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!


January 19, 2014

Old and Still Very Useful

Posted in Bottineau, History, Main Street, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 10:08 pm by stonebankblog

Oh, how it makes the Stone Bank blogger happy to see a great old building with a new lease on life.

Right there on Main Street in Red Wing, Minn., is a Caribou Coffee in a red brick railway station from 1906. Not too crazy about the interior, but it’s just great to see this building standing, sturdy and useful. Hurrah.

Don’t you love a timeline? Here are the details:

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Love it!

We want the same for our Stone Bank. Sturdy and useful and IN USE for the next 100 years or more.

For comparison’s sake: Bottineau County Bank (what we now call the Stone Bank) was founded in 1887. The Stone Bank was built in the last six months in 1900 — and replaced an earlier wood-frame building. It was Bottineau’s first bank, which failed in 1923. The building had many uses over the years and most recently was a lawyer’s office. We know that our restoration project will give it a new life in the next couple of years.

Do you have a favorite restored building in your home town or someplace you have visited? What was it built for and how is it now used? Send a photo and we will post it.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. Comments and contributions always welcome.

December 31, 2013

You Rocked the Support!

Posted in Bottineau, Endangered buildings, Fundraising, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates, Volunteers tagged , , , , at 12:09 pm by stonebankblog

Happy. Happy. New Year!

Happy. Happy. New Year!

It has been a really busy year at the Stone Bank — and it has been a year where we have made important progress — and have done a LOT of heavy lifting.

  • Our stone mason finished dismantling the back section of the bank in the spring of 2013.
  • We did some problem-solving around the issue of putting in a new foundation during the summer months, which included shoring up the foundation of the neighboring building and dealing with a wet spot.
  • Wonderful Monte Mikkelsen and his crew from Mikkelsen Aggregates donated time and equipment to excavate the pit for the new foundation.
  • Footings were poured and the new foundation began to rise in the fall, where none had existed before.
  • By late in the fall, the foundation was up to grade and we are in a great position to finish raising the back section in 2014.

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We couldn’t have done it without support from the Historical Society of ND and donations from Otter Tail Power, the Bottineau County Board, Preservation ND, Turtle Mountain Communications, St. Michel Furniture, the State Bank of Bottineau and dozens of individuals who made donations, dedicated a stone, bought T-shirts and volunteered their time to help move the project forward. Thank you!

But — we need to ask again. Can you write another check? We plan to make big progress in 2014. For starters, we will complete rebuilding the back 20 feet of the building and put the roof on. Then we need to get the old bank ready for its new life with plumbing and heating and renovating the interior!

Early in 2014, we are going to begin the process of finding a tenant or tenants for this swell building. Any ideas? We would love to hear them.

We are so excited for the Stone Bank’s potential to be a historic anchor for Bottineau’s Main Street. But we can’t get it done without community support. Remember, Touchstones, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donation is tax deductible.

So end 2013 with a glad tidings of support for the Stone Bank. This project is preserving a piece of Bottineau history — and helping the building play a role in Bottineau’s future.

Our fundraising goal for 2014 is $50,000. Every dollar helps.


Let’s keep it going! The hardest part is behind us and the fun part is here.

Our mailing address is: Touchstones, Inc., 524 Main Street, P.O. Box 272, Bottineau, ND 58318

Or you can make a donation online using PayPal or Razoo. Links are on the right column of this page.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.

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 5, 2013

You Look Great in Blue!

Posted in Friends of Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures tagged , , , , at 1:47 pm by stonebankblog

This is really a nice T-shirt!

That’s why my colleague Jeff G. said when he put on his new Stone Bank T-shirt.

Stone Bank in Bottineau, Nd

Another friend of the Stone Bank rocks the T-shirt. But his hands are out suggesting perhaps that you make a donation to our worthy cause.

Buy a shirt. Send us a photo and we will post it on the blog.

Jeff’s photo was taken at the office in downtown Saint Paul. Where will you pose for your Stone Bank photo?

We would love to post it here during National Blog Posting Month. The month is young — and we have the room.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. We always appreciate comments and likes. (Heck, everyone wants to be liked. Jeff does. The Stone Bank does. The blogger does. So send us some love.)

Check out our website for information on ordering a T-shirt.

November 3, 2013

It takes courage… and patience

Posted in Bottineau, Inside Stone Bank, Photos, Pictures, Stone Work, Updates tagged , , , , at 7:11 pm by stonebankblog

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.

Discouraged? Sometimes.


Stone Bank project in Bottineau, ND

Slogans and helpful sayings somehow are helpful. Here’s one.

So, no. It is not easy. But saving this historic gem is right and that makes it worth the angst.

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

This is how the Stone Bank looked in October 2011. The back wall was crumbling and something clearly had to be done.

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.

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

This is what the back 20 feet of the Stone Bank was sitting on — very shallow footings. At rear, you can see the back stone shelf supporting the back wall.

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.

Stone Bank, Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank with the back wall and 20 feet of the south wall removed. The stone wall at rear in this photo was dismantled in 2012 and early 2013.

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.

April 22, 2013

Move Over Sisyphus

Posted in Dismantling the back, Photos, Pictures, Renovation, Updates tagged , , at 12:35 am by stonebankblog

Moving stone — successfully.  That’s the story this week at the Stone Bank.

Stone Bank Bottineau ND

Stone mason Joe Whetter removes a stone from the North Wall. Blackened stones behind him show damage from a fire in the 1970s.

