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

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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.

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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!

July 22, 2015

Concrete progress at the Stone Bank

Posted in Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , , , , at 7:50 am by stonebankblog

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.

Much better.

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 21, 2015

Spark the rebuilding by being the match

Posted in Bottineau, Fundraising, Updates tagged , , , , , at 9:03 am by stonebankblog

We’ve got the right contractor, the best stone mason and a willing plumber. 

What we need now is YOU.

Your donation will help us pay our contractors and provide the financial spark we need to reach our goal of  enclosing the back 20 feet of the Stone Bank this year. 

Can you help? Here’s a newspaper insert we shared last week in our two local papers. If you don’t subscribe, we didn’t want you to feel left out. So here it is. 

  
Your gift will be a match made in heaven! Join us in our effort to save a local landmark! 

Send your check today or follow the links on this page to Razoo or PayPal to make an online donations. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and your gift is tax deductible.

We can’t do it without you. 

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

December 13, 2014

Stone Quote No. 11

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 2:05 pm by stonebankblog

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.

Stone Bank restoration project, Bottineau ND

From the Peace Chapel at the International Peace Garden near Dunseith, ND.

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!

November 18, 2014

Putting the Pieces Together

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, Fundraising, Photos, Pictures tagged , , , at 11:53 pm by stonebankblog

What’s this? The original Stone Bank puzzle back in action?

Indeed. And “in action” a long, long way from Bottineau. This old Stone Bank puzzle is now entertaining folks (and perhaps puzzling them) at a community center near Phoenix!

Thanks to our friend Jane for sending the photos. We love it when folks near and far offer a hand in fixing the Stone Bank, even if it is only putting the puzzle together.

Want to help? Your contribution will help us rebuild the back 20 feet of the building!

Be like Jane! She recently sent a contribution using the PayPal link on this page. Our mailing address is also in the right column. We would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank puzzle is quite different from the competitors for “fixing” in the puzzle closet.

Stone Bank restoration, Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank puzzle is perplexing folks in a community center in Arizona.

June 15, 2014

Deb! Show us your Stone Bank-T

Posted in Fundraising, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , , , at 11:19 am by stonebankblog

Talk about a happy accident! Your Stone Bank blogger sat down to breakfast on the Amtrak recently with two strangers. But we weren’t strangers for long. Deb and Kath were great breakfast companions — and they loved the story of the Stone Bank.

When Deb returned home to Wisconsin, she ordered a Stone Bank T-shirt from StoneBank.org.

Stone Bank restoration project, Bottineau, ND

Meet Deb Martin! She made a $15 donation and got a Stone Bank T-shirt. We would love to see you in one, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Deb!

Deb reports that she loves her shirt and she sent this photo!

This is the year that we plan to raise the back section of the bank and put the roof on. Join us on the journey! Every T-shirt sale helps. Don’t want a T-shirt? Dedicate a stone or just make a contribution.

Let’s get this done! Your donation will make a difference.

Thanks for your support.

 

 

June 8, 2014

Sun. Stone. Scrape. Paint

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Friends of Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Volunteers tagged , , , , at 11:14 pm by stonebankblog

You are looking at a group of ROCKSTARS!

Stone Bank restoration project

Geared up and ready to work. Our Fulbright volunteers got down to business on Sunday.

Our Fulbright volunteers showed up, gloved up and got to work on the windows at the Stone Bank today! (They hail from a number of countries including Germany, Cuba, India and Senegal.

Twelve pairs of hands — and four local volunteers have given a big boost to this project, which is being operated on a shoestring.

You may not be near enough to grab a paint scraper or a can a paint, but you can show the Stone Bank some love with a donation.

We have a lot of work to do in 2014 that must be done by “paid” contractors. So, please: Dedicate a Stone. Make a $15 donation, and we will thank you with one of our Stone Bank T-shirts. Or just send a donation.

Every dollar goes into restoring this delightful and irreplaceable stone building.

As always. Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

June 7, 2014

A Beauty Treatment

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Updates, Volunteers tagged , , , , at 11:25 pm by stonebankblog

Hey, everyone! It’s been too long! Lots going on at the Stone Bank. Here’s  the latest:

Stone Bank restoration

We are working to put this wonderful building back to use on Bottineau’s Main Street.

Volunteers are descending on the Stone Bank on Sunday, June 8, to tackle a really tough project — they are going to scrape, sand, prime and paint the Stone Bank’s windows.

These are very special volunteers — a group of Fulbright scholars from the Minnesota/ND chapter — who are taking a tour of North Dakota and making time to lend a hand in the community. We couldn’t be happier!

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We know that the windows will have to be replaced — but that is later. We need to rebuild the back section of the building and then move on to projects like the windows. In the meantime, they will look better, thanks to this crew of volunteers. Some local volunteers are going to help, too. We will post more as the project takes shape.

Free labor is a great thing. But the Stone Bank needs cash to buy paint and other supplies. We need to match a new grant from the Historical Society of ND, too. Can you help? Every donation helps. Hey, look! There is a PayPal link on this page. (For your convenience.)

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog!

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