Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Seashore's Trolleys Relative to Theodore Roosevelt's Timeline - Part 1 - 1858-1900

Theodore Roosevelt's Timeline and Parallels with
Seashore Trolley Museum's Historic Railway Collection 

Theodore Roosevelt utilized rail transportation throughout his life.
Here he addresses an assembled crowd on August 18, 1914, in Gray, ME.
TR is aboard the Portland Lewiston Interurban No. 14, Narcissus. He would
ride a PLI interurban again on August 31, 1916, The Narcissus is currently
undergoing restoration at Seashore Trolley Museum's Town House Shop,  in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Seashore Trolley Museum will host a special fundraising event for the Narcissus
7/31 through 8/2 2015, Theodore Roosevelt: Naturalist, Nature, and the Narcissus

(Excerpts in large part from Trolley Car Treasury, (1956) by Frank Rowsome)
The year of TR's birth, 1858, Philadelphia opened its first horsecar line.
Horse-drawn trolleys (horsecars) on rails, first came onto the public transportation scene in the late 1820s. They evolved from the earlier horse-drawn omnibus, which was basically a city version of the stagecoach. Manhattan had its first horsecar line in 1832. By the early 1850s, horsecar lines had been spreading throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Horse Railroad of Fryeburg, Maine
1887-1917 - postcard above
postmarked October 22, 1909
Collection of  PWM

Many forms of "horseless" cars were tried over many years, but the system that ultimately won out was the electrically-fed trolley car designed by Frank Julian Sprague and first put into large-scale operation in Richmond, VA beginning in January 1888.

Seashore Trolley Museum's extensive collection includes railway vehicles and buildings that were built and were part of the fabric of public transportation throughout TR's life. Trolley description details from Seashore Trolley Museum website, A guide to the Seashore Trolley Museum Collection, and from Historic Cars by Ben Minnich. TR timeline info was taken from NPS Theodore Roosevelt Timeline.

Theodore Roosevelt            Seashore Trolley Museum Collection
Timeline (abridged)                                         Timeline (abridged)

1858 - Born October 27, 
28 East 20th Street, NY, NY PWM
1850s  Suffolk County Sheriff's Wagon
Suffolk County (Boston), MA
Omnibus converted to a prisoner transport van PWM


1878 - No. 34
New Bedford, MA
Originally a horse-drawn car, later
equipped with electric motors. Later still,
remodeled to carry U. S. Mail. Used 
on October 8, 1983, at Seashore
Trolley Museum for the introduction
of the U. S. Postal Streetcar Commemorative
Stamps by then Vice-President
George Bush and Postmaster
General William Bolger. PWM

1878-1879 Three trips to
Island Falls, Maine

TR, William Sewall, Wilmot Dow
(William Sewall was Wilmot Dow's Uncle )
c February 1879
Houghton Library, Harvard University
TRC 520.12-016


1880 Theodore Roosevelt graduates
from Harvard University
Houghton Library Harvard University
TRC 520.12-003

October 8, 1983, Commemorative
First Day Covers PWM

1880 - No. 10
Union Street Railway Horsecar
 from New Bedford, MA
Along with No. 34 above, these two
are Seashore's two oldest street
railway cars. PWM

1882 - Publishes first book,
"The Naval War of 1812"

1884-1886 - Dakota Territory
Wilmot Dow, TR, & William Sewall
at Elkhorn Ranch, Dakota Territory
(located in what is now North Dakota)
(Wilmot Dow was William Sewall's nephew)
Houghton Library, Harvard University
TRC 520.14-005

1884 - No. 724 
Boston, MA
Originally a horse-drawn car, later
converted to electric motors.
Oldest known surviving piece of
Boston railway transit equipment.
Charles Duncan (D. Cohen Collection)

1885 - Publishes his second book,
"Hunting Trips of a Ranchman"

TR's Elkhorn Ranch, Dakota Territory
William Sewall and Wilmot Dow built
the Elkhorn Ranch.
 c 1886 Houghton Library,
Harvard University TRC 560.14-001c 

(No image)
1888 - No. 3256
Bay Street Railway (MA)
Eight-bench open car

1893 - No. 8
Mousam River Railroad, ME
Baggage Trailer (Express)
Seashore's oldest express car.


