Exhibit Takes Colorful Look Back at North Reading History

Artist Don Doyle uses old photos of North Reading as his inspiration in the exhibit “The Way We Were…” at the Flint Memorial Library in November.

North Reading Mail Wagon. Photo credit: Don Doyle.
North Reading Mail Wagon. Photo credit: Don Doyle.

North Reading resident Don Doyle's new exhibit takes us back to another time in North Reading -- and breathes new life into historic photos.

Doyle has transformed the grainy black and white photos of North Reading’s past into a colorful exhibit called "The Way We Were…” that is on display at the Flint Memorial Library in November.

The 14 watercolors include places, scenes and people from North Reading’s past. One of his inspirations is a photo with a brass band from 1871 that he breathed new life into as a watercolor.

“I knew that place, and I knew where the photographer had to stand to take the photo,” Doyle recalled of first seeing the photo. “All the years I lived in Boston, I could never recognize a vintage photo of the city’s streets because Boston changes so fast. I move out here and I feel like I’m standing in history (kind of the reverse of what one would expect).”

Doyle said he is fascinated by vintage photographs, especially those that include people. He worked with the Flint Memorial Library and the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society to find photos of a different time.

In addition to his watercolor of the brass band are watercolors of the Putnam House, Haverhill Street circa 1917, a 100-year-old baseball team, the old Ryer’s and the fire brigade circa 1900.

Doyle’s exhibit is on the first floor of the library. It will be on display until Nov. 30.

Flip through on the photos above to see some of the watercolors on display. 


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