November 26, 2013

The Bank Will Rise Again

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , , at 10:24 pm by stonebankblog

Sometimes it occurs to me that people might have trouble “giving” to a bank. So let’s be clear. The Stone Bank Project is about a building not a-hem bankers. (Not that all bankers are bad — but, well, you know.)

So here are a couple new photos showing the new foundation of the Stone Bank rising, where none was before.

The floor level of the bank building is about 3.5 feet above grade. That’s why we are adding a handicap entrance at grade in the rebuilt structure. When complete, the building will look almost exactly like it did before we started, but it will be updated to accommodate everyone. It’s rather exciting, and I think those long-ago builders would appreciate our efforts to make this building flexible and useful for generations to come.

If you appreciate our work to restore this wonderful building, feel free to make a donation. We need to pay our contractors, the insurance and snow removal. And more snow removal. And then some more. Last winter, we paid nearly $1,100 in snow removal alone.

Don’t forget, Dec. 3 is Giving Tuesday.

November 25, 2013

A Slow-Motion Time-Lapse Review

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Endangered buildings, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , at 9:04 pm by stonebankblog

OK. At Day 25 of National Blog Posting Month, let’s take stock.

We are here for the Stone Bank. Some of you may be new to our project and this blog. So, let’s review.

In 2011, we bought the Stone Bank, which was on the verge of being condemned, formed a nonprofit (Touchstones, Inc.) and started hashing out a plan to save this historic building made of hand-hewn stones in 1900. It has been a challenge and a joy and we are chugging ahead. In 2012, we dismantled 20 feet of the back of the building, which had settled over too shallow footings. We are now in the process of rebuilding the back of the building. Here’s a slide show of some stage of our progress.

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The weather has turned to winter ahead of schedule in Bottineau, so we are going to button up the project and the site for the winter and finish the rebuild in the spring.

Some people say this is taking too long — but, remember, we are moving tons of stone on a shoestring. (A great trick!) With donations and some more grants, we are going to get the back of this building up and the roof on in early 2014. Please remember the Stone Bank project in your year-end giving — we will put your trust and your donation to great use.

(There are handy links to Razoo and PayPal on this page.)

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

November 24, 2013

A Postcard from Bottineau: 1928

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Photos, Pictures tagged , , , , at 2:58 pm by stonebankblog

Isn’t this interesting? A friend of a Stone Bank friend found this postcard in the archives of O’Reilly Auto Parts. He tells me that O’Reilly bought out a company known as Midwest Auto Parts that seems to have North Dakota roots. But my knowledge of the company’s history ends right there.

Bottineau, ND

This postcard with a 1928 postmark was mailed from Bottineau, ND.

It’s just fun to see something mailed from Bottineau in 1928. And it’s interesting to see the cost of the auto parts for a Model T. In 1928, the Stone Bank had been standing on the corner of Sixth and Main for 28 years. Bottineau County Bank had failed five years before this postcard was mailed, and it was in receivership. The bank never reopened, but the building was occupied over the years by a number of businesses — and we plan to see it occupied again in the next couple of years.

In 2013, not a lot of folks are still driving Model T’s but the Stone Bank is getting ready to roll again.

It’s Day 24 of National Blog Posting Month and we have the blog firmly in “drive” and are moving ahead.

We have some photos from 2003 sent in by a blog reader — we will be posting those soon. Do you have a photo to share? We would love to post photos, guest blogs or your comments on the blog. Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

November 23, 2013

Now, I Call That Support!

Posted in Fundraising, Life, Photos, Pictures tagged , , , , at 12:17 pm by stonebankblog

Imagine our surprise when we recently passed through Fargo — thought we’d stop for a bite to eat and found the Hotel Donaldson draped in bras! (And not open for lunch.)

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This is what I call a really uplifting fundraiser. Of course, the symbolism is obvious — it’s a breast cancer fundraiser.

We chatted up someone at Hotel Donaldson and they told us that this fundraiser has brought in $400K over several years. Fantastic.

Of course, Bras on Broadway has a Facebook page. Learn more about the history of this cause over there.

It’s not only a great visual — it clearly has engaged the community in the cause.

If I thought putting my bra in the window of the Stone Bank would bring in donations — I would do it. I swear. But it would have to be a really good contribution.

Let’s just say, I am not unhooking my bra just yet.

Day 23 of National Blog Posting Month is now in the books. Have a great day.

November 22, 2013

Day 22 — A Heavy Sky

Posted in Bottineau, Life, Photos, Pictures tagged , , , at 11:55 pm by stonebankblog

Fall is upon us and we are having some grey days.

