June 25, 2017

The Will to Do — The Soul to Dare

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Fundraising, Photos, Pictures, Updates at 9:46 pm by stonebankblog

Zoink! It has been 45 years since the Class of ’72 graduated — and today it turns out that our class motto has stood the test of time. In fact, it seems that our motto is also the perfect slogan for the Stone Bank project.

Class of '72 Challenge

It still works! Our class motto is also a good slogan for the Stone Bank project.

Class of '72 Challenge with yearbook photos

Jacalyn Larson and Leland Larshus graduated in 1972 from Bottineau High.

Brian Zahn, a member of the Class of '72

Brian Zahn, Class of ’72, still styling in 2017.

In the final days of June, we have the “soul to dare” that we can raise some matching funds to continue work on the Stone Bank this summer.

We are challenging all the members of the Class of ’72 to make a donation to the Stone Bank project — to help get the back of the building enclosed this year.

And we are asking all BHS grads to step up and also make a contribution in 2017, too.

The budget to enclose the back of the building is roughly $54,000. We have a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of ND that we need to match by June 30.

Can you help?

If we don’t match the grant, we leave that money on the table. That’s why we are asking for your donations by Friday.

You can give online with a credit card by using Go Fund Me.

Did You Know?

Saving historic buildings makes economic sense?

Indeed, in late 2016 a team from Smart Growth American toured Bottineau and met with community leaders to discuss a vision for Bottineau’s future development.

Smart Growth works with communities across the U.S.  to improve everyday life with better development.

After its visit to Bottineau, it offered six recommendations to help Bottineau remain a vibrant and growing community.

Its #1 recommendation is to preserve Bottineau’s historic buildings.

The gist is this.

We are not crazy optimists – we are ahead of the curve!  The Smart Growth report mentioned the Stone Bank project as something to invest in. Check out the details on our blog.

A gift to this project will leave a lasting mark in Bottineau.

The Stone Bank was built in 1900 by pioneers. We want to repair and restore it to last another century.

When a lot of people give a little each, it adds up quickly.  We are asking all BHS grads to have the will to do and the soul to dare to help turn the Stone Bank into a useful, restored building on Main Street.

YES. USEFUL!

We are adding a handicap entrance at the back of the building — so it will accommodate everyone when it is complete.

Please join us and make a gift today.

Another Way You Can Help

Share this post with your friends and family.

We haven’t been able to reach all of our Class of ’72 classmates. Bev Waters is someone we would like to reconnect with. If you’re in touch with her, please share this blog post with her.

As you know, people move on. They leave ND, and we lose touch. So, help us reconnect, if you can.

These photos are from the 1972 yearbook — which in its day broke some new ground.

Let’s break some ground together in 2017 and successfully restore one of Bottineau’s coolest buildings.  Please join the Class of ’72 in putting the Stone Bank back together again!

You can mail a check to: Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318

Class of '72 Challenge with a photo of graduation night

Joe Whetter, center, served in the Marines after high school and he is doing the heavy lifting on the Stone Bank as our stone mason.

We know that everyone from the Girl Scouts to your church asks for donations. We get it.

But imagine the pride you will have in the Stone Bank when it reopens as an office, a store or a coffee shop in the next couple of years. Your gift will create a lasting legacy to future generations of Bottineau residents. Give today. Our fundraising deadline for this grant is Friday, June 30.

PRESERVATION ROCKS!

LET’S ROCK THIS CHALLENGE!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 7, 2015

Labor Day XXX’s and OOO’s

Posted in Bottineau, Photos, Renovation, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 11:24 am by stonebankblog

Let’s hear it for the working man… and woman. We hope you are taking a break and enjoying the day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This Labor Day, we are especially grateful for our Stone Bank team. They are doing the heavy lifting to help bring this historic building back to life.

They are ready to get back to work, but we need the money to pay for their time and effort.

Every donation to our 501(c)(3) goes directly to materials and labor. Your donation will make a difference. Please make one today.

Honor a loved one by dedicating a stone. Add to your T-shirt collection by making a $15 donation.

Or just help us move the project forward with a contribution to the project. Links for online giving are in the right column, or you can mail a check to: Touchstones, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

If you need a “Dedicate a Stone” form, we will send you one.

We are very thankful for the resourcefulness and tenacity of our contractors. They give us a lot and we want them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Please make a donation today to honor their work to finish enclosing the building.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

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.

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.

image

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!

July 11, 2015

Mud, stone and progress

Posted in Dismantling the back, Fundraising, Photos, Uncategorized, Updates at 5:55 pm by stonebankblog

OK. Sure. It looks like a muddy hole in the ground.

But we look in that hole and see PROGRESS!

Why? Because, dear friends, that black round object in the photo below is a sewage lift pump that has been installed in the Stone Bank’s new basement.  

 

We had to wait through the winter and a very chilly spring to have the pump installed. It has seals that can’t be exposed to extreme cold. And then, we had to wait our turn for a very busy plumber.

But finally. The lift pump is in and we are moving forward.

Here’s what you’re seeing in the photo above: At rear is the original foundation of the Stone Bank building from 1900. The section of the building that we dismantled was sitting on shallow footings — and from the opening at left, there was only a crawl space under the back of the building. At right, you can see the new foundation wall that extends 20 feet from the back of the building. Deep footings and a proper basement are ready to support the building again. With the plumbing roughed in, the work is progressing on finishing the basement floor in poured concrete.

We must complete this part of the project by the end of July to collect a grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota. We need your help to make this happen.

This is the time to make a donation. Every penny donated will go toward rebuilding the back of this wonderful, historic building on Bottineau’s Main Street. 

Make a contribution today. We really need everyone’s support to move this from mud to marvelous!

Send a check to: Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

Find our PayPal and Razoo online giving accounts on the side panel of the blog!

Thanks to all of our longtime supporters. If you have been waiting to give. NOW is really a good time.

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!
volunteer053015
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!

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