After a couple weeks of work, Joe has completed taking down the North Wall — stone by heavy stone.

The North Wall of the Stone Bank has been removed. Wall at rear is the exterior wall of the building next door. Foreground shows remaining raised foundation on south of Stone Bank and floor joists.

The North Wall of the Stone Bank has been removed. Wall at rear is the exterior wall of the building next door. Foreground shows remaining raised foundation on south of Stone Bank and floor joists.

For those of you just joining us, we had to dismantle the back 20 feet of the Stone Bank, which was built of local stone in 1900. The back section sits on shallow  footings and was settling and causing structural issues. In 2013, we will put a new foundation under the back of the building  and then put it all back together again — with all the modern conveniences.

Stone Bank dismantling project in Bottineau, ND

This picture from October 2012, shows the North Wall exposed during the dismantling process. Cold temps and heavy snow stalled work on the project in the fall — but we are moving now.

Now what? We keep moving.  We have  a great architect, a strong and determined stone mason and a plan. What we need is your help. Even with grant money, we need local donations to help get this marvelous structure repaired and put back into use.

Here’s the difference between the “legend of the Stone Bank” and the myth of Sisyphus. The Stone Bank Project is not going to last an eternity — nor is it punishment.  Instead, we are embracing our town’s history and this wonderful building and pushing the Stone Bank into the future.

Can you help? Dedicate a stone or send a donation. You don’t have to lift anything heavier that your pen — and you can help put the Stone Bank back together again.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

April 7, 2013

Stone Quote No. 8

Posted in Dismantling the back, History, Photos, Stone Quotes tagged , , , , at 12:00 pm by stonebankblog

The Giver and the Gift

James Russell Lowell, and American poet, 1819-1891

James Russell Lowell, an American poet, 1819-1891.

To learn more about poet James Russell Lowell, check out the Poetry Foundation’s biography.

Beauty and history are two other needs your “alms” can feed. Our work to preserve and restore the Stone Bank on Bottineau’s Main Street is moving ahead, but we really need your help to pay our stone mason and buy supplies. It’s a different kind of hunger — but one that must be met somehow.

How can you help?

Join our “Dedicate a Stone” campaign to help rebuild the back 20 feet of the bank over a new foundation.

Encourage your friends, family, neighbors and organizations to chip in.  We truly need your help to make this happen.

Want to know more about dedicating a stone? Click here and visit our website to see our lovely commemorative certificate.

Don’t leave us hanging!

The edge of the Stone Bank

The edge of the south wall dismantled in 2012. The wall will be rebuilt over a new foundation in 2013, with your support.

We have 20 feet down and 20 feet left to rebuild. Built in 1900, the Stone Bank has borne witness to a growing and changing Bottineau over the years. Help us restore it and put it back to use so it can reflect the changes of light and passing clouds and Bottineau history for another century.

Stone Bank Bottineau, ND

The Stone Bank showing the jagged edge at rear where 20 feet of the building was taken down.

The Stone Bank is a beauty worth saving. Please make a gift or a stone dedication today.

Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog. Scroll down to the last two posts to see pictures of our stone mason at work last week.

April 3, 2013

Behind the Wall … Another Wall

Posted in Bottineau, Dismantling the back, History, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , , at 11:15 pm by stonebankblog


With the weather finally improving, stone mason Joe Whetter has gotten back to work on the Stone Bank.

Job #1 is to take down the North Wall to make way for foundation work, and Joe has been moving stone for a couple of days. Behind the Stone Bank’s North Wall is the concrete block wall of the building next door. Joe says there is a gap of several inches between the buildings — whew. Much easier for him to remove stone that is NOT attached to the building next door. (Joe actually worked on the concrete block wall in the 1970s!)

And while he dismantles it, the North Wall is telling Joe a bit of  its history. For instance, he said it is clear that the masons who put up this wall ran out of “medium” stones, because there were LARGE stones — 300 pounds — along the top rows.  What does that mean? Joe suggests that the long-ago masons ran short of stones cut to the right dimensions, wanted to finish and just used what they had on hand to get the job done. Then the roof  and the north parapet were covered in tar paper roofing and sat there for a good long time.

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Speaking of moving stone — have you dedicated a stone yet? It’s a great way to- – a-hem  — kill two birds with one stone. Dedicate a stone to a loved one or your class, business or best friend and help support the ongoing restoration work at the Stone Bank.  Each stone dedication comes with a lovely commemorative certificate.  We have one posted on StoneBank.org.

You don’t have to lift anything but your pen to the face of a check to help us keep moving those stones.

Thanks to Scott Wagar of the Bottineau Courant for keeping an eye on the project and sharing his pictures.

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.

March 18, 2013

Snow on Stone

Posted in Bottineau, History, Photos, Pictures, Updates tagged , , at 10:04 pm by stonebankblog

It has been a snowy and cold… no, make that a COLD week in Bottineau.

As luck would have it, the Stone Bank looks good in white.  Check out photos from this weekend and then compare them to the photo from 1903. On  Main Street 110 years ago there were no cell phones, no motorized snowplows, no Internet. but they sure had a heck of a lot of snow (and a very charming stone bank).

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For snow lovers it has been a great winter.
But over at the Stone Bank Project
we are yearning for some nice weather,
so we can get back to work on the building. 
Have you dedicated your stone yet? Check it out on the website.

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