Friday, December 16, 2011

Chilkat Valley News - Haines, Alaska

We look at more than 10,000 different photographs every year to find the 300 or so that we will put on our jigsaw puzzles. It is an exhaustive search. We want to make sure we are finding the best images possible for our puzzles.

When we are looking at these photos, we rarely concern ourselves with where the picture is from or even much about what the subject of the photo is. We are looking for photographs that are colorful, fun, sharp, clear, bright and busy. We look for certain themes like castles and hot air balloons, but we try not to limit ourselves too much. And we are willing to try subjects that meet our colorful, fun, sharp, clear, bright and busy criteria even if they are subjects most puzzle companies do not have in their collections. In someways, we like those images even better.

So it was pretty neat when the editor of the Chilkat Valley News in Alaska contacted me recently. He had seen a puzzle of ours that featured a building located on their main street. The puzzle was a panoramic puzzle that we had sold back in 2008 and 2009. The editor wanted to know why we had selected that particular picture. The town is located in Alaska between moutain and the ocean. It is a very scenic location. If one were to visit the town, the last thing they might notice is a rustic building on main street. But that is the image we picked.

The Editor and I traded e-mails and he wrote a small article about the puzzle and the building. Although, we traded e-mails, they missed his deadline, so the last line is technically correct, but I did respond.

Below, I reprint his article with his permission. I found it very interesting to know some of the history and detail behind an image we selected. I hope you will too.

Written by Tom Morphet - editor Chilkat Valley News. Originally printed in the Chilkat Valley New on December 8, 2011.

A popular flower garden on Main Street has been immortalized on a jigsaw puzzle sold nationwide.
Fuzzy von Stauffenberg’s arrangement of lobelias, pansies, salvia, alyssum and tiger lilies along a white, picket fence is part of a series of panoramic puzzles that includes ones of scenes in Venice, Italy, Trafalgar Square, London and St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow.
“I’m immortalized in a puzzle, or my flowers are,” Von Stauffenberg said this week.
The garden scene puzzle, including as backdrop, a weathered, one-room shack at 314 Main Street, is titled “American Home, Main Street, Haines, Alaska.” It was created by the LaFayette Puzzle Factory in LaFayette, Indiana.
Von Stauffenberg said the photo used for the puzzle appears to have been taken the early 1990s. There’s no telling who shot it, she said. “We always had people taking pictures of the garden with Cortez, my cat. Somebody who came through took a picture and sent it off to somebody.”
Although she’s been keeping a garden there since 1984, Von Stauffenberg said she recognized the arrangement featured on the puzzle. “That was probably the most beautiful of the flower boxes we ever did. Everything came together that summer for a perfect garden.”
The building featured in the photo hasn’t been a home for at least 30 years and may have been moved from near the Canada border, she said. It operated as a store selling trinkets and Native crafts before her family bought it in 1984 and started using it as a storage shed.
Von Stauffenberg said her late husband Eric von Stauffenberg, hung a small American flag in the window, and put a metal fuel jug, wicker basket and bicycle rack on the sill because he thought they were eye-catching. The couple operated a restaurant next door for several years.
Rod Hinson, who operates a variety store at Second and Main, has about 10 copies of the 350-piece puzzle for sale. He said he purchased 14 of them through an Ebay seller in California and his mom found and sent him another six.
“When tourists are coming through and they want something from Haines, it’s something we can offer them,” Hinson said. “It doesn’t really show anything about Haines. It’s just a neat backdrop with flowers, but it gets your attention.”
A co-worker brought Von Stauffenberg a copy of the puzzle last spring, but it’s still in the box, she said. “I may get around to doing it when I’m no longer doing flower gardens in my old age,” she said.
Calls and e-mail messages to LaFayette Puzzle Co. this week went unanswered.

Pretty neat! Do not be surprised if we go looking for images from Haines Alaska in the future!


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