June 7, 2017

We aren’t crazy optimists; We’re ahead of the curve!

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Fundraising, Main Street, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 12:14 am by stonebankblog

Restoring a landmark in ND. The Stone Bank

Sharon Kessler and Joe Whetter are spearheading the effort to return the Stone Bank to use. It was built in 1900 with stones carried to North Dakota by glaciers.

Joe Whetter and I were classmates at Bottineau High, but we didn’t know each other well. I am not sure we ever spoke in high school. But for the past six years, we have talked a lot about and worked to restore and repurpose a beautiful stone building on Bottineau’s Main Street that we now call the Stone Bank.

Joe, a stone mason, has done the heavy lifting – lending his know-how and strength to the project. Me? I  write grant proposals, do  fundraising and lead the board of a nonprofit dedicated to repairing the Stone Bank.

Our goal is to retain the building’s historic character while making it useful for another 100 years.

Since 2011, we have encountered asbestos, a very leaky roof and a crumbling back wall. Joe dismantled the back 20 feet of the building so we could put in a new foundation and rebuild the back.

We have worked with architects, historians and community members to meet this challenge – and it has taken time to raise the money to help us move the project along.

Fast forward to 2017. Smart Growth America, a D.C. nonprofit, says we are not crazy optimists – we are ahead of the curve!

Smart Growth works across the U.S. with elected officials, real estate developers, chambers of commerce, urban and rural planners and community groups and leaders in D.C. to improve everyday life for people across the country through better development.

In 2016, a Smart Growth team visited Bottineau, toured the community and surrounding area and met community leaders to help craft a vision for Bottineau’s future development. The resulting report offered six recommendations to help Bottineau remain a vibrant and growing community.

Guess what?

The No. 1 recommendation was “restore and repurpose historic structures for community revitalization.” Read the Smart Growth report.

The Smart Growth report specifically cites the Stone Bank Project and its slow progress because of “a lack of funds.” So, there you have it.

A great idea. A work in progress.

A lack of funds.

 

 

Yearbook Bottineau ND Stone Bank

The Class of ’72 yearbook cover broke new ground with an abstract image of the Bottineau High entrance by our classmate Morris McKnight.

Forty-five years ago, the Class of ’72 graduated with eyes trained on the future. Now, honoring the past can be our legacy.

We are asking our high school classmates to lend a hand in the Stone Bank restoration. No heavy lifting involved. We are challenging each of our classmates to contribute $100 (or whatever you can give) to help pay for enclosing the new basement.

By June 30, we need to make a dollar-for-dollar match of a $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of North Dakota. If we can’t raise the match, we leave some part of the money for reconstruction on the table.

And we want other BHS grads to join the effort. Let’s see which class can move the most stone. Rock on!

All donations go straight to the project, and your donation will make a difference in 2017. In total, we only need to raise $53,000 (including $20k from the state) to enclose the building. Can you help?

Time is of the essence if we hope to claim the full $20,000 grant from the Historical Society of ND.

We have started a Go Fund Me campaign for online giving. Or you can mail a check to Touchstones.Inc. (The Stone Bank Project), PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

We also accept gifts by PayPal.

Does your employer match your charitable gifts?

Touchstones is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit – so your gift is tax deductible AND eligible for an employer match.

Please, make a donation today.  If you love Bottineau and its historic buildings, today is the day to show your support. Your gift WILL make a difference.

Thank you.

Sharon Kessler, a cockeyed optimist from the BHS Class of ’72

April 3, 2017

It’s time to finish this…

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, Fundraising, Life, Main Street, Photos, Pictures, Promotions/Contests, Recommended Reading, Renovation, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 12:29 pm by stonebankblog

Let’s face it. WE are living in historic times! It was a winter of historic snowfall in Bottineau, but our friend Spring is finally pushing the snow into memory. It’s time to seize the moment and get back to the important work of enclosing the Stone Bank.

Of course, it’s always about the bottom line. That’s the challenge. And we are asking our classmates in the BHS Class of ’72 to lead the way. How? It’s easy.

front window

We are challenging each member of the Class of ’72 to donate $100 to restoring the Stone Bank. We have lost five classmates far too young, and it would be marvelous if each of us donated in memory of those friends as well.

Those $100 donations would bring $7,000 to a project that really needs a financial shot in the arm. Together, we can give the project a boost and inspire giving from others with ties to Bottineau.

Why the class of ’72? Good question. Well, two of your classmates have been doing the heavy lifting on this restoration project. Joe Whetter, is a stone mason and an amazing advocate and partner on this project. I (Sharon Kessler) founded a nonprofit, have coordinated fundraising and planning to advance the project since 2011.

Now, we really need your help. It’s easy to give online. You can give by credit card through PayPal, Razoo or GiveMN.

Or you can send a check: Touchstones, Inc., PO Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318

The time is now. We can’t do this alone. We need to make progress on the building in 2017 to keep the structure from deteriorating. It has been open to the elements for a couple of years. We need to show community participation and interest to generate grants — so your contribution really does make a difference. In total, we need to raise $58,000 to enclose the structure. Can you help?

