the Stone Bank. Think of all that has changed in the world over those 112 years. And here stands the Stone Bank looking smart, strong and youthful and giving us a glimpse of how things were done all those years ago.

If you are so disposed, send along a symbolic donation of $19.00 for the year 1900. Or $112 for the bank’s age. Or any and all numbers in between — or above.

We have work to do this year on the Stone Bank and need some donations to make that happen.

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

July 20, 2012

No flowers? No card? Our 1st Anniversary

Posted in Bottineau, Life, Photos, Updates tagged , , , at 5:44 pm by stonebankblog

Uh-oh. There’s trouble when you forget an anniversary — and your Stone Bank Blogger was so distracted by the clouds yesterday that a Touchstones’ anniversary went unmentioned.

On July 19, 2011, Touchstones purchased the Stone Bank from its owner of 50 years.

It’s been a whirlwind year and we’ve made a lot of progress. We couldn’t have made it without the support and thoughtful work of our architect, contractor and stone mason.

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So let’s stop, draw breath and raise a  “Happy Anniversary” toast to the Stone Bank — now in its 112th year.

And remember, the first anniversary is the “paper” anniversary.  So, if you have some green paper (as in cash) you want to send our way. We won’t object.

After the first blush of love, our second year will be one in which we  build a stronger foundation under the Stone Bank.

If you can help, click the PayPal link in the right-hand column, or send a check to Touchstones, 524 Main St., Bottineau, ND 58318.

Confetti! Rice! Air kisses!  And thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

July 19, 2012

Fabulous Clouds — No Rain

Posted in Bottineau, Life, Photos tagged , , at 10:40 pm by stonebankblog

One of the great things about North Dakota is the sky.

Sure, there is sky everywhere — but here on the plains you can really SEE the sky. Experience in it in all its glory.

This evening was one of those times for slowing down and gawking as roiling, colorful, fast-moving clouds rolled by.

Sunset near Bottineau, ND on July 19, 2012

A sweltering day gave way to a breezy evening with great thunderheads rolling past. The clouds turned creamy and peachy as the sun set. Simply awesome.

Sadly, the clouds only spit a little as they put on their show.  We could use a little cloudburst right about now.

Also, your Stone Bank Blogger accidentally deleted the best picture — so this is second best, but still lovely.

Anyway, wherever you are. Take a moment to watch the clouds or study the stars. It’s a great way to wind down after a hot summer day.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

July 18, 2012

Totally Jazzed!

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, History, Life, Photos, Updates tagged , , , at 2:01 pm by stonebankblog

OK. Let’s take a break from talking about stone and talk about jazz.

Heck, let’s take a break from everything and listen to jazz. How about LIVE jazz? And, well, the admission is FREE.

Dean McNeill

Dean McNeill, a University of Saskatchewan professor and International Music Camp teacher, will be among the performers on Friday.

If you’re interested, gas up the car and head to the International Peace Garden on Friday evening.

That’s where the faculty of the Music Camp‘s jazz week will be playing a concert.

In all, 17 professional musicians — 5 trumpets, 5 saxophones, 3 trombones, guitar, drums, piano and bass. The band makes gorgeous music.

All the details are in this story, which ran today in the Brandon Sun.

Too tired to read? How about listening to this story from Prairie Public Radio?

The Peace Garden and Music Camp are about 30 miles from the Stone Bank.

OK. Now back to the Stone Bank.

You really didn’t think we weren’t going to talk about the Stone Bank, did you?

We’re jazzed to celebrate the beginnings of our stone building — the project began 112 years ago this month.We’d love to get a few birthday cards with checks inside. How about a symbolic $19.00 donation to mark the year that the construction started?

Or $112 for every year that the Stone Bank has been standing.  Now, that would be totally jazzy!

Stone mason Joe Whetter

Stone mason Joe Whetter  worked in the cold last fall to dismantle part of the Stone Bank. He is ready to put it back together — but we need the money to pay him. Can you help?

We’ve got a PayPal link on this page — and/or you can mail your well-wishes to 524 Main Street in Bottineau, ND 58318.

See you at the Peace Garden on Friday — and thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

July 7, 2012

Stone Quote #3

Posted in Bottineau, History, Life, Stone Quotes, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , , , at 6:48 pm by stonebankblog

International Peace Garden

Another great quote etched in limestone at the Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden.

Isn’t this a great quote?

The Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden never ceases to inspire. Depending on my mood or the day or current events a different quote strikes me as “more” meaningful on every visit.

At the Stone Bank, we are working to raise $40,000 to help raise (rebuild) the back of our building this year.

“The only hope of preserving what is best lies in the practice of an immense charity…”

It’s as simple as that. We think the Stone Bank is “the best,” and we are working hard to keep it standing for another 112 years. We could use “immense charity” to get going on this year’s  work. Remember, the Stone Bank is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization — so your contribution is tax-deductible.

What’s the plan? A sketch of the overall plan is here. (Scroll to the second half of the story for the plan!)

Want to review earlier quotes? Stone Quote #1 and Stone Quote #2.

Want to make a donation? Click the DONATE NOW icon in the right column. Or send a check to Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main Street, Bottneau, ND 58318!

Fossil embedded in limestone panel at the Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden.

July 4, 2012

Celebrating the 4th — and 3rd — Stone Bank way

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Life at 12:57 pm by stonebankblog

Happy Independence Day from the Stone Bank

How about some news from 1899 — as one newspaper editor urged the city’s founders to plan a celebration?

From the June 9, 1899, Bottineau News — a call to action!

Bottineau News masthead 1899

Bottineau News item 6.9.1899

From the same day’s newspaper a paragraph below:

Bottineau News, 6.9.1899

A week later — ACTION. From the June 16, 1899, Bottineau News — the town founders appoint a committee.

(Funny how little things change, eh?)

Bottineau News item 6.16.1899

Now, can anyone tell me — without looking it up — what the heck is a Calathumpian parade?

Well, it looks like they got organized and had a July 4th celebration in 1899.

Just over a year later, in July 1900, work began on the “fine stone building” we now call the Stone Bank.

In 2012, a splendid and well-attended July 3 fireworks display drew a good crowd to nearby Lake Metigoshe, straddling the U.S.-Canadian border. Perhaps 100 or more speedboats and pontoons floated in the bay, and hundreds more gathered along the shoreline to watch the bombs bursting in air over Masonic Island. The night was sultry. and a full moon rose behind a thin veil of clouds to watch over the event.

Can’t tell you why the 4th is celebrated on the 3rd here. I suspect it has something to do with the annual Skinautiques waterskiing show at Lake Metigoshe being scheduled for last night — but that’s just a guess. The Stone Bank blogger’s b.f. said he overheard a girl of about 5 quizzing her mother about this very topic. “Why do we have fireworks on July 3rd for the 4th of July?” the girl asked between oohs and aahs. “Because then families can celebrate together on the 4th,” the mom said. “Aren’t we a family?” the girl said, looking over at her dad and brother. “Of course,” mom said. “Well, I wish we could cell-a-bate tonight, because I like these fireworks!”

Wherever you and your family are, and however you celebrate, have a happy and safe 4th of July!

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