Friday, September 24, 2021

Narcissus Restoration Update September 24, 2021

View of the 1912 Portland-Lewiston No. 12, Narcissus 
in the Donald G. Curry Restoration Shop at Seashore Trolley
Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. The number 2 end is seen
on the right. PWM August 21, 2021 

The number 1 end is seen on the left.
PWM August 21, 2021

The Narcissus was built in 1912 in Laconia, NH and operated on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI) between the two cities from 1914 to 1933. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus from Lewiston to Portland on August 18, 1914. 

     The blog posts include updates on the restoration of the National Register of Historic Places, Narcissus, which is currently taking place at Seashore Trolley Museum's Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop in Kennebunkport, Maine. Posts also include topics; on the connections that Theodore Roosevelt has here in Maine, the PLI and its connections to the communities it served (Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Gray, New Gloucester, Auburn, and Lewiston), the builder of the PLI, W. S. Libbeyother electric railway systems in Maine, and people of Maine that had an impact on the electric railway development here in Maine.

This 2021 restoration update includes the work described below:

Passenger Windows - 
One of the twenty-six passenger windows with mahogany sash.
There were nearly twenty original passenger window sash in various
conditions. Some could be repaired, some sash were beyond
repair. Replica sash was made with mahogany where needed. The glass that
was missing from most sash has been matched to the original
and installed.
PWM 1-6-2021 PWM

Vestibule Sash -
The four large vestibule sash were individually
 dismantled and segments examined. It was
determined that all the sash had received major
repairs over many years. Enough original
segments remained and were utilized as patterns
to make four replacement sash. PWM

Making mortise cuts in the vestibule sash.
Seth Reed

Replacement mahogany vestibule sash with
newly cut mortise. Seth Reed

Replacement mahogany vestiblue sash
sections showing their tenons. Seth Reed

Matching the tenon with the mortise as 
replacement vesibule sash are assembled.
Seth Reed

Closeup of the finish product.
Seth Reed

Replacement mahogany sash showing the
craftsmanship of master woodworker,
Seth Reed. Seth Reed Photo

The four replacement mahogany sash for
the vestibules of the Narcissus. The
extensions at top are done on purpose to
allow for  adjustments while each is being
installed. Each sash will have the extensions
sawn to have each sash fit securely. PWM

Steel Channel/Side Sill Timbers - 
These next three photos were first posted in 2019. I include them here for background to the photos, etc. that follow. These three images were supplied to the Museum by the various vendors that had a hand in locating, milling, and delivering the milled vintage southern yellow pine timbers for use in the Narcissus.

Possible candidates for Narcissus side sills
sitting in Springfield, MA at Armster
Reclaimed Lumber.

In the Springfield, MA area, this 40-foot x 11.5" x 13.5"
timber is about to begin its transformation as two, 37-foot x
5" x 8" timbers are extrapolated during the
cutting/sawing/milling process. The timber milled into
two sills for the Narcissus came from a Brass Foundry that
was built in Connecticut circa 1880.

Once the exterior sides are milled, then the
large timber is sawn in half. This milling
then produces a surprising reaction
from the old-growth timber.

Once the timbers were in the restoration shop for
work to begin to prep for installation, many
of the knots had started to seep sap. 

One of the many knots
seeping sap from the
milled timber that was
initially installed in a
brass foundry during 
construction circa 1880.

These two timbers are incredible.

One of the two vintage side sill timbers being
matched with its steel channel. Following their
preparation, as a joined pair, the set will be
stored until they are retrieved for installation
in the Narcissus. PWM

After participating in the
matching procees with its
partner side sill timber, each
of the steel channels were
prepped and primed. Later
both would be stored in the
54-foot storage trailer that
contains Narcissus components.

Both steel channels and the sills are prepped and awaiting
their being joined with their respective matched partner, then
secured together until it is their turn to be installed in the Narcissus.

No. 2 End Vestibule - 

An October 16, 2017 view of the
number 2 end of the Narcissus. PWM

Beginning early in 2021, the process of dismantling the number 2 end began. Copious photos were taken as the process proceeded. All spaces between components were measured. Each component was measured precisely and all measurements were recorded. The data was uploaded to the files in the SolidWorks, 3-D CAD program.

