October 25, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge — Horizon

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 11:37 pm by stonebankblog

near Bottineau, ND

In North Dakota it’s all about the horizon. View from Mystical Horizons near Bottineau.

Big sky2Check out our fabulous ND pics on our website.


September 21, 2013

Summer’s clean up; for fall — forward!

Posted in Dismantling the back, History, Photos, Renovation, Uncategorized, Updates at 10:33 pm by stonebankblog

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the seasons changed this weekend, so did the landscape at the Stone Bank Project.

Responding to complaints from the Bottineau City Council, workers cleaned up the construction site at the back of the bank building. First they used a skid loader to move all of the pallets of disassembled stone from the back lot to a nearby space, then they plowed under all of the weeds that had grown among the stones this summer. Ultimately, they moved more than a dozen pallets of concrete block off of 6th Street and onto the Stone Bank’s property.

In October, stone mason Joe Whetter says, he and his crew will install those concrete blocks on the footings they poured last month. The blocks will form the interior wall onto which Whetter will re-assemble the stone facade next spring.

Whetter admits that progress on the Stone Bank Project has come in fits and starts this summer, partly because of all the early rains and partly because larger projects elsewhere kept him and subcontractors preoccupied. But now that it’s fall, he is finishing those summer projects and promising to harvest his groundwork at the Stone Bank.

If he does, it won’t be the building’s first season of change. After all, Bottineau’s pioneers built the entire Stone Bank in the final six months of 1900.

The Stone Bank was built as Bottineau County Bank

The Stone Bank as it looked in 1901. It’s a swell building, isn’t it? Good bone structure makes it very good looking.

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 14, 2013

It’s big dig day at the Stone Bank

Posted in Dismantling the back, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Renovation, Uncategorized, Updates, Volunteers at 7:50 pm by stonebankblog

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Can you dig it? Yes, we can!

Or at least, Mikkelsen Aggregates can. What a HUGE favor Monte Mikkelsen did the Stone Bank Project today by donating more than $2,300 worth of excavator, dump trucks and crew to dig out the basement for a firm new foundation.

Daryle “Junior” Lorenz and his athletic son, Austyn, 15, expertly excavated an area about 33 feet long by 25 feet wide by 6 feet deep. That’s about 5,000 cubic feet of rocky rubble, dirt and clay gone in one day. They even worked through a midday thunderstorm that threatened to leave the Stone Bank as the only building on Bottineau’s Main Street with its own pool.

“This is a giant step forward,” said Sharon Kessler, president of Touchstones, Inc., the nonprofit organization formed to save and re-purpose the Stone Bank building. “We can’t thank Monte Mikkelsen enough for making it possible for us to complete the disassembly of the back quarter of the building — and he did it in time to complete the matching of our $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota. We’ve been tearing down for two years; now we can start to build it back up!”

Stone mason Joe Whetter said he’ll pour concrete for the foundation and footings this week. He has already had 17 pallets of concrete block delivered to the site. He’ll use that to build the interior walls this summer, so we can extend the new insulated roof by fall and do interior work over the winter.

During today’s excavation, Austyn pulled seven bottles and part of a wine glass from the dirt and rubble. At least one of them dates to the 19th century. It held a “vegetable compound” patent medicine reputed to cure all “female complaints.”

“Getting this foundation dug in time to meet our grant match cured my complaints,” Kessler said. “Now if we can just get some more grants and matching local contributions, maybe we can get the Stone Bank ready for a cafe that serves coffee and vegetable soup, if not vegetable compounds.”

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

June 5, 2013

Weathered men vs. stone and concrete

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Renovation, Uncategorized, Updates, Volunteers at 11:57 am by stonebankblog

It felt pretty manly for a mild-mannered college professor to pick up a Hilte power hammer and start pounding away at the concrete and stone where the building and sidewalk have been fighting each other.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But after seven hours of scraping and hammering away — by hand, Hilte, chisel and crowbar — with a cold rain beating at my bald head, I knew that the prehistoric stone in this 113-year-old building would be the enduring element in this battle.

Still, by the end of the day, stone mason Joe Whetter, his helper Adrian Suchan and I had accomplished what we set out to do: We gave the Stone Bank a little breathing room by cutting back the sidewalk enough to insert a rubberized expansion joint. No longer will the sidewalk be cracking the building’s foundation and letting in water as they both go through the freeze-thaw cycle that almost never ends in Bottineau. The whole key to the Stone Bank Project is making the building water-tight again. Whetter dismantled the back 20 feet of the building, stone by stone, because a leaky roof and shallow foundation had made it start to crumble. We put a new, super-insulated roof on the front 60 feet of the building, and we’ll extend that to the back this year once Whetter and contractor Fred Kainz construct a deep, solid foundation and rebuild the back walls.

