May 28, 2015
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.
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!
December 25, 2014
It’s our friend MaryB in a Stone Bank T!
If you didn’t get a Stone Bank T-shirt under the tree, you can get one on your own.
A little $20 donation will bring you a new long-sleeve verions (quantities limited), or a $15 gift will get you a nice short-sleeve T. Go for it. You will be helping restore the Stone Bank.
Happy Holidays and stop back here for updates on our project. We are predicting a lot of action on the Stone Bank in 2015.
November 5, 2014
We are at the turning point in our project. Actually, we are a little past the turning point. We are rebuilding the rear 20 feet of the Stone Bank. This is HUGE! As our stone mason Joe says: “We are out of the hole.”
Next up: roughing in the plumbing, pouring the concrete floor in our new basement and then installing the floor joists and rebuilding the walls.
Your contribution will help make it happen. We need to match a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota.
Following is a scan of a nice feature about the Stone Bank on the Minot Daily News.
Sorry about the quality of the scan — we can’t access the story electronically.
Heck! Make a contribution and we will send you a copy of the article with your receipt.
Does your employer match your charitable contributions?
Touchstones is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and we will send you a receipt to get that match.
Let’s get the roof on!
Hope to see you Saturday at the Holiday Craft Fair at the Bottineau Armory.
July 31, 2014
There she sits! The Stone Bank is looking a bit more chic after a long overdue touchup of the paint on her window frames. And we owe it all to volunteers. A group of Fulbright scholars spent a couple days in June, rolled up their sleeves and made it happen.
Want more? Of course, you do. Who doesn’t want to see the Stone Bank looking chipper?
So let’s keep it going. Our project has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of ND to continue work to restore the bank building. But we need to match the grant with local contributions of cash or labor.
If we can raise the money — we can raise the back section of the bank and get the building back into use.
So, we need your support. Your donation will go directly into rebuilding costs. Other than insurance and our P.O. Box rental, our overhead is almost ZERO. Oh, speaking of the P.O. Box — It is P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318. Send a check or make a donation with PayPal.
This summer, the plan is to get the plumbing roughed in and the floor joists installed. From there we will rebuild the walls and add the roof. It is all possible, if we have the money to pay the contractors. Can you help? Great.
We appreciate it.
June 12, 2014
As you might recall from our earlier blog posts, it was immigrants from Scotland, Scandinavia, Ireland and Canada who built the Stone Bank in 1900. Now, 114 years later, it’s visitors from Nepal, Cambodia, Cuba, India and Germany — not to mention Minnesota and Wisconsin — who are helping to renovate the Stone Bank building.
A team of eight Fulbright Scholars, plus four of their family members, came to Bottineau this week to visit a part of the U.S. they had never seen before and volunteer their services on the historic Stone Bank Project. The 12 of them spent two long days scraping, sanding and priming every wood window frame on the building.
Many hands make short(er) work, and now the window frames will at least stop deteriorating — until we have the funds to replace them with new windows that are energy efficient yet historic looking. We can’t thank the Fulbrighters enough for their efforts, which were beyond the call of duty even for them.
But we did give them each a spiffy Stone Bank “Preservation Rocks!” T-shirt. We’ll give you one, too, if you come work on our renovation project. Or if you can’t make it to Bottineau anytime soon, you can still get a Stone Bank T-shirt here, for a donation of $15 or more. Please consider donating much more, just as the Fulbrighters did, because we have $60,000 worth of work to do on the building’s exterior this year, and we need to at least match our new $20,000 grant from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
You don’t have to be from Kathmando or Phnom Penh to donate time or money to the Stone Bank Project. We’re happy to take contributions from Bottineau or Bismarck, too. Make yours today, and you’ll feel as smart as a Fulbright Scholar by tomorrow!
June 8, 2014
You are looking at a group of ROCKSTARS!
Our Fulbright volunteers showed up, gloved up and got to work on the windows at the Stone Bank today! (They hail from a number of countries including Germany, Cuba, India and Senegal.
Twelve pairs of hands — and four local volunteers have given a big boost to this project, which is being operated on a shoestring.
You may not be near enough to grab a paint scraper or a can a paint, but you can show the Stone Bank some love with a donation.
We have a lot of work to do in 2014 that must be done by “paid” contractors. So, please: Dedicate a Stone. Make a $15 donation, and we will thank you with one of our Stone Bank T-shirts. Or just send a donation.
Every dollar goes into restoring this delightful and irreplaceable stone building.
As always. Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.
June 7, 2014
Hey, everyone! It’s been too long! Lots going on at the Stone Bank. Here’s the latest:
Volunteers are descending on the Stone Bank on Sunday, June 8, to tackle a really tough project — they are going to scrape, sand, prime and paint the Stone Bank’s windows.
These are very special volunteers — a group of Fulbright scholars from the Minnesota/ND chapter — who are taking a tour of North Dakota and making time to lend a hand in the community. We couldn’t be happier!
We know that the windows will have to be replaced — but that is later. We need to rebuild the back section of the building and then move on to projects like the windows. In the meantime, they will look better, thanks to this crew of volunteers. Some local volunteers are going to help, too. We will post more as the project takes shape.
Free labor is a great thing. But the Stone Bank needs cash to buy paint and other supplies. We need to match a new grant from the Historical Society of ND, too. Can you help? Every donation helps. Hey, look! There is a PayPal link on this page. (For your convenience.)
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!
