June 7, 2017

We aren’t crazy optimists; We’re ahead of the curve!

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Fundraising, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 12:14 am by stonebankblog

Restoring a landmark in ND. The Stone Bank

Sharon Kessler and Joe Whetter are spearheading the effort to return the Stone Bank to use. It was built in 1900 with stones carried to North Dakota by glaciers.

Joe Whetter and I were classmates at Bottineau High, but we didn’t know each other well. I am not sure we ever spoke in high school. But for the past six years, we have talked a lot about and worked to restore and repurpose a beautiful stone building on Bottineau’s Main Street that we now call the Stone Bank.

Joe, a stone mason, has done the heavy lifting – lending his know-how and strength to the project. Me? I  write grant proposals, do  fundraising and lead the board of a nonprofit dedicated to repairing the Stone Bank.

Our goal is to retain the building’s historic character while making it useful for another 100 years.

Since 2011, we have encountered asbestos, a very leaky roof and a crumbling back wall. Joe dismantled the back 20 feet of the building so we could put in a new foundation and rebuild the back.

We have worked with architects, historians and community members to meet this challenge – and it has taken time to raise the money to help us move the project along.

Fast forward to 2017. Smart Growth America, a D.C. nonprofit, says we are not crazy optimists – we are ahead of the curve!

Smart Growth works across the U.S. with elected officials, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, urban and rural planners and community groups and leaders in D.C. to improve everyday life for people across the country through better development.

In 2016, a Smart Growth team visited Bottineau, toured the community and surrounding area and met community leaders to help craft a vision for Bottineau’s future development. The resulting report offered six recommendations to help Bottineau remain a vibrant and growing community.

Guess what?

The No. 1 recommendation was “restore and repurpose historic structures for community revitalization.” Read the Smart Growth report.

The Smart Growth report specifically cites the Stone Bank Project and its slow progress because of “a lack of funds.” So, there you have it.

A great idea. A work in progress.

A lack of funds.

 

 

Yearbook Bottineau ND Stone Bank

The Class of ’72 yearbook cover broke new ground with an abstract image of the Bottineau High entrance by our classmate Morris McKnight.

Forty-five years ago, the Class of ’72 graduated with eyes trained on the future. Now, honoring the past can be our legacy.

We are asking our high school classmates to lend a hand in the Stone Bank restoration. No heavy lifting involved. We are challenging each of our classmates to contribute $100 (or whatever you can give) to help pay for enclosing the new basement.

By June 30, we need to make a dollar-for-dollar match of a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota. If we can’t raise the match, we leave some part of the money for reconstruction on the table.

And we want other BHS grads to join the effort. Let’s see which class can move the most stone. Rock on!

All donations go straight to the project, and your donation will make a difference in 2017. In total, we only need to raise $53,000 (including $20k from the state) to enclose the building. Can you help?

Time is of the essence if we hope to claim the full $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of ND.

We have started a Go Fund Me campaign for online giving. Or you can mail a check to Touchstones.Inc. (The Stone Bank Project), PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

We also accept gifts by PayPal.

Does your employer match your charitable gifts?

Touchstones is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit – so your gift is tax deductible AND eligible for an employer match.

Please, make a donation today.  If you love Bottineau and its historic buildings, today is the day to show your support. Your gift WILL make a difference.

Thank you.

Sharon Kessler, a cockeyed optimist from the BHS Class of ’72

April 3, 2017

It’s time to finish this…

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, Fundraising, Life, Main Street, Photos, Pictures, Promotions/Contests, Recommended Reading, Renovation, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 12:29 pm by stonebankblog

Let’s face it. WE are living in historic times! It was a winter of historic snowfall in Bottineau, but our friend Spring is finally pushing the snow into memory. It’s time to seize the moment and get back to the important work of enclosing the Stone Bank.

Of course, it’s always about the bottom line. That’s the challenge. And we are asking our classmates in the BHS Class of ’72 to lead the way. How? It’s easy.

front window

We are challenging each member of the Class of ’72 to donate $100 to restoring the Stone Bank. We have lost five classmates far too young, and it would be marvelous if each of us donated in memory of those friends as well.

