August 3, 2015
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.
July 22, 2015
There you go! We have a fresh concrete floor in the Stone Bank’s basement.
This is the room where there were two heating fuel tanks for the building’s old boiler and the floor was dirty, crumbling concrete.
In the lower right of the photo above, the black circular object is the top of our recently installed sewage lift pump. PROGRESS x 2.
Here is the in-floor heating in the part of the building that we took down and are putting back together. A concrete floor will be poured over the heat elements. In-floor heat! Pretty cool update for an old building in a cold climate.
Now, the back 20-feet of the building has nice deep footings to support the weight of a stone-clad structure. When our nonprofit purchased the Stone Bank in 2011, the back section of the building had only a crawl space — and the back wall of the building was sinking, because it was resting on footings that were much too shallow.
When complete, the back of the Stone Bank will look much the same as it did when we started the project, but it will have a much sturdier foundation, a handicap entrance and two handicap-accessible restrooms.
That’s the way you take a building from 1900 into 2015 — and beyond.
Do you want to be part of the Stone Bank project? We always welcome volunteers, but right now, we really need donations to keep the ball — or stone — rolling on enclosing the back of the building.
Your donations will help us match a generous $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of ND. We also accept online gifts with PayPal and Razoo. The links are in the sidebar.
As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. Please, share this post with your friends and family!
July 16, 2015
Our Stone Bank contractors have been working hard to finish work in the basement — breaking up and hauling out the old concrete floor and creating a base for a new floor.
After the crew broke up the old concrete, they hauled it into the new section of the basement where the rubble was taken away by backhoe.
Strong backs built the Stone Bank 115 years ago — and we have some strong backs and heavy equipment putting the back of the building together again. We took apart 20 feet of the building to put a foundation under it. (Don’t worry. We saved the stone and will put it up again.) This photo shows the new section of the basment. (Photos courtesy Scott Wagar)
Make no mistake. This was a tough job. We appreciate our contractors and their crews — because they are doing the hard part of making the building whole again.
The result of all that hard work? A nice, smooth surface that will soon be a concrete basement floor. Notice the handsome stone walls in the basement. Built by immigrant craftsmen between July and December 1900.
Check back here soon to see more progress on our restoration project.
Want to be part of the action? We have some volunteer opportunities, but mosly we need donations. We must pay our contractors for all their heavy lifting — and for that we need cash. Any amount is welcome and all donations go directly into the restoration project.
You don’t have to put out your back to do your part to save this historic building. Just pick up a pen and send a check today to Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318. PayPal and Razoo online payment sites are linked in the sidebar.
We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your gift is tax deductible.
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!
December 13, 2014
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.
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!
December 8, 2014
It’s snowing up North (and on our blog), but look! The Stone Bank T-shirt makes excellent beach apparel!
Our friend, Laura, recently took her new PRESERVATION ROCKS shirt to a Florida beach! And she totally ROCKED it!
She has the right idea! The Stone Bank T is charming, lovely and easy to pack. AND it’s a great conversation starter for those chance meeting with a handsome stranger or an old friend.
Still time to get yours for the holidays. Best of all. Your donation of $15 will help us match our grant from the Historical Society of ND and help rebuild the back section of the building in 2015.
We love to post photos of our friends wearing the Stone Bank T. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org with a few details about the location and we will share it.
You can make a contribution right on this page. Then send us a note about size and color of shirt and we will send it along to you. There are more details and photos on our website. We now have a limited number of long-sleeve shirts, for those who are not getting to the beach this winter.
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!
November 20, 2013
Uh-oh. Day 19 of National Blog Posting Month kind of slipped away. Here’s a post-19 post.
We have been covering a lot of ground during this challenge month, but it’s time to take it back to the bank. Today, we are focused on progress.
I am happy to report that we are making some.
It’s easy to forget how far we have come. Since mid-2011, when we formed the nonprofit Touchstones and purchased the building, we have made steady progress. We started with an architectural assessment and cleared decades of accumulated “stuff” out of the building. Then we had the asbestos removed from the building, put a new roof on the front three-quarters, dismantled the back 20 feet of the building stone by stone, worked with our architect on a rebuilding plan, shored up the foundation of the building next door, dug a foundation for the back of the building — and, now, we are putting it back together again.
In addition, we have written grants, worked to persuade the City Council that we could save the building and restore it to a productive use. We have built a website, blogged and Tweeted away.
Inch by inch, donation by donation, we are cash-flowing this project — doing what we can, when we can.
We are glad you are along for the journey. It’s not exactly slow motion — but it is a journey on which we are learning a lot about history, tenacity and finishing what we start.
Can you help? Buy a T-shirt, dedicate a stone, make a contribution — every bit helps.
See you back here tomorrow — er, later today.
November 18, 2013
Here’s a stone quote — not etched in stone — but about stone.
Construction of the Stone Bank was completed in mid-December 1900. Imagine the world that has rolled past it over 113 years. This building really is a link to those who came before us, you can actually see the chisel marks in the stone. It remembers.
We are glad it does.
It’s Day 18 of National Blog Posting Month — and we would appreciate it if you “remember” the Stone Bank with a contribution. We are actively restoring this beautiful structure, and you can touch history by helping us put the back section of the building back together again.
The stone will remember, and, I think I hear it saying “thanks.”
November 10, 2013
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.
November 3, 2013
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.
Quitting? NOT ON YOUR LIFE.
So, no. It is not easy. But saving this historic gem is right and that makes it worth the angst.
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.
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.
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.
August 25, 2013
We’re not talking barbecue here. We’re talking concrete and stone! And we are cooking, now!
The new footings are in at the Stone Bank. They need a week or so to cure — and then the rebuilding can begin.
The site was wet, because we found an old wellhead in the excavated site. This was the area where we found all the old bottles in the excavation. Makes sense. They didn’t have recycling bins in 1900, when the bank was built, so they tossed bottles into the well. We found out from a source at City Hall that several other old buildings on Main Street also have old wells.
What did we do? Our crew pumped out and filled the old well. Then the site had to dry out before we could proceed with the footings. We were also behind a much larger project at the Botno Readi Mix plant — so we also had to wait on our concrete.
Now the waiting is over and we can move on to rebuilding. As we finish the support structure in the coming weeks, we will install drain tile and make room for a sump pump, so the new basement will stay dry.
Now we need your help to make the rebuild happen. Yes, we have been fortunate in our grantwriting. But we need donations from the public to match the grants and keep things moving.
Can you help now? This is the turning point for the project. With your help, we will get this building up and the roof on this fall.
We know you care about this building, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Please take the next step and help us move some stone.
As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.