February 24, 2020

Project Awarded $28.5 K Grant

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Fundraising, Main Street, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , at 12:07 am by stonebankblog

1 front view 2018

News Release (Feb. 24, 2020)

The Historical Society of North Dakota (HSND) has awarded the Stone Bank Project its largest-ever grant to Restore the Stone Bank on Bottineau’s Main Street. The Historical Society made the $28,491 grant to enclose the back 20 feet of the building.

The grant represents half of the funds needed to enclose the back of the building. Touchstones, Inc., the nonprofit that owns the building, needs to raise an equal amount to match the grant to complete the work by May 2021.

“We are delighted the Historical Society has again decided to make an investment in the Stone Bank Project,” says Sharon Kessler, the president of Touchstones, Inc. “The work we started in 2011 to restore the building and give it a new lease on life aligns perfectly with Gov. Burgum’s Main Street Initiative.”

The Main Street Initiative is an effort to provide tools and support to help communities capitalize on their strengths and to make them more vibrant and attractive to a 21st-century workforce.

“Our goal has always been to preserve this beautiful piece of Bottineau’s history and make it useful for another 100 years or more,” Kessler said. “The restored Stone Bank will nod to history and be a cornerstone for Bottineau’s future. We are going to work hard to match the grant and get the back of the building done.”

Donations can be sent to: Touchstones, Inc., P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318.

Here are some pictures of the Stone Bank. It was build in 1900 by pioneer craftsmen from stones brought by glaciers to ND.

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This is the original Bottineau County Bank, completed in Dec. 1900. The rear of the building was extended about 20 feet in the 1930s, but it was built on shallow footings and that caused structural issues in the back of the building. We dismantled the back 20 feet in 2011-2012 to put a proper foundation under it.

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We completed putting down deep footings and a new basement a couple a years ago, but a lack of funding stalled our progress. With the grant from HSND, our plan is to match the grant and get this building enclosed in 2020. This photo shows where the original building joins the rebuilt basement wall. We have the stone and will reattach the facade when the back of the building is enclosed.

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The floor joists are in. Our stone mason, contractor and roofer will make quick work on getting the back of the building enclosed in 2020. But we need to match the $28,491 grant to get it done. It’s time, and we hope you will help us make this happen.

building elevation snip

This architect’s drawing shows what the completed building will look like when it is done. It’s going to look almost exactly like the old building, but we have extended it about 8 feet to make room for a handicap-accessible entrance. It’s going to be a building that is ready for Bottineau’s future.

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We think the Stone Bank is a real touchstone with Bottineau’s history, and it will be around for generations to come. Your gift will really make a difference in 2020.

Leave a comment on the blog or send us an email at touchstones.inc@gmail. com. We’d love to hear from you and we love to hear stories about the Stone Bank.

June 15, 2012

If This Courthouse Could Speak …

Posted in Endangered buildings, Friends of Stone Bank, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 2:39 pm by stonebankblog

It would tell us that it should stand for another 100 years.

But it can’t speak for itself, so the McLean County Heritage Preservation Foundation wants to set the record straight.

Last week, the nonprofit group created and placed an ad in the local paper to dispel a persistent misconception about the  endangered 1907 courthouse.  A misconception that is further endangering  the old courthouse.

McLean County Historic Preservation ad about the 1907 courthouse which has been slated for demolition by the McLean County Commissioners.

In an email, Betty Kost, who is a member of the McLean heritage group, told the Stone Bank Blog that there is confusion about the difference between bat guano and histoplasmosis spores — and that the local news reports have said the building is contaminated, when the scientific tests show that it is not.

Here’s a quote from Betty’s email:

“After 3 years of testing was done in the newer and older portion [of the courthouse] on air, surface and guano testing, no positive tests were found until one positive histoplasmosis sample was found in an air sample, (not in bat guano), in the newer addition.  A hepa filter was used, and no more positive tests were found.”

Betty notes that histoplasmosis spores can be found anywhere — in chicken coops, barns or other places where that birds roost — and can be carried on birds’ wings, beaks and feet.  Hunters, landscapers, farmers etc. can transport the spores on their clothing or shoes, too. But bats can get it in their systems and spread it in their guano.  This does not mean that the spores found in the courthouse were brought  by bats.  The courthouse serves many hunters, landscapers, and farmers, so it easily could have come from a different source.

The point, the preservation group says, is that the courthouse is NOT contaminated. Period.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to see this lovely, historic building demolished for no good reason. It’s not a threat or a danger, so why not give this group time to create a plan for reusing it?

So, if  you can, why not send the McLean County Historic Preservation group your encouragement, your ideas and even some cash? They have a big fight on their hands to save this building. (Contact info. is in their ad.) And you can contact the county commissioners at the addresses listed in the ad, too.

And give a “like” to this post! It’s always good to know the message is getting out!

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!