1887 - Publishes "Life of Thomas Hart Benton"                                                  

1888 - Publishes "Ranch Life"
and "The Hunting Trail", Essays in
Practical Politics", and "Life of
Gouverneur Morris"

1894 - No. 925
West End Street Railway (Boston, MA)
Originally a Parlor Car, which was
often used for funerals. Later it
became a work car. STM
1889 - Publishes the first two volumes
of "The Winning of the West"

   1893 Publishes "The
Wilderness Hunter" 



1895 - No. 1059 (twin to No. 235)
West End Street Railway (Boston, MA)
Originally with open platforms,
operator areas were enclosed the early 1900s.
Later converted a rail grinding car. Cars
like these inspired the late Fontaine Fox
to create his famous "Toonerville Folks"
comic strips and cartoons. No. 60 from
Manchester, NH is also similar. STM


Publishes "Hero Tales from
American History"
NYC Police Commissioner
Established the foundation of
the Police Academy, one of the
country's first.

TR goes hunting at his
1896 - No. 18
Millennium Underground Railway Subway
Budapest, Hungary
Continental Europe's first electric subway
was opened
Elkhorn Ranch in ND.


1899 - No. 113
New York State Railways
Sodus Bay Route ("Royal Blue Line")
One of the first interurban cars and the
oldest known to exist.
Harold Goldsmith

Publishes "American Ideals"                                                           
Appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy.                                          

Resigns as ASN to  become
Lieutenant-Colonel of the
1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry
Regiment (the "Rough Riders")
Served in the Spanish American
War and is promoted to Colonel
of the regiment before the
Battle of San Juan Heights.
Elected Governor of NY - PWM

1897 - City of Manchester
Manchester Street Railway (NH)
Deluxe parlor car. First streetcar
retrieved from secondary service
(children's playhouse) and completely
restored to operating condition. PWM

1900 - No. 31
Biddeford and Saco Railroad
Twelve-bench open car. First piece of
railway equipment acquired for any
railway museum. It arrived at STM
in 1939. National Register
for Historic Places
Save America's
Treasure artifact. PWM


1900 - No. 396
Boston Elevated Railway
Originally with open platforms,
operator areas were enclosed
later in the early 1900s. Later
converted to an electrical test car.
It is the only survivor of some 1,200
similar double-truck cars built for
Boston. While in the collection of STM,
it was used in Boston in the 1963
production of the film. "The Cardinal" 
and also in 1977 for the production of the 
Public TV series, "The Best of Families."

1899 - Publishes "The Rough Riders"

PWM - Novelty Note Money

1900 - Elected Vice President
of the United States - PWM

Exciting Matching Grant Challenge started March 1, 2016

Mark your calendars (purchase your Friday-opening tickets in advance) and plan to attend the 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days Event July 21-23, 2017

A Benefit Event For the Narcissus Project!

Click Here: First Post on 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days - W. S. Libbey's 1908 Stanley Steamer
Click Here: Second Post on 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days - Suzanne Buzby Hersey - "My Maine"
Click Here: Third Post on 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days - Wade Zahares - Artist

More details on the celebration will be announced soon.
The Friday activity requires a ticket to be purchased in
advance. There is limited seating for the Friday gala
opening activity. Saturday and Sunday are
general admission public offerings at

The Narcissus Project Blog was created in April 2015 for the purpose of reaching out to a large number of folks through the power of social media to introduce them to the Narcissus. The Narcissus is a luxury, high-speed, wooden electric interurban. The Narcissus was built in 1912 in Laconia, NH and operated on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, in Maine, between Portland and Lewiston, from 1914 to 1933. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914. The blog posts appeal to folks with an interest in Theodore Roosevelt's connection to Maine, to folks generally interested in regional/local history, as well as those folks within the greater railway family. Hopefully, these posts will endear many of the readers to help support the Narcissus financially, as it undergoes a complete restoration over the next few years at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. 

