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.

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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 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!
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!

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.

Quitting? NOT ON YOUR LIFE.

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.

November 1, 2013

Block. Mortar. Progress.

Posted in Bottineau, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , at 10:26 pm by stonebankblog

Let’s face it. This is just plain exciting for friends and fans of the Stone Bank project. Stone mason Joe Whetter and his crew are putting a foundation up where none used to exist.

Here are photos of the first day of putting down the foundation. It’s amazing how quickly Joe could lay a row of concrete block — the hard part surely was the prep work.

Stone Bank in Bottinea, ND

Sharp corner at what will be the rear of the bank.

Joe and his crew made amazing progress in a single afternoon -- and the weather (for once cooperated).

Joe and his crew made amazing progress in a single afternoon — and the weather (for once) was sweet and cooperative. Rock on!

Stone Bank in Bottineau, ND

Stone mason Joe Whetter placed horizontal reinforcement between the layers of block.

At the Stone Bank, we embrace challenge — obviously. So, we are taking up the challenge from WordPress to write a blog post every day during the month of November. It’s called NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month, and you can help! Do you have a photo of the bank or a special memory? We would love to post your guest blog this month. So send us your ideas or your posts. Send us a photo of you wearing your smashing Stone Bank T-shirt. This is going to be fun. Join us. It’s all good.

As always — thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

September 8, 2013

Looking Back … Looking Forward

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

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

Before they worked the land, settlers had to remove the stone. Photo from Westhope, ND in 1902. Teams of horses were essential to removing rock  and plowing the prairie.

Pioneers faced many hardships when they settled the area around Bottineau. Beyond the grasshoppers, the relentless wind and the remote location there were a lot of rocks in the way of successful farming.

Rock picking — and lots of it — came before planting the crop, and it is still a task for many farmers.

But all that backbreaking work had a payoff. The stalwart and clever pioneers knew that those stones made great building material. All around the Bottineau area, there are some very nice stone structures, including our favorite — the Stone Bank.

By the time the picture, above, was taken, the Stone Bank had been standing for about two years. Completed just before Christmas in 1900, the Stone Bank has stood the test of time. (Our nonprofit bought the building and began making repairs in late 2011.)

Now, we need your help bringing this historic structure back to life — and putting it back to use. We’re on our way, but we need additional funding to rebuild the back section and get the roof on in 2013. Can you help?

Buy one of our T-shirts. Dedicate a stone. Or make a donation. We really can’t get this done without community support.

Sizing up the plan for the Stone Bank Restoration Project.

Architect Bobbi Hepper Olson discussed a plan to put a new foundation at the back of the bank, for Sharon Kessler, Fred Kainz and Joe Whetter. Work is currently underway.

The Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank looks much the same as it did when it was built in 1900. We are adding a handicap entrance and new foundation at the back of the building in 2013.

Please share our blog with your friends and family. Make a donation today. We aren’t asking for any heavy lifting — just a contribution. Any amount can really make a difference. Our PayPal link and mailing address are on this page. Let’s have someone in all 50 states wearing a Stone Bank T-shirt. We can make this happen like the pioneers did — one stone at a time.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all funds go toward repairing the building. There are more photos and information on our website: StoneBank.org.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

January 4, 2013

Philosopher Stone

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Endangered buildings, History, Photos, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , at 12:01 am by stonebankblog

The first of the year is a time of beginning. Starting over. Reconsidering. Wiping the slate clean or just picking up and getting on with it.

So, that makes it the perfect time for a new stone quote and a couple shots of the Stone Bank — restoration work already in progress.

Make this the year you commit to a project bigger than yourself. Do something great for your community. For posterity. For mankind.

Or just for the heck of it.

Stone Quote No. 6

Another great quote — carved in limestone — from the Peace Chapel at the Intl. Peace Garden

Stone Bank work in Bottineau, ND

Scaffold going up at the Stone Bank. The north wall is coming down soon.

Sizing up the north wall.

The stone mason removed a few stones to check the sturdiness of the wall that abuts the north wall. Good to go.

So, we are continuing — to the end.  When weather permits, work on the Stone Bank will continue.  Scroll through our previous posts to learn more about this great building and the effort to restore it to usefulness.

Watch this space for updates, and thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

Happy New Year!

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.

June 6, 2012

Stone Quote No. 1

Posted in Life, Photos, Stone Work tagged , , , at 10:58 pm by stonebankblog

One of the great quotes in the Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden.

The Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden is a rather squat, nondescript, small modern building, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to contemplate the great quotes carved into stone slabs along the walls and to enjoy the serenity. Not sure of the type of stone, but it has many fossils, a marvelous veined texture — and, of course, the quotes.

Did you know that the Peace Garden is located conveniently near the Stone Bank? Just checking. This material may be on the test. (We will post some more “Stone Quotes” from time to time.)

Here’s a link to the Peace Garden’s website. It’s one of those places that gets better every year.

Please click the “like” button if you enjoyed this post! Thanks for checking out the Stone Bank Blog.

May 5, 2012

Pie and a Sleeping Giant

Posted in Life, Photos, Stone Work tagged , , , at 8:24 pm by stonebankblog

We’re all about stones at the Stone Bank, thus we have a profound appreciation of all rocks — especially Ireland’s.

So Ireland Week continues with a look at the Sleeping Giant near Dun Chaoin (pronounced Dunquin) — off Ireland’s west coast. (They say after Dun Chaoin the next stop is Boston.)

Sleeping Giant is one of the Blasket Islands

The Sleeping Giant is one of the Blasket Islands. The giant floats in profile with his (her?) head at the right in the picture.

Talk about an impressive rock!  It’s an amazing, mesmerizing sight and one of the highlights of  walking along this section of the breathtakingly gorgeous coast.

Here’s a link to more information about the Dingle Peninsula and Dun Chaion in particular (their site  has a picture of the giant on a clear day). It’s a very special slice of the rocky world. Wait. It’s a special slice of the rocky world with Bird’s Custard on top.

Speaking of Bird’s Custard, here’s a picture of a fabulous piece of deep-dish apple pie with warm Bird’s Custard. (Something else not to miss in Ireland.)

Apple pie in Ireland. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Our slogan at the Stone Bank is “Preservation Rocks!”  We can easily extend that to Ireland Rocks! Or, Ireland’s Rocks Rock.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog. We’re restoring an 1890s stone bank building in Bottineau, ND. Watch for more posts on Ireland’s Rocks over the next few days. Rock on!

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