The Newcastle Historical Society is offering historical images of the Newcastle-Damariscotta region that have been converted into high-quality jigsaw puzzles.
“Society board members thought it would be a fun and unique way for people to support the society’s mission of preserving the history of the area as well as to celebrate that history,” society President Tim Dinsmore said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a resurgence in the old pastime of putting jigsaw puzzles together.
“I have heard from many area residents and other acquaintances — of all ages — who are partaking in this family-fun activity and who see it as an alternative form of entertainment when other forms of entertainment have been muted or completely ceased due to the pandemic. I think people find it nostalgic and have rediscovered how much fun it really is,” Tim Dinsmore said. “It is our hope that year-round and seasonal residents alike will support this fundraising endeavor by making a contribution of $100 in exchange for a local history puzzle of their choosing.”
The historical puzzle images selected for use in this limited offering come from the society’s extensive collection of historic negatives known as the Dinsmore-Flye Photo Collection. The collection numbers approximately 60,000 images (negatives) and was gifted to the society by Charles Flye when the Pictorial Studio on Academy Hill in Newcastle closed for business in 2003.
The name of the collection honors the late Ivan Flye and Carroll Dinsmore Jr. — Ivan Flye owned the business and Tim Dinsmore’s dad, Carroll Dinsmore, managed the business. Both men photographed numerous area school activities, town celebrations, passports, weddings, anniversaries, boat launchings, plays, works by artists, auctioneers, and much more.
Part of this historic photo collection stretches back to the late 19th century as a result of Flye’s acquisition of past area photo shops. Society members have a daunting task as they continue to scan this massive collection so as to preserve it for future showings that will highlight the history of the region. Eventually, researchers will have access to the collection as well.
It’s a massive undertaking and requires countless hours more of scanning negatives, purchasing acid-free envelopes and storage boxes, computer upgrades, and eventual construction of a climate-controlled storage room in which to house the negatives. Proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward preserving this collection.
The society is limiting the number of puzzle images at this time to see how well they are received within the community. “If the interest is great, we will produce more,” Dinsmore said. “We currently have historic images of select Newcastle churches, wooden sailing vessels — including the steamboat Newcastle, alewives fishery at Damariscotta Mills, Newcastle-Damariscotta bridge view, brick-making, etc. They would make a great Christmas present, and more importantly, it’s a way to support the society’s efforts to preserve an impressive collection of images that document the area’s past.”
The black-and-white puzzle images measure 16 inches by 20 inches, contain 520 pieces, and are being offered for a $100 contribution per person.
Contributions can be sent to the Newcastle Historical Society at P.O. Box 482, Newcastle, ME 04553. Personal checks or PayPal through the society’s website are acceptable methods of payment.
To select a jigsaw puzzle image, go to nhsmaine.org or email email@example.com. Alternatively, please contact Tim Dinsmore at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Newcastle Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.