Frankly, we are at a point in life, where many of us are thinking about legacy — the difference we made in the world. The good we will leave behind. This is a great chance for you to help preserve a piece of Bottineau history and make it useful for future generations of those who will call Bottineau home. Your $100 gift added to those of other classmates really will make a difference.

Please make a gift today, so we can move forward with restoring this community treasure. Let’s get this done, together.

sk joe at bank 2

Joe Whetter and Sharon Kessler, BHS Class of ’72

We would love to hear from you. Please send a note, your ideas and memories of Bottineau for the blog to touchstones.inc@gmail.com. Guest blog entries are also welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 7, 2015

Labor Day XXX’s and OOO’s

Posted in Bottineau, Photos, Renovation, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 11:24 am by stonebankblog

Let’s hear it for the working man… and woman. We hope you are taking a break and enjoying the day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This Labor Day, we are especially grateful for our Stone Bank team. They are doing the heavy lifting to help bring this historic building back to life.

They are ready to get back to work, but we need the money to pay for their time and effort.

Every donation to our 501(c)(3) goes directly to materials and labor. Your donation will make a difference. Please make one today.

Honor a loved one by dedicating a stone. Add to your T-shirt collection by making a $15 donation.

Or just help us move the project forward with a contribution to the project. Links for online giving are in the right column, or you can mail a check to: Touchstones, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

If you need a “Dedicate a Stone” form, we will send you one.

We are very thankful for the resourcefulness and tenacity of our contractors. They give us a lot and we want them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Please make a donation today to honor their work to finish enclosing the building.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

August 31, 2015

It’s a bank and not a bank

Posted in Bottineau, History, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , at 3:26 pm by stonebankblog

  When the Stone Bank phone rang last week the caller ID said the caller was from Mohall.

Mohall? Hmm. Could it be a generous donor who wants to help our project?

SB: Hello!

Caller: Is this the Stone Bank?

SB: Yes! 

Caller: Do you cash checks?

SB: (Thoughtful pause). Well, we take checks as contributions, but we are not a bank. We are restoring a historic bank building.

Long pause.

Caller: So, you don’t cash checks?

SB: No.

Caller: Do you know where I could cash a check?

SB: Sigh.

—-

Well, of course, I offered a couple of suggestions. We always try to be helpful at the Stone Bank.

We are NOT a bank, but we are restoring Bottineau’s first bank. 

Now we need your help to pay our contractors and put the building back together again. 

We will take your check (donations only) at Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

 Any amount will help. It all goes directly to the restoration project to match our grants and pay our contractors.

  
 If you love Bottineau’s historic Main Street, this is a great way to show that love — with cash, check or credit card. Maybe we should put an ATM in the restored building. (Just a thought.)

We need to enclose the back of the building in 2015. Your gift will mean a lot and it is tax deductible.

Thanks!

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!

June 5, 2012

A Stone Bank Inspiration

Posted in Photos, Renovation tagged , , , , at 6:53 pm by stonebankblog

As a champion of all things stone, the Stone Bank blog has to tip its hat to a successful restoration project in Granville, N.D.

Granville is a small town about 20 miles from Minot in north-central North Dakota. This grand old stone bank building, completed in 1903, has been recently and lovingly restored. Beyond the restoration, an addition has increased the size and flexibility of the space.

Adaptive re-use, anyone?

The Granville building is among dozens of great old bank buildings that dot the ND landscape — including our own Stone Bank. And the Granville project demonstrates how durable and adaptable these great old buildings are. The Granville bank has something else in common with the Stone Bank — it became insolvent in 1923.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s a link to a story in the Minot Daily News that describes  the Granville Bank restoration and how the building is now being reused.

From the Stone Bank crew — BRAVO!

What do you think of this success story? Leave us a comment, because we love hearing from you.

And remember, our project is chugging along, but we need to raise matching funds for the $20,000 grant we recently received from the Historical Society of North Dakota. It’s easy to send us a donation. Think of Granville’s success and click the PayPal link in the right-hand column. We need your support right now! And as always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

March 6, 2012

Why Are You Doing This?

Posted in Bottineau, Friends of Stone Bank, History, Life, Main Street, Photos, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 2:12 pm by stonebankblog

That’s the question the Stone Bank family has been asked again … and again.

Why would seemingly sane people take on a gargantuan task — costly — time-consuming — backbreaking — mind-bending? Why? Indeed.

Here’s your Stone Bank Blogger’s reason: When I was a teenager, my family lived a block from the old Bottineau County Courthouse — a marvelous 1900 structure. Three stories, a tower, wonderful windows. Inside were oak floors, a great staircase and satiny oak woodwork. It was a striking and memorable building.

Then in the 1970s the push was made to replace the building with something new. Something modern. I don’t know all the politics, because I was a mere wisp of a girl then. But in the end, the old building was demolished and a new, low,modern structure replaced it.

Worse yet, they started building the new courthouse behind the old one and then tore down the 1900 building. The result? The new courthouse is oddly situated on its lot. Too much front yard. An uninteresting, charmless, and bland building. Sure, many things inside the new courthouse are probably better than in the old building — but for sheer visual impact and a sense of place the new courthouse is about 100 steps back from its predecessor.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The “loss” of the old courthouse has bothered me for years. We have lost other interesting structures in Bottineau, but this one was a biggie for me.

