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.










November 17, 2016

Project Status: Give to the Max today

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:34 pm by stonebankblog

windows3Today is Give to the Max Day, which is an initiative started by GiveMN, an offshoot of Minnesota Community Foundation. And here we are, a couple residing in Wisconsin most of the year, asking people from Minnesota and beyond to make donations to a nonprofit restoration project in remote Bottineau, North Dakota.givemax2016logo

Why, considering all of the other nonprofits with great causes closer to home, should you make a contribution to the Stone Bank Project today?

Maybe because we need it more than most. Maybe because you’re a supportive friend. Or maybe because you realize that they’re not hand-building Main Street anchors out of millennial-old stone boulders anymore. If this project fails and they tear down this landmark, we all lose a part of our pioneer history that is unrecoverable, unique and yet universal.

The State Historical Society of North Dakota has recognized this with a $20,000 grant to the Stone Bank Project that must be matched, dollar for dollar, by April 15. That’s where you come in. Every dollar you contribute to the Stone Bank on Give to the Max Day  or any day goes directly toward matching that grant and, ultimately, paying for the $58,000 worth of work our contractors will do to enclose the back quarter of the Stone Bank building.

As you can see in the slide show on our fresh new home page, StoneBank.org, we have raised the funds to excavate a basement foundation, install a heated concrete floor and raise concrete-block support walls. The materials for the first floor decking are here. Now we need to fund their installation, the raising of the support walls to the roof and the extension of the insulated membrane roof already on the front three-quarters of the building.(Much of this work can proceed now — if we can pay the contractors. So give today.)

We are so close to getting this done. The only thing we need is a financial boost to pay for the labor and materials. And we really need to enclose the building, which as been partially open to the elements for a couple of years. That exposure takes a toll — so in 2016 your support is critical.(We pay no salaries, all donations go directly to project costs.)

Please include the Stone Bank in your Give to the Max contributions today and beyond. (And if the Give to the Max site is down or too slow, please use our gofundme page — or send us a good old-fashioned check, made out to our nonprofit, Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.) Thank you!

Sharon and Mike

August 1, 2015

Vintage vehicles, yes, but the Stone Bank beats them all

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:56 pm by stonebankblog

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Built in 1900, the Stone Bank was standing before the first car came to Bottineau, but for today’s 4th Annual Car Show, the Stone Bank and the rest of Main Street is merely a backdrop. The show features beautifully restored cars and pickup trucks, along with a few motorcycles, a fire truck and even a vintage kid’s pedal car. Imagine if Bottineau-area car enthusiasts put that much care and money into restoring the Stone Bank building!

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.

December 18, 2014

Coghlan Castle — The Next Step

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:28 pm by stonebankblog

Someone asked me today about “that castle in North Dakota,” and I knew exactly what they meant. It’s time to revisit a blog post about the beautiful Coghlan Castle near St. John, ND.

Make a donation to help restore the Stone Bank and I will meet you in ND and take you to see the castle (and, of course, the Stone Bank).


$5 million! That’s how much it would take to completely repair and restore the Coghlan Castle near St. John, N.D.

Not going to happen, says Becky Leonard, the spark plug behind saving this striking and rare stone building.

Becky and other Coghlan Castle fans have worked hard to stabilize the building and to make critical repairs to keep it standing. More stone will be reattached to the facade — but, for now, that’s about where the project will stand.

This year’s goal is to install an interpretive sign near the castle, so interested passersby can stop, take a look and go away knowing “what the heck that building is.”

I have misplaced my notes from my lunch with Becky, who has been involved in historic preservation for years. But she is to be complimented for pushing hard to save this building.

She said the the architect hopes to some day…

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December 13, 2014

Stone Quote No. 11

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 2:05 pm by stonebankblog

We are feeling kind of philosophical as the end of the year draws near. We are proud of our progress on restoring the bank and eager for what comes next.

Stone Bank restoration project, Bottineau ND

From the Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden near Dunseith, ND.

Yes. We are looking ahead with optimism to the next step in our project. In 2015, we WILL raise the back of the building and put the roof on. PERIOD. We are ready to go. Our greatest concern is hiring the help to do the heavy lifting.

Because of the oil boom in North Dakota, it has been excessively difficult to find the skilled labor (plumber, electrician and contractor) that we need to get this done. With oil prices down, the prediction is that oil exploration will slow. That could be good new for us — because some of the building trades guys might have time to work with us.

We also need to match a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota. That will go a long way to enclosing the building in 2015. (We actually hope to get the floor joists in place this winter — as soon as the plumber finishes his work in our brand new basement.)

As you make your charitable gifts at the end of 2014, please make a gift to the Stone Bank restoration. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your gift is tax deductible. Your gift will move the Stone Bank closer to its new life as a working building on Bottineau’s Main Street! We are on the right road!

Learn more about the project, the bank’s history, make a contribution or dedicate a stone on our website.

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

October 27, 2014

Honor Abe and the Stone Bank

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:18 pm by stonebankblog

We posted this challenge more than a year ago, and we had our first giver! Our friend Jean handed over her penny jar and we hope you will follow her lead. We are trying to fill a huge pickle jar with change on Nov. 9 at the fall craft fair at the Bottineau Armory.


Today is not only Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but it is also National Lost Penny Day.

According to giftypdia.com (all about gifts and celebrations): “The first U.S. penny was minted in 1787 and was made of pure copper and was designed by Benjamin Franklin. On February 12th, 1909, marking the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the first Lincoln penny was issued. It was the first regular issue U.S. coin to honor an actual person. On Lost Penny Day, gather all those pennies you have been collecting and cash them in.”

So, do you have a dish or jar full of pennies that you have set aside? Why not cash them in and give the proceeds to the Stone Bank for its restoration project?

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” – Abraham Lincoln.

A gift to the Stone Bank, no matter how small…

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October 26, 2014

Rock, Paper or Pennies!

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:19 pm by stonebankblog

Greetings! We have had a rather long hiatus from the blog — but rest assured we are still hard at work on restoring the Stone Bank. In fact, we are working on rebuilding the back 20 feet of the building … and we need your help.

We have a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota and we need a dollar-for-dollar match.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to help. How about sharing your spare change like our friend Jean did!

Every penny will help us put the Stone Bank back together again.

We will be at the Fall Craft Show at the Bottineau Armory on Saturday, November 8. Help us fill our pickle jar with coins to benefit the Stone Bank. Stop by and say hi, buy a T-shirt or dedicate a Stone. We always love to talk about the project.

December 6, 2013

Wisdom and Patience

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:41 pm by stonebankblog

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” Nelson Mandela.
We are inspired by his patience and wisdom.

It isn’t impossible. We will get it done.

November 10, 2013

Stone Bank T Flies Through ORD

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:09 pm by stonebankblog

Stone Bank T Flies Through ORD

Here’s a Stone Bank friend, Karen M., on her journey home from a visit to Bottineau. Look! Look! Karen wore her lovely Stone Bank T-shirt on the journey. Where are you wearing your Stone Bank T? We would love to share your photo here during #NaBloPoMo. Don’t have a T-shirt yet? Order one online or stop by 4J’s Sporting Goods on Main Street in Bottineau and pick one up. They make excellent traveling wear and stocking stuffers.

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