Those $100 donations would bring $7,000 to a project that really needs a financial shot in the arm. Together, we can give the project a boost and inspire giving from others with ties to Bottineau.

Why the class of ’72? Good question. Well, two of your classmates have been doing the heavy lifting on this restoration project. Joe Whetter, is a stone mason and an amazing advocate and partner on this project. I (Sharon Kessler) founded a nonprofit, have coordinated fundraising and planning to advance the project since 2011.

Now, we really need your help. It’s easy to give online. You can give by credit card through PayPal, Razoo or GiveMN.

Or you can send a check: Touchstones, Inc., PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318

The time is now. We can’t do this alone. We need to make progress on the building in 2017 to keep the structure from deteriorating. It has been open to the elements for a couple of years. We need to show community participation and interest to generate grants — so your contribution really does make a difference. In total, we need to raise $58,000 to enclose the structure. Can you help?

Frankly, we are at a point in life, where many of us are thinking about legacy — the difference we made in the world. The good we will leave behind. This is a great chance for you to help preserve a piece of Bottineau history and make it useful for future generations of those who will call Bottineau home. Your $100 gift added to those of other classmates really will make a difference.

Please make a gift today, so we can move forward with restoring this community treasure. Let’s get this done, together.

sk joe at bank 2

Joe Whetter and Sharon Kessler, BHS Class of ’72

We would love to hear from you. Please send a note, your ideas and memories of Bottineau for the blog to touchstones.inc@gmail.com. Guest blog entries are also welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

August 25, 2013

Progress in the Pit

Posted in Main Street, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , at 11:06 am by stonebankblog

We’re not talking barbecue here. We’re talking concrete and stone! And we are cooking, now!

The new footings are in at the Stone Bank. They need a week or so to cure — and then the rebuilding can begin.

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The site was wet, because we found an old wellhead in the excavated site. This was the area where we found all the old bottles in the excavation. Makes sense. They didn’t have recycling bins in 1900, when the bank was built, so they tossed bottles into the well. We found out from a source at City Hall that several other old buildings on Main Street also have old wells.

What did we do? Our crew pumped out and filled the old well. Then the site had to dry out before we could proceed with the footings. We were also behind a much larger project at the Botno Readi Mix plant — so we also had to wait on our concrete.

Now the waiting is over and we can move on to rebuilding. As we finish the support structure in the coming weeks, we will install drain tile and make room for a sump pump, so the new basement will stay dry.

Now we need your help to make the rebuild happen. Yes, we have been fortunate in our grantwriting. But we need donations from the public to match the grants and keep things moving.

Can you help now? This is the turning point for the project. With your help, we will get this building up and the roof on this fall.

It’s easy: Dedicate a stone. Buy a T-shirt. Send a check or use our handy PayPal link to send a donation online. Help us rebuild this wonderful, historic building and put it back to use.

We know you care about this building, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Please take the next step and help us move some stone.

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

August 2, 2013

New Stone Bank shirts come out for ‘Crazy Days’

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, Main Street, Promotions/Contests, Uncategorized, Volunteers at 12:24 am by stonebankblog

Advisory Board member Mike Dorsher unveiled our new T-shirts Thursday at "Crazy Days" on Bottineau's Main Street. Touchstones President Sharon Kessler will be at the table Saturday afternoon. Come see us! Photo by Wenche Brandon N'Kjell-Hensch

Advisory Board member Mike Dorsher unveiled our new T-shirts Thursday at “Crazy Days” on Bottineau’s Main Street. Touchstones President Sharon Kessler will be at the table Saturday afternoon. Come see us! Photo by Wenche Brandon N’Kjell-Hensch

“They” said we were crazy to save the Stone Bank building, so that must mean we’re the perfect participants for “Crazy Days” on Bottineau’s Main Street!

The event started Thursday and continues through Saturday afternoon. On Friday and Saturday there will be huge, inflatable play stations for kids right on our corner at Main and Sixth Streets. Merchants all up and down Main Street are offering crazy bargains on their sidewalks, and we’re proud to be one of them for the first time.