December 31, 2013
It has been a really busy year at the Stone Bank — and it has been a year where we have made important progress — and have done a LOT of heavy lifting.
- Our stone mason finished dismantling the back section of the bank in the spring of 2013.
- We did some problem-solving around the issue of putting in a new foundation during the summer months, which included shoring up the foundation of the neighboring building and dealing with a wet spot.
- Wonderful Monte Mikkelsen and his crew from Mikkelsen Aggregates donated time and equipment to excavate the pit for the new foundation.
- Footings were poured and the new foundation began to rise in the fall, where none had existed before.
- By late in the fall, the foundation was up to grade and we are in a great position to finish raising the back section in 2014.
We couldn’t have done it without support from the Historical Society of ND and donations from Otter Tail Power, the Bottineau County Board, Preservation ND, Turtle Mountain Communications, St. Michel Furniture, the State Bank of Bottineau and dozens of individuals who made donations, dedicated a stone, bought T-shirts and volunteered their time to help move the project forward. Thank you!
But — we need to ask again. Can you write another check? We plan to make big progress in 2014. For starters, we will complete rebuilding the back 20 feet of the building and put the roof on. Then we need to get the old bank ready for its new life with plumbing and heating and renovating the interior!
Early in 2014, we are going to begin the process of finding a tenant or tenants for this swell building. Any ideas? We would love to hear them.
We are so excited for the Stone Bank’s potential to be a historic anchor for Bottineau’s Main Street. But we can’t get it done without community support. Remember, Touchstones, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donation is tax deductible.
So end 2013 with a glad tidings of support for the Stone Bank. This project is preserving a piece of Bottineau history — and helping the building play a role in Bottineau’s future.
Our fundraising goal for 2014 is $50,000. Every dollar helps.
Let’s keep it going! The hardest part is behind us and the fun part is here.
Our mailing address is: Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main Street, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318
Or you can make a donation online using PayPal or Razoo. Links are on the right column of this page.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.
November 30, 2013
The moment you’ve all been waiting for … our last post for National Blog Posting Month 2013.
Before we close out the month, we’d like to thank everyone who shared this journey, commented and sent photos. Your input made it a lot more fun to come up with 30 daily posts. Don’t be shy — we are always open to ideas, photos and commentary for months without a theme.
We also need to thank a few more wonderful Stone Bank friends — who are there when we need them. They have championed our project, worked for little or no pay and have been total rock stars!
Of course, there are countless others who have stepped up, donated and said a kind word. It’s good to pause and remember that this really is a community project — and we are grateful for every kindness and courtesy. We truly wouldn’t have made this happen without you.
But we are not done. So, stay tuned. Dedicate a stone. Buy a T-shirt. Wish us well.
We wanted to end #NaBloPoMo with a bang. So, here it is.
Thanks for your support.
November 28, 2013
We interrupt this series of daily missives by Stone Bank blogger Sharon Kessler to bring you a Thanksgiving message — by her husband and guest Stone Bank blogger Mike Dorsher. …
The Stone Bank Project is thankful for — and indebted to — many people. You can see some of them in the slide show below, but they also include many unseen supporters who have made financial donations from near and afar. They even include everyone who has read this blog, given it a “Like,” left a Comment or just contributed good wishes and karma to our quest.
But there are two people, in particular, without whom this project would now be a pile of rubble. Rather than a piece of history being preserved, the Stone Bank would now be a relic of history were it not for these two people.
One them is Joe Whetter, whom we usually simply refer to as our “stone mason,” but he is much, much more. Joe is the brawn and brains of the Stone Bank restoration that you see today. He has put his blood, sweat and gears into disassembling the back 20 feet of this structure, stone-by-stone, and now rebuilding it, block-by-block — plus an 8-foot addition for handicap accessibility. With a small crew of helpers under his direction, Joe has hand-carried some of the bank’s 400-pound boulders in the bitter cold and snow, he has poured pilings and cut sidewalk in the rain, and he has hand-shoveled mud in the heat of summer — all for sporadic pay of his heavily discounted bills. I don’t know what is more amazing — to see this grandchild-raising ex-Marine who’s pushing 60 engage in hard labor like a ball-and-chain prisoner or that such a man resides within the same town as the Stone Bank, that he and my wife were Bottineau High School classmates — and that they’re still talking to each other.
We owe a great, BIG thanks to Joe today. But even Joe would readily acknowledge that there would be no Stone Bank Project today without my wife, Sharon Kessler. She walked past the Stone Bank every day on her way to and from Bottineau High School, and she never forgot it, even after going off to UND and living with me in Bismarck, Madison, Washington, DC, Wisconsin, England and the Twin Cities. When Karen Larson told her the back of the Stone Bank was crumbling and the City Council was about to condemn and raze it, they formed a nonprofit, Touchstones, Inc., to raise funds and save it. In the 2 1/2 years since then, Sharon has poured hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the Stone Bank Project — in addition to her full-time (plus some) job in the Twin Cities at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. None of Joe’s work on the site would have been possible without her grant writing, fundraising, organizing — and blog posting.
So today, as we all give thanks for our family, friends and fortunes small and large, those of us who are friends of the Stone Bank Project should pause and give thanks to Joe and Sharon, too. That process started a couple months ago when Cenex recognized Sharon with a $50 gift card from its “Tanks of Thanks” program. I will close this guest post by letting you read the Cenex-edited version of what I wrote then (click on the image to see it full size). Tomorrow, Sharon will be back here with the penultimate installment of National Blog Posting Month.