But meanwhile, while they wait for the rains to subside so they can finish pouring the foundation, we went to work on the nagging base problem — so we don’t end up with a water-tight roof and stone walls, only to have the concrete sidewalk undermine the building’s foundation. The result: “Score” one for the team of Whetter, Suchan and your aching-armed Stone Bank guest blogger.

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

P.S. For a more comprehensive slideshow on the Stone Bank Project, visit our all-new home page at http://www.StoneBank.org

January 14, 2013

2012 in review

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 11:21 pm by stonebankblog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for the Stone Bank Blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

December 28, 2012

Rockin’ Out 2012

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:04 pm by stonebankblog

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

Peek-a-boo! Behind the North Wall — another wall. The concrete block wall of the building next door is framed by stones of the Stone Bank’s North Wall.  The first step in the dismantling process.

Seriously, we don’t want no trouble here.

The Stone Bank’s North wall abuts the wall of another downtown building. So, our stone mason is proceeding with caution as he  begins to dismantle the wall.

Today, after he pulled some stone and fill from the North wall, Joe Whetter, our stone mason, described what he found behind it as ” good concrete block wall behind  2 foot thick stone wall.”

The stone wall is the Stone Bank’s North Wall, the “good concrete block wall” belongs to the building next door.

Whew!  That means we are good to go — go carefully.  Now, Joe will dismantle 20 feet of the North wall and the remaining above-grade foundation at the back of the Stone Bank.

Deconstruction at rear of Stone Bank building in Bottineau, ND

The exposed wall at left is what we call the North wall. It is being dismantled to make way for a foundation repair on the Stone Bank. The above-above grade foundation is also being removed.

It does seem strange that moving these heavy stones is actually delicate work. But so it is. Here’s a video from December 2011, as Joe and crew took down the Stone Bank’s  South wall.

And it’s cold work. But Joe isn’t talking about the cold. He is focused on getting the North Wall down and prepping the site for foundation work in the spring.

As part of the work going on now, our contractor, Fred Kainz, will remove the rotted flooring (water damage) from the back of the building, too.

And then we will be ready for the next step: Putting a new foundation under the back section of the building. Then the plan is to raise the back of the building and reapply the face stones. So, it will look the same as it has for 112 years, but it will be sturdier than ever.

Local donors have helped us match a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota. And yet, we need to raise another $25,000 to get the back of the building put back together.

Excavation and footings:  $4,110.

Foundation walls: $6,444.

Materials to rebuild 20 foot section of building: $12,000.

You know, all the little things add up.

If you know an angel, send ’em our way.  If you want to make a year-end tax-deductible contribution, sent it our way.  Tell your friends. Wish us well. Kiss the Blarney Stone and send us some luck. Whatever it takes.

You can make an online donation with PayPal or Razoo, using the links on this page.  Or send a check to  Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main Street, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

We are an all-volunteer nonprofit and every donation is spent on the project. Good bang for your buck!

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog, we are always rockin’ with news of the Stone Bank Project.

December 20, 2012

112 and Counting!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 11:40 pm by stonebankblog

December 21, 1900

The local paper touted the good news. Bottineau County Bank was ready for business.

The local paper touted the good news. Bottineau County Bank was ready for business.

Today is a big deal for the Stone Bank family, because it is the 112th anniversary of when Bottineau County Bank’s staff moved from their temporary quarters into the charming, stone building that we now call the Stone Bank.

More amazing, because construction on the stone building had taken fewer than six months.  Bottineau Courant  Editor Scott Wagar searched old newspapers and found the details.

And 100 years from now, or next year, we can celebrate the anniversary of when work continued to dismantle a stone wall to make way for a new foundation. Pictures and details coming soon. Or scroll down to the next post and learn more about the status of our project.

It’s cooooooooooooooold in North Dakota, so wish our stone mason and his crew well as they work on the Stone Bank over the next couple of weeks.  We still need to raise about $15,000 to dig the foundation in the spring and raise the back of the building again. We saved the stone, and the Stone Bank will look the same, but the nagging structural flaw will be fixed.

We are a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit, so if you are looking for a great, historic project for an end-of-year charitable contribution — we would be most grateful.

Here’s another little item from the Bottineau newspaper in 1900.

Item from 1900 newspaper

Not much has changed in 112 years. Shops on Bottineau’s Main Street in 2012 still have a great gift selection.

Best wishes for a safe and festive holiday season from your friends at the Stone Bank! And a special virtual hug to all the generous folks who share the dream of seeing the Stone Bank reborn and put back to use!

November 15, 2012

It’s Time To Act

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:30 pm by stonebankblog

Four people used our online giving portals today to send some love to the Stone Bank.

Tag, you’re it!

There are 2.5 hours left in Give to the Max Day. We don’t need the max… We need a little.

On Razoo.com, search for zip code 58318 and you will find the Stone Bank!
Come on. Make my day!

Previous page · Next page