So wonder no more — this is the “why” of my work on the Stone Bank Project. (I have heard many of my school chums voice the same regret about the old courthouse.)

We were too young and too inexperienced to do much about it.

But that was then. This is now.

Our goal now is to give the Stone Bank a happier ending.

The Stone Bank — another charming, historic structure, really began to deteriorate over the past few years. And I asked everyone “what is happening here?” That question was mostly met with shrugs and the obligatory, “Gee, someone should do something.”

Yes. SOMEONE SHOULD. And sometimes that SOMEONE is ME or YOU.

How often do we have to mourn the loss of a town’s identity and its landmarks before we step up and say “I can help with that.”

So, in 2011, a handful of friends formed a nonprofit and began to work with the building’s owner to find a solution. In the end, we bought the building and worked like crazy to keep the city from condemning it and tearing it down. To its credit the city did relent and give our project a $20,000 loan to start the renovation project.

But we have a long way to go. The fight goes on. But will be worth the effort?

YES!

In the end, we will have a “fine, stone building” even better than the original that will stand another 100 or 200 years. It will stand shining on Main Street for the world to see that we care about our town’s history and its landmarks.

Stone Bank in Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank Project will put this charmer back to use.

And we will know that we did what we could. Because we could. It was our turn. We’re grownups now.

Here’s a quote from the “When I Have Time” blog about this very topic.

… no one will be there to give you permission to act. To try. To succeed. And to fail. No one will take you by the hand and say, “Now it’s time. You’re ready.” No one will be so sure to say, “Don’t worry, you won’t fail.” No one will lay their hand on yours as you click that submit button, as you fill out that form, as you sign up for that chance, as you raise your hand.

Here’s a link to the blog, if you want to read the whole post: http://whenihavetime.com/2012/02/16/stop-sabotaging-your-own-success-a-manifesto/

Never forget that we are the world that we create. So get out there and make a difference. And if you want to share your talents with the Stone Bank Project — join us! Our email is touchstones.inc@gmail.com.

That’s my “why” — what is yours? Leave a comment!

March 2, 2012

More about Stone — Stone Bank

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 10:30 am by stonebankblog

No matter how you found us, we’re glad you’re here and checking in on the Stone Bank. And don’t forget to check out our website http://StoneBank.org.

Front window on the Stone Bank in Bottineau, ND

If you don't see us at the bank, check out our website. We posted a link in the window facing Main Street in Bottineau, ND

What will you find on the Stone Bank website? All of our videos are on the video page. There are some historic pictures and a fun tab called “Fabulous N.D.”

And it’s also where you will find a link to buy one of our snazzy Stone Bank T-shirts (a must-have for spring).

March 1, 2012

An 1897 Come-On

Posted in Bottineau, History, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , at 3:28 pm by stonebankblog

History. Is. Sometimes. Elusive. At least on the Stone Bank front.

A collection of pioneer-era newspapers at the County Courthouse sometimes yields a clue or at least something interesting. Here’s an 1897 ad from the Bottineau Courant. Guess what? It looks like the bank was selling reliability and trust.

Ad from 1887

An early ad from Bottineau County Bank selling "trust" in the man.

Remember, what we now call the Stone Bank was originally Bottineau County Bank — the first bank in the county. Our research shows that the men named in this ad were in the second group that owned the bank — probably the group that built the Stone Bank. (A two-story woodframe building was moved to another site to make room for the Stone Bank.)

Let us know if you like this post, and we’ll post more historic information as we uncover it.

February 20, 2012

Posted in History, Life, Photos tagged , , , , at 1:56 pm by stonebankblog

Here’s a great post from our friends at the UWECPeru blog. And it’s not about stones or stone builders.

It’s about weaving your own life and story, beauty, and finding your voice and passion amid adversity. Hope you enjoy it. It’s pretty inspiring.

Weaving designed by Maximo Laura

Detail of a weaving designed by Maximo Laura

A weaving from Maximo Laura’s workshop in Lima

From prisoner to weaver to renowned artist: Máximo Laura.

UweC Peru

Like every day in Peru, our last day exceeded expectations. We flew from Cuzco back to Lima and bused directly from the airport to the home of Peru’s most acclaimed textile artist,  Máximo Laura. A longtime friend and associate of ArtAndes owner Melanie Ebertz, Laura gave us a tour of his workshop, where he employs about 15 weavers, and his personal collection of richly colored and textured wall hangings.

Laura grew up in the same mountainous Ayachuco area as Wilbur Quispe, and he likewise suffered persecution during Peru’s civil war with the Shining Path in the 1980s and ’90s. The government imprisoned him as a suspected Marxist, but when the war wound down, he took up weaving (as had four generations of his family before him) and raised it to an artform.

Moving beyond the natural dyes and fibers of his ancestors, Laura used modern synthetic threads and bright colors to give new life…

View original post 102 more words

Next page