For a donation of just $15, you can get one of our colorful new “Stone Bank” T-shirts — in unisex sizes from medium all the up to 3X for the steel blue and in smaller-running women’s sizes S to 3X in the “antique cherry red.” You can also order our T-shirts and wristbands online here (with free shipping!), but if you stop by our Crazy Days table, you might win one for free. We’re giving away one women’s shirt and one blue unisex shirt to the gal and guy who come closest to guessing how many stones from our site are in the big plastic container on our table. You can enter for free, and you can also take our free survey about what the Stone Bank building should house when we finish preserving it in the next couple years — with your help!

So whether or not you can come see us at Crazy Days, please go a little crazy with your pocketbook and buy a new Stone Bank T-shirt, dedicate a stone in the name of a loved one or simply make a contribution using the PayPal or Razoo links to the right. Thank you!

June 13, 2013

Visit us at the Bottineau County Fair!

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Main Street, Promotions/Contests, Uncategorized, Volunteers at 1:03 pm by stonebankblog

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Today through Sunday afternoon, we will be one of the featured exhibitors at the Bottineau County Fair. Stop by and say, “Hi”; examine the architect’s blueprints for our Stone Bank Project; sign up for a daily drawing for a “Preservation Rocks!” T-shirt; get a wristband for $1 (or free, if you sign up for our email newsletters); and most helpful of all, sign up for our “Dedicate a Stone” fundraiser, at levels ranging from $25 to $500. We can even put through a credit card transaction from here at the fair.

Started in 1875, the Bottineau County Fair is the oldest county fair in North Dakota. It’s even 25 years older than the Stone Bank building. So what better place to publicize Bottineau County’s most historic Main Street building than at Bottineau’s historic county fair?

And even if you can’t make it to Bottineau for the County Fair, you can still “Dedicate a Stone” on our website — and buy a T-shirt or wristband here. Plus, if you “follow” this blog by signing up in the lower-right corner of this page, you’ll be on our list for email newsletters in the future.

Hope to see you at the fair. But right now, I have to go over to the First Lutheran lunch stand for my first piece of apple pie!

— By Mike Dorsher, Stone Bank advisory board member and webmaster

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

October 1, 2012

Stone Love in the Mail!

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , at 11:43 pm by stonebankblog

Sometimes the mailbox can be the bearer of bad news and bills. But some days it’s full of birthday cards and good wishes.

A while back we got a great letter from Scott Swanson and he gave us permission to share it with our blog followers.

Scott’s dad owned the Stone Bank for about 50 years — so Scott spent a lot of time during his childhood inside the bank and  outside — shoveling.

Here’s his letter:

Stone Bank Bottineau

Letter from Scott Swanson, used with his permission.

If you read this blog, you know that we are working hard to raise the money to continue work to save this wonderful structure. Can you help? We have $25,000 in grant money, but we need to match that with local funds to put the building back on solid footing and move it closer to a new life.

Stone Bank Bottineau ND

This picture from the Historical Society of ND show the Stone Bank in the 1970s. Do you suppose the 10-speed bike is Scott Swanson’s? Maybe.

Invite your friends and relatives to check out the blog or http://www.StoneBank.org. If you want to fill the Stone Bank’s mailbox with love and good wishes. Send your check to: Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main Street, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

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.

September 8, 2012

Ahh, the beauty of flowers

Posted in Bottineau, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 11:57 am by stonebankblog

Blooming flowers add a nice touch to the Stone Bank’s front facade.

Summer brings a bit of extra color to flower boxes on Bottineau’s Main Street. We are lucky to have one of the planters in full bloom outside the Stone Bank. It looks just great against the bank’s warm stone exterior.

What’s up with the project? We are working to raise $20,000 in matching funds for a State Historical Society grant, so work can proceed on the back of the building. We’re hoping to start work in October. Can you help? There is a PayPal link on this page, or you can send a check to Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main St., PO Box 272. Bottineau, ND 58318.

We recently had a nice $2,500 donation from Otter Tail Power. That’s a great start for our fall work. Jump in. Every dollar helps. Seriously, every dollar helps.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

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