One of the photos taken prior to starting
the processes of dismantling the number 2
end of the Narcissus. Ernie Eaton

Old photographs of the Laconia-built interurbans are helpful in determining perspective and accuracy for the 3-D CAD model. Below. left, is the number 1 end of No. 12, Gladiolus in the Lewiston carhouse. On the right is a virtual rendering of the number 1 end of the Narcissus generated from the Solidworks program. Ernie has positioned the vitual model of the Narcissus to mimic the position of the Gladiolus. This is not the final rendering and requires additional data along with minor repositioning. As data files of various components are added to the Solidworks program, the virtual model of the Narcissus becomes more complete. This step is but one of many to assist Ernie in determining accuarcy of placement of the thousands of individual component files that make up the Narcissus.

Ernie Eaton is the restoration shop project manager overseeing
all aspects of the restoration of the Narcissus. He secured the
license for the Museum to use the SolidWorks 3-D CAD
software. Ernie enters all data (thousands of individual data
entries) files into the program that then becomes
available as a virtual 3-D model.

A virtual rendering of the number 1 end
in color. As additional data from measuring
components is added to the program, the
virtual model rendering becomes more complete.
Ernie Eaton

The dismantling process of the number 2 end of
the Narcissus has begun.
March 2021 - Eaton Eaton

One of the original stained glass windows in its mahogany
sash from the 1912 Arbutus. This window is from the clerestory
on the number 2 end of the Arbutus. I use this window
as a display item when we have a canopy with tables with
displays during a community event or a Museum event
or a speaking engagement. In this image, it is used
as a backdrop in my cottage during Zoom meetings.

Woodwork being done on the No. 2 End

Seth Reed is the master finish woodworker in the
Museum's restoration shop. Seth is seen here making cuts to
a block of ash that will become a replacement component
for the Narcissus. Seth and Ernie examine and test each
wood component that is removed from the Narcissus to determine
whether the component can be repaired and reused or if
a new replica component needs to be produced. 
Ernie Eaton

Ash components that have been reproduced or repaired.

A reproduced component attached to an original.

The same components as in the above photo but showing the
damaged end on the original. PWM

Many of these wood components from the number 2 end have
many complicated cuts. 

The window post attached to the original is secured together
with green painter's tape. The repaired post is on the top. One
end of the very complicated corner door post is seen in the
foreground. PWM

Repairs seen on one of the several cross-braces for the
dasher underneath the vestibule windows.

Closeup of a couple of repairs. The repaired door post seen
on the left is seen nearly complete in the photo below

Repaired window post.
5-19-2021 Seth Reed 

Reverse side of the repaired window post.
5-19-2021 Seth Reed 

Viewing some of the complicated cuts
of the doorposts. 5-1-2021 Seth Reed 

Opposite end of two of the door posts.
5-1-2021 Seth Reed  

Laura Libbey Conley, great, great granddaughter
to W. Scott Libbey, builder of the PLI, expressing
her excitement at seeing the quality of the finish
woodwork of the complicated door post from
the number 2 end of the Narcissus.
8-7-2021 PWM

A short video clip of one of the replacement ash
door posts for the number 2 end of the Narcissus

Click Here to see the YouTube clip if you are unable to open the embedded link above

Steel I-beams No. 2 End Vestibule - 

The PLI interurbans original construction inclued two
47-foot-long steel I-beams down the center of the full length
of the coach. Wood was set in the sides of each of the
I-beam for use to securing various components and wood
crossbeams. Ernie Eaton

The ends of the I-beams supporting the vestibules were in
very poor condition. The ends of the I-beams were cut and
the sections removed from about where the bulkheads are
located in the passenger compartment. New I-beams were
welded into place. Ernie Eaton

Closeup of the original steel I-beams on the
number 2 end of the Narcissus. Ernie Eaton

The top I-beam segment is one of the two
original ends cut from the number two end
I-beams. The I-beam below is one of the two
replacement steel I-beam segments that will be
welded into place. Ernie Eaton

Westinghouse Multi-Unit & HL Controller - The Westinghouse HL control Multi Unit seen below was one of the many then-declared obsolete items retreived in the mid-to-late 1960s from the Boston 'T''s Everett shops. One of two HL-15-B Westinghouse Multiple Control System controllers is attached to the Multi Unit. Also in the late 60s, a trade of components was made with BAERA (Bay Area Electric Railroad Association) in Suisun, CA for the two controllers.

