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!
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

Rockin’ a Stone Bank T

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Volunteers tagged , , at 10:45 pm by stonebankblog

It’s our friend MaryB in a Stone Bank T!

Stone Bank in Bottineau ND

MaryB is not only the model but the designer of our new T-shirt. She wants to see you wearing one, too! Pay attention: She has her hands on her hips!

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.

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:

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

February 9, 2013

Team Stone Bank

Posted in Bottineau, History, Photos, Roof, Updates tagged , at 12:59 pm by stonebankblog

Meet Fred, Bobbi and Joe.

Contractor. Architect. Stone Mason.

Fred Kainz, Bobbi Hepper Olson and Joe Whetter

Know-how, smarts and muscle are helping propel the Stone Bank project forward. That and the input of our generous donors, because without cash all the know-how can’t get it done.

They are helping us get it done on the Stone Bank.  We’ve got a lot to accomplish in 2013, putting a foundation under the back 20 feet of the building and then rebuilding that section. We have saved the stone and will reuse it for the facade. It is going to be SO COOL to have a working, snazzy building of hand-hewn stone on Main Street.

How do we know? Because Bobbi has done this before. Her architecture office operates out of an old stone bank building much like ours.  It’s inspiring to see it done and working in Buxton, ND.

We still need to raise the money to finish the roof over the rebuilt section. The cost of extending the new roof  is $4,000. Can you help? There’s a PayPal and a Razoo link on the right side of this page, and we are always ecstatic when someone takes the plunge. You won’t be sorry. In fact, your donation makes you a member of the Stone Bank family, and we are rock solid. So, thanks in advance.

If you see Fred, Bobbi or Joe, give ’em a wink and a nod and wish them well as they work to make this dream come true.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

December 12, 2012

December Story

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Endangered buildings, History, Photos tagged , , , , at 10:41 pm by stonebankblog

The Stone Bank’s story seems to have a lot of December in it.

For starters, the original building was completed in December 1900. Here’s a blog post about the Stone Bank’s beginning.

Fast forward about 111 years, and it’s December 2011. And the nonprofit group  working to restore the building decides that to save the building and return it to use  the back 20 feet  must be dismantled to get at a structural problem.  Brr. It’s clear and cold as the stone mason begins the work , stone by stone,  to take apart  the back of the building.

About 20 feet of the Stone Bank's south wall was dismantled starting in December 2011.

Stones from the south wall were numbered and stacked starting in December 2011. The hand-hewn stones will be reused when the back section of the building rises again.

Fundraising and planning occupied the Stone Bank’s supporters during most of 2012, but now, at last, the project is moving forward again. In the next few days, our stone mason has another December date with the Stone Bank.  He will begin the work to dismantle 20 feet of the Stone Bank’s north wall. This wall was left standing, but it must make way for foundation repairs in 2013.

Stone Bank dismantling project in Bottineau, ND

The stone wall at the left is what we call the north wall. It will be taken apart in the next couple of weeks, as will be the remainder of the raised foundation on the south and west sides.

Yep. December is cold. But it seems to be the hot season for work on the Stone Bank. Get this: Joe, our stone mason, says he doesn’t mind working in the cold. Why? Well, lifting stones is hot work.

So wish the bank and this project “Happy Birthday” with a card and a check.  The work to dismantle the north wall will cost about $4,000. Can you help with a donation?

The Stone Bank Project is an all-volunteer effort — every donated dollar goes into restoring this historic building.   There are links to  PayPal and Razoo at right for online giving.  If you’re sending a check, the Stone Bank’s mailing address is 524 Main St., PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

The Stone Bank is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — so your gift is not only deeply appreciated — it’s tax deductible!

Watch this space for updates as the dismantling project continues. As always, do like the Stone Bank and “Rock On!”

October 1, 2012

Stone Love in the Mail!

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , at 11:43 pm by stonebankblog

Sometimes the mailbox can be the bearer of bad news and bills. But some days it’s full of birthday cards and good wishes.

A while back we got a great letter from Scott Swanson and he gave us permission to share it with our blog followers.

Scott’s dad owned the Stone Bank for about 50 years — so Scott spent a lot of time during his childhood inside the bank and  outside — shoveling.

Here’s his letter:

Stone Bank Bottineau

Letter from Scott Swanson, used with his permission.

If you read this blog, you know that we are working hard to raise the money to continue work to save this wonderful structure. Can you help? We have $25,000 in grant money, but we need to match that with local funds to put the building back on solid footing and move it closer to a new life.

Stone Bank Bottineau ND

This picture from the Historical Society of ND show the Stone Bank in the 1970s. Do you suppose the 10-speed bike is Scott Swanson’s? Maybe.

Invite your friends and relatives to check out the blog or If you want to fill the Stone Bank’s mailbox with love and good wishes. Send your check to: Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main Street, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

April 15, 2012

Setting a Great Example

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , at 11:39 pm by stonebankblog

Lucky! That’s how we feel at the Stone Bank when we consider our architect.

Why? Because Bobbi Hepper Olson has done this before.

Seriously. Been there. Done that.

Hepper Olson has her own stone bank — in Buxton, ND. She tackled a project much more daunting than ours.  When she took on the project in 2005, the floor had collapsed and there was a mold problem. She not only persisted and accomplished the restoration, but she found an adaptive re-use for the bank. It’s now part-museum, part-community meeting space — and she added space to the back for her architecture firm.

The Buxton Bank — built in 1893 — is very similar in style to our Stone Bank.  But that’s likely because the size of Buxton and Bottineau dictated the size of the banks, and because of prevailing  building styles of the 1890s. But that’s just a theory.

Bobbi knows a bit more about the history of her bank — and she can show you the bullet holes from a 1933 robbery that left one of the bank’s cashiers dead. The robbery was never solved.

Here’s a slideshow of the Buxton Bank — restored and in use. It’s a great example for us as we work toward that very goal on another stone building about 200 miles to the northwest.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bobbi has a nice website about her project. Check it out at http;//

Lucky? Yes. The Stone Bank is very lucky to have an architect who really has been there and done this before.

We’ll also feel lucky if you “Like” this post.

February 27, 2012

Stone Bank “Double-Wide”

Posted in Bottineau, History, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , at 6:53 pm by stonebankblog

YES. That is “our” Stone Bank — with an addition.

Historic photo of Stone Bank and an addition

The Stone Bank once had a very cool addition. The section to the right of the pillar was added on and shows in photos from the 1930s, and then it disappears.

We have no documentation of when that part of the building was constructed, but it was demolished and replaced after a fire — or two. (Roofers found charred roof timbers and the stone mason found soot on part of a stone wall at the back of the building.)

And one of our architects tells us that although the two sides of this building shared a facade that the interior spaces were not connected. By the time this photo was taken there was a dental office in the left side of the building.

Here’s the 1902 picture for comparison.

Bottineau County Bank from 1902 ad

The Stone Bank in a 1902, looking good on Bottineau's Main Street.

Initially, we thought the “double-wide” was the original Stone Bank, but when the 1902 photo surfaced, we realized that we DO have the original structure. If you scan down the left side of the building, you will see the building has been altered since the 1902 picture. (Note the configuration of the windows.)

Also note there is no pillar at the front entrance and you can see a sliver of daylight to the right of the building.

Stay tuned for more pictures. We’ll share them and the building’s history as we find them.