Stone Bank Project, Bottineau, ND

Sjule Road near Bottineau, ND. Make the right turns and you will end up outside the Stone Bank on Main Street in Bottineau.

In it’s own way, it’s a gorgeous time of year. (No whining, please.)

So, drink it in. Put another log on the fire. Enjoy it.

It’s Day 22 of National Blog Posting Month — and we are kicking back for the evening. Hope you are, too. And here’s a shout-out to all the folks participating in National Novel Writing Month. I tip my hat to you. Hope your word counts are rising and your plot is good and thick.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

November 21, 2013

The Lucky Donation

Posted in Updates tagged , , , , at 9:16 pm by stonebankblog

Could giving to the Stone Bank bring you luck?

It did for your Stone Bank blogger.

Get lucky

Could giving to the Stone Bank improve your luck? Perhaps. Give it a try.

Here’s the story: On Give to the Max Day, my employer offered staffers a chance to win an extra vacation day for contributing to any nonprofit during the day of giving.

I gave.
I dropped my name in the basket.
I won.
I am now the proud recipient of a free day off with pay.
So. There you go.
It’s Day 21 of National Blog Posting Month, a great day to test your luck with a contribution to the Stone Bank project. Really, you can’t lose, because this project is a winner.

Thanks for reading the blog.

November 20, 2013

Exciting Times in Mud and Block

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , at 1:14 am by stonebankblog

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.

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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 16, 2013

Rockin’ the Chocolates

Posted in Life, Photos, Pictures tagged , , , at 2:19 pm by stonebankblog

OK. I know. The Stone Bank has almost nothing to do with chocolate. But, it’s Day 16 on National Blog Posting Month and I want to talk about chocolate.

Why? Because in some odd twist of fate, I received a box of gorgeous chocolates on the first day of NaBloPoMo — and I promised myself not to finish them, until month’s end. Wish me luck.

Excellent chocolate. Beautiful chocolate.

Chocolate so gorgeous, a person may be reluctant to indulge. For a while , at least.

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These chocolates are as decadent as they are beautiful. Of course, Christopher Elbow has a website.

We also have some great chocolate-makers in North Dakota. Widman’s is the real home of chocolate-covered potato chips. Red River Valley grown potatoes dipped in chocolate — dark, milk, white and peanut butter. Don’t waste your time on (Johnny-come-lately) Lay’s, get the real thing from a fourth-generation family business.

Widman's chippers

Look. Mmm. Widman’s never disappoints.

Do you have a favorite chocolate shop? Where is it and what is your chocolate of choice?

Thanks to my friend Karen for the wonderful chocolates. I am savoring every single one. And I vow to not finish the box until the end of NaBloPoMo!

November 15, 2013

Have a Great Weekend!

Posted in Photos, Pictures tagged , , at 9:20 pm by stonebankblog

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It’s the end of the work week. Let’s just chill a bit for Day 15 of National Blog Posting Month.

Mystical Horizons — conveniently located near the Stone Bank — is a great stop on the Autumnal Equinox or any time.

Did you know there are a lot of so-called Clonehenges? Seriously. There is a website with great photos of Stonehenge replicas. Our Mystical Horizons is very sincere and in a great setting. Some of these others are pretty, uh, funny.

Have a great weekend.

November 13, 2013

Now It’s His Lucky Shirt!

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , at 8:45 pm by stonebankblog

We present to you a man, a Stone Bank T-shirt and a hockey victory!

Our friend, Jeff, wore his Stone Bank T under his equipment in an AHA — Adult Hockey Association — game last week. (Why wouldn’t he wear it on top?)

Stone Bank restoration, Bottineau, ND

Jeff thinks his Stone Bank T-shirt made him lucky on ice. Excellent theory.

His team — the Spitfires — was down a goal in the third period, and Jeff made the goal that tied the game.

Goooooooo! Jeff!

And the Spitfires went on to win! (Could be luck. Could be skill. We like the idea that the shirt made the difference.)

Now he calls the Stone Bank T his lucky shirt! You know, he’s probably correct.

Doesn’t everyone you know need a lucky shirt? Come on. They are 100 percent cotton. Pre-shrunk and, well, just plain lucky. For a mere $15 donation, you can be lucky, too. Order yours today. Be a Spitfire. Be a rock star. Your T-shirt order supports the Stone Bank project.

Don’t need luck or a shirt? We accept plain, old-fashioned donations, too.

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