The Westinghouse Multiple Control System with an HL-15-B
controller attached temporarily while the system is 
prepped for testing. PWM

Ernie Eaton seen here is about to conduct a test of the 
HL-15-B controller and its connections with the Multi-Unit
as the controller is engaged through the various "notches"
of series and parallel. PWM

Ernie Eaton demonstrating the process of engagning the
HL-15-B controller. The test setup includes an airline feed,
a custom-made resisistor grid, and a pair of light bulbs with
special wiring. As the controller is engaged with each "notch"
the brightness of the light emitted from the bulb(s) varies
in brightness as contact with each notch in made in 
series and parallel. PWM

Click Here for the post that has the short virtual 3-D video of the digital model of the Narcissus, with components added to the file from earlier this year (the gold leaf file had not been added yet).
Restoration work continues on the Narcissus. The Narcissus is more than 100 years old now and has so many incredible stories to share. The restoration of this majestic icon of Maine's electric railway history is but one.

     The Narcissus is featured in the national Gold Award-winning novel, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride. The "Elegant Ride" is the Narcissus. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914, between Lewiston and Portland, Maine, while campaigning for the Progressive Party candidates.

Independent book publisher, Phil Morse, holding
the Gold Book Award Winner plaque for
 the Middle Reader category for The Eric
Hoffer Book Award. Congratulations to
award-winning Maine author,
Jean M. Flahive

Seashore Trolley Museum Promo Video 
     The paperback edition of Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride can be purchased online through the Seashore Trolley Museum's store website. Books purchased through the Museum's website directly benefit the Museum and the Narcissus project. 

Click Here to go to the Museum Store webpage to order online

Click Here to go to the Amazon page to order the paperback, ebook, or audiobook online

Paperback books are available at these local bookstores in Maine:
Center for Maine Crafts, West Gardiner Service Plaza
The Book Review, Falmouth
The Bookworm, Gorham
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland

Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride
by Jean M. Flahive
Illustrations by Amy J. Gagnon

Listen to a 2-minute, 30-second, Retail Audio Sample of the Audiobook 

     Millie Thayer is a headstrong farmer's daughter who chases her dreams in a way you would expect a little girl nicknamed "Spitfire" would-running full tilt and with her eyes on the stars. Dreaming of leaving the farm life, working in the city, and fighting for women's right to vote, Millie imagines flying away on a magic carpet. One day, that flying carpet shows up in the form of an electric trolley that cuts across her farm. A fortune-teller predicts that Millie's path will cross that of someone famous. Suddenly, she finds herself caught up in events that shake the nation, Maine, and her family. Despairing that her dreams may be shattered, Millie learns, in an unexpected way, that dreams can be shared.

A resource for teachers 

Companion curriculum State-standard-based units,

vocabulary, and reading activities for use in grades 3-8

are available online as downloadable resources through

Seashore Trolley Museum's website

Maine Historical Society has created eight companion lesson units in Social Studies and ELA that were inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - These State-standard-based lesson plans for use in grades 6, 7, and 8 are easily adapted for use in grades 3-5.  Vocabulary and Reading activities  for grades 3-8 along with the eight lesson plan units are available free and may be downloaded through Seashore Trolley Museum's website
Go to the Teacher Resource Page in the pulldown for more details.

A 60-second intro to Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride by author, Jean Flahive
Click Here to watch the video on YouTube 

Award-winning author, Jean M. Flahive


Please Consider a Donation to the Narcissus Project to help us tell the incredible story of the Narcissus through the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project.

     Here is an example of how donations to the Narcissus Project now will help with the interpretation portion of the project. The interpretation programming will include exhibits, displays, education programming. During 2019, through generous donations to the Narcissus Project, we were able to conserve, replicate, and have high resolutions digital image files made of the original, 1910, 28.5-foot long, surveyor map of the elevation and grade of the 30-mile private right-of-way of the Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad (Portland-Lewiston Interurban)  Click Here 

Thank You!