We Did It!! 

$40,000 Raised!

Your Donations to the Narcissus Combined to Achieve the Goal Set Nineteen Months Ago. Raise $40,000 for the Narcissus to Meet the Challenge of the Matching Grant from the 

This brings the Combined Total Amount of Donations to the
Narcissus, based on the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation's matching grants to $100,000!  

The $40,000 donation will be the 2nd donation to the Narcissus from the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation as a result of successfully raising funds for a matching grant. A previous $10,000 matching grant challenge was achieved in 2014.

Donations made to the Narcissus Fund 816-A, for the remainder of 2017 and until further notice,
 will be used for work and materials needed to restore the interior of the Narcissus.

See below for Donation options -

It starts with YOU...
Your Donation Matters...
Make a Donation TODAY....

Please Help the Narcissus
Donations are now being raised to restore the interior of the Narcissus.

Donation Options to Help Restore the Narcissus:

The New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
is the 501c3 organization that owns and operates the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME and the National Streetcar
The NEERHS is 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 (NEERHS)
In the memo please write: Narcissus Fund 816-A
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-A 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-A

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 manager:
Phil Morse, or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You for our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2017/2014 Matching Grant Challenges
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 2017/2016/2015
The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 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
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016
Seal Cove Auto Museum

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 Historic Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo

Please Consider Making a Donation to the Narcissus Restoration Project. We are currently raising funds to restore the interior 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.

Click Here to See the list of All Previous Blog Posts - 100-Plus

Link to Libby/Libbey Family connections

Click Here - Portland Public Library Presentation - History of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - W. S. Libbey - The Man and His Mill
Click Here - W. S. Libbey - His 1908 Stanley Steamer K 30-hp Semi-Racer
Click Here - W. Scott Libbey's 1908 Stanley Steamer History to be Featured - July 21, 2017
Click Here - Scrapbook Celebrates the People of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - May 18, 1914, Newspaper Story on the Passing of PLI Builder, W. Scott Libbey
Click Here - 102nd Anniversary of the Opening of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - 83rd anniversary of the Closing of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Click Here - Sophia, W. S. Libbey Descendant Visits the Narcissus
Click Here - Libby/Libbey Family Connection to Narcissus becomes Personal
Click Here - Ode To the Grand Old Interurban
Click Here - The Portland-Lewiston Interurban "Bouquet" is Ordered (1912)

Links to Narcissus Restoration Work:
Click Here - Ornate Leaded Stained Glass Work
Click Here - Narcissus Enters Town House Restoration Shop
Click Here - Sorting and Cleaning Materials on Interior of the Narcissus
Click Here - September 7, 2015, Restoration Report
Click Here - December 7, 2015, Restoration Report
Click Here - December 14, 2015, Restoration Report
Click Here - Beautiful Brass of the Narcissus
Click Here - December 28, 2015 Restoration Update
Click Here - January 4, 2016, Restoration Update
Click Here - Vallee Family Photos of Narcissus 1960s
Click Here - February 11, 2016, Restoration Update
Click Here - A Wooden Interurban - Restoration Info
Click Here - NRHS 2016 Heritage Grant Award to Narcissus
Click Here - Announcement of 2016 Teddy Roosevelt Days Fundraising Event for the Narcissus
Click Here - Series of Restoration Posts related to work on exterior poplar frames
Click Here - Vintage Poplar used in Narcissus restoration
Click Here - Mahogany Sash passenger windows being restored
Click Here - "A President Has Ridden in My House!" - Video of Dan Vallee
Click Here - Teddy Roosevelt Days 2016 - Weekend Event Benefits the Narcissus
Click Here - August 2016 Restoration Update
Click Here - Mid-September Restoration Update
Click Here - Theodore Roosevelt & the Narcissus: Connecting Maine Communities
Click Here - How to Make New Seats for the Narcissus?
Click Here - 2016 Summary of Research and Outreach
Click Here - 2016 Restoration Summary

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.

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