Sandstone Building in N.D. Town Slated for Demolition

Tue February 13, 2007 - Midwest Edition
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LINTON, N.D. (AP) An abandoned 102-year-old sandstone building here is slated to be razed unless someone pays off the back taxes to save it.

Built as a hospital in 1905, the three-story building was converted to apartments in 1944. It is one of approximately a dozen buildings in Linton made from sandstone, a plentiful material near the south central North Dakota town of approximately 1,300 people.

The building is scheduled to be demolished this year unless someone comes up with $10,000 to buy it, Emmons County auditor Anna Mary Dockter said. That’s the amount owed in back taxes, she said.

Dockter said demolition is at a standstill for now, while the county waits for the state Health Department to move ahead on a contract to remove asbestos from the building.

Dockter said no one has protested the stone building’s fate.

“It’s kind of sad,” Dockter said. “It belongs there.”

“It’s part of our history and it can’t be replaced,” said Susan Sandwick, of Linton. She said it would take more money and work than the local historical society has to save it.

“We’re not rich enough,” she said.

The historical society did save an old Episcopal church made from sandstone, and converted it into a museum.

An old bank building in Linton, with its sandstone vault, was recently demolished.

Linton is still getting good use from the several other sandstone buildings in the community.

Mercedes Goetz has an office in one of them, a one-story stone building built in 1903.

She said it’s comfortable and easy to heat.

Kristy Llerenas opened a business in a building that was built as a bakery in 1905. A Touch of Honey features wax and honey products.

She had her storefront resurfaced with local sandstone, from an old building at a farm site.

“I like old things,” Llerenas said. She said renovations of the building over the years left it looking unsightly, but rock solid underneath.

There is no shortage of sandstone in North Dakota, a sedimentary rock that ranges from sturdy to loose and crumbly, said Ed Murphy, the state geologist and director of the Geological Survey.

Murphy said sandstone was not often used as a building material in North Dakota. Loose field stone left by retreating glaciers was easier to collect and more commonly used for old buildings in the state.

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