Theodore Roosevelt on the Narcissus when addressing
the crowd gathered in Gray, Maine on August 18, 1914.
Image courtesy of Gray Historical Society

The Narcissus as the Sabattus Lake Diner in Sabattus, Maine,
circa 1940. Photo by John Coughlin in the Kevin Farrell
Collection at Seashore Trolley Museum

L. Henri Vallee (right) and family members in the
Narcissus, when it was Vallee's summer camp in
Sabattus, Maine circa 1958. Photo courtesy
Daniel Vallee

The Narcissus in the restoration shop in 2020.PWM

   Inside the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop, the Narcissus is in the midst of major work as we strive to complete its restoration. We are now planning the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project. Donations to the Narcissus Project may be used in the future to help tell the incredible 100-plus-year-old story of the Narcissus. Your donation to the Narcissus is helping to make the dream of the project's success, a reality.

See below for Donation options -
It starts with YOU
Your Donation Matters
Make a Donation TODAY

Please Help the Narcissus. 
Donation Options to Help the Narcissus Project:

The New England Electric Railway Historical Society
is the 501c3 organization that owns and operates the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME, and the National Streetcar
The New England Electric Railway Historical Society registered with the IRS (EIN# 01-0244457) and was incorporated in Maine in 1941.

Check or Money Order ***** should be made payable to:
New England Electric Railway Historical Society
In the memo: for a donation to the Interpretation programming
please write: PLI Education Fund 817
For a donation to help with the restoration write: Narcissus Fund 816
Mail to: Seashore Trolley Museum
              P. O. Box A
              Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Credit Card ***** donations can be a one-time donation or you
may choose to have a specific amount charged to your card
automatically on a monthly basis. Please contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5.

Online Donations - may be made by using a Credit Card: 
Click Here to make an online donation through the Museum's website - When at the Donation page: Fill in donor info, etc., when at "To which fund are you donating? Scroll down to "Other" and type in: 816 Narcissus, then continue on filling in the required information.

Click Here for PayPal - to make an online donation: you can use email: and in the message box write:
For "Narcissus Fund 816" - if supporting the restoration
For "PLI Education Fund 817" - if supporting Interpretation programs

Donation of Securities ***** We also accept donations of
securities. You can contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5,
for brokerage account information for accepting donated securities.

BONUS ***** If you work for a company/corporation that will
"match" an employee's donation to an approved 501c3 non-profit
educational organization, please be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your employer so that your donation is matched :)

Questions? ***** Please contact Narcissus project sponsor:
Phil Morse, or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You for our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2018 - Major Gift, 2017/2014 Matching Grants
Renaissance Charitable Foundation (LPCT) by Fiduciary Trust Charitable Giving Fund
Mass Bay RRE - 2018 Railroad Preservation Grant 
Thornton Academy (Saco, ME) - Staff & Alumni - Matching Grant Challenge 2014
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (Kennebunkport, ME) - Member Donations
Amherst Railway Society - 2015 Heritage Grant
National Railway Historical Society - 2016 & 2015 Heritage Preservation Grants
Enterprise Holding Foundation - 2015 Community Grant
Theodore Roosevelt Association - Member Donations
John Libby Family Association and Member Donations
* The Conley Family - In Memory of Scott Libbey 2018/2017/2016/2015
* The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 2018/2017
* The Hughes Family 2017/2016/2010
New Gloucester Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Public Library Association - Pat Barter Speaker Series
* LogMein - Matching Employee Donation
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016

The Narcissus, with interior back-lit, stained glass windows are majestic.
Make a donation today to help restore the interior of this Maine gem.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track! Once restored,
you will be able to ride in luxury on this National Register Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo

Please Consider Making a Donation to the project of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus. We are currently raising funds to tell the incredible story of this Maine gem.

Various News stories during the summer of 2015 about the
Narcissus and its connection to Theodore Roosevelt. TR
was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.

The Narcissus - July 31, 2015. Make a donation today.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track!
Once restored, you will be able to ride in luxury on this
National Historic Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.