Saturday, May 2, 2015

Theodore Roosevelt first visited Maine as a young teenager......

Dresden Literary American Club, Dresden Germany, July 1, 1873 
Above: left to light, 
Theodore Roosevelt, Elliot Roosevelt, Maud Elliott, 
Corinne Roosevelt, John Elliott. Cousins began a reading club while 
      living in Dresden, Germany. Summer of 1873 was the summer after TR would attend
a summer camp in Maine.

TRC 520.12-018 Houghton Library, Harvard University

Theodore Roosevelt first visited Maine as a young teenager during the summer of 1872 when he traveled by train, then stagecoach, to the Moosehead Lake/Greenville area to attend summer camp.

He would return to Maine in early September 1878 when he was a junior at Harvard University.  This was one of three trips, over the next 12 months, to Maine guide, William Sewall’s, Island Falls home, in Aroostook County, Maine. 

TR, late in his sophomore year at Harvard,  ca 1878 May
His first visit to Island Falls, Maine was in September 1878
TRC 520.12-003, Houghton Library,  Harvard University
Theodore would again visit Maine during the summer of 1880. He would stay with a friend at Schooner Head in Bar Harbor and explore what is now Acadia National Park.

View in Acadia National Park.
PWM image

Throughout his adult life, Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, expressed how much he treasured his visits to Maine as a young man and in particular, how he truly valued the friends he made in Island Falls, during those visits.

“I owe a personal debt to Maine because of my association with certain staunch friends in Aroostook County; an association that helped and benefitted me throughout my life in more ways than one.” (Theodore Roosevelt, Maine My State, The Maine Writers Research Club, 1919, pg. 17, a letter dated, Sagamore Hill, March 20, 1918)

Theodore Roosevelt, William Windgate Sewall, and Wilmot Dow ca March 1879
somewhere in Island Falls area
TRC 520.12.-016 Houghton Library, Harvard University

February 28, 1879 - Island Falls - TR's second visit to Island Falls, Maine, w/guides William Sewall and Wilmot Dow - arrived at Mattawamkeag train station 11 a.m. took a sleigh to Island Falls with William Sewall.

William Windgate Sewall (with ax) and Wilmot Dow (with rifle)
at camp on Pratt Cove, Mattawamkeag Lake, Island Falls, Maine
the file list ca 1921, however, Wilmot died in 1891
TRC 560.12-053 Houghton Library, Harvard University 

August 1879 - Island Falls - TR's third, and final trip, to Island Falls, Maine, w/guides William Sewall and Wilmot Dow - on August 26, TR struck out for Mt. Katahdin. He reached the peak on August 29.

Mt Katahdin from Katahdin Stream Camp Grounds, image from a postcard, PWM

Chimney Pond on Mt. Katahdin, image from a postcard, PWM

Theodore Roosevelt vacationed in Maine in the summer of 1880. He stayed with friends on Mount Desert Island in the town of Schooner Head. 
Info from the book, Becoming Teddy Roosevelt, Vietze 2010, pg 72.

August 1902 - As President - TR traveled via train, through Augusta, Waterville, and several other communities in ME and on to NH.

On Wednesday, September 3, 1902, Open Car No. 29 of the Pittsfield Electric Street Railway, struck President Roosevelt's open landau carriage, and his New England tour came to a tragic end in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Secret Service agent William Craig was thrown directly in front of the trolley and was killed instantly. Craig was the first Secret Service agent to have died in the line of duty serving a president. President Roosevelt did receive what was reported then as minor injuries. Later reports have him bothered by a leg injury received in the accident, for much of his life. Image from Berkshire Street Railway, 1972, by O. R. Cummings

On March 23, 1912, one month before the Narcissus and its three sister interurbans were ordered from the Laconia Car Company works, TR visited Maine on behalf of the Bull Moose Party.

Then on August 18, 1914, Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Lewiston, Maine by train and after an enthusiast crowd attended his speech at a Progressive Party rally, TR boarded the Narcissus for Portland.

Lewiston Daily Sun, August 19, 1914 - Last sentence in the opening
paragraph mentions TR boarding the special car Narcissus the day before.

Published by The Lewiston Daily Sun
Lewiston, ME -
This entry follows an introduction by the Hon. Halbert P. Gardner:

Roosevelt Enters

This was the signal for Col. Theodore Roosevelt to step forward from the rear of the platform and also the signal for a great demonstration which lasted for exactly 20 seconds. The great mass of cheering people stood, threw their hats in the air, clapped their hands and shouted long and loud. Someone gave the call of the Bull Moose. This was noticed at once by Col. Roosevelt who said; "That's the real thing. I like to hear it!"
A second demonstration followed which lasted 10 seconds. Then Col. Roosevelt stepped to the front of the platform and said; "At the outset, I want to say that I am glad to be in the home of the Bull Moose. It did me good to hear an old friend."

This entry follows in the final two paragraphs in the section titled, 
At the Empire Theatre.

"....he was hurried to the special car of the P.G. & L. Interurban Line, which was in waiting in front of the car barn on Middle Street. The start for Portland was made at just 4:20 P.M.
The first stop of the Roosevelt special was made in Lower Gloucester where the Colonel greeted the people from the rear of the platform of the car. At Gray, a big crowd was waiting and demanded a speech. The Colonel was again compelled to address the gathering. Just before reaching West Falmouth the train was again stopped to permit a woman to present Mr. Roosevelt with a large bouquet and a little farther on the stop was made at the West Falmouth station. The party arrived at the Falmouth Hotel in Portland at 5:10 where another large crowd had collected."

Published: August 19, 1914

Copyright © The New York Times


PORTLAND, Me., Aug. 18, -

Waves the Farmhouse Bouquet.

   Col. Roosevelt left Boston at 8:55 o’clock this morning and got to Lewiston at 2:30 o’clock. As soon as the train entered this State crowds began to appear at all of the little way stations and at several of the stops the Colonel went to the rear platform to shout a few remarks. Lewiston was alive with interest and on the streets and at the meeting, the Colonel was hailed repeatedly as “Our President in 1916.” The enthusiasm seemed to “get to” Col. Roosevelt and make a new man of him.
   There was a big overflow meeting at Lewiston, but Col. Roosevelt only had time to say a few words to the crowd before he took a special trolley car for Portland. He was expected all along the route and was given many cheers. As the car slowed up for a curve near a farmhouse a pretty girl ran out and tossed a bouquet of flowers into the rear of the car. The Colonel jumped from his seat and ran to the platform. The last picture that the little family in front of the farmhouse saw was Col. Roosevelt, his face wreathed in smiles, waving the bouquet above his head. Halpert P. Gardner, the Progressive nominee for Governor, exclaimed to THE NEW YORK TIMES correspondent;
“They will talk about that at milking time for months to come. If the Colonel could make a tour of the State like this the Progressive Party would sweep both old organizations out of power.”

Image from, Maine's Fastest Electric Railroad, Portland-Lewiston Interurban, 1967,  O. R. Cummings 

Colonel Roosevelt made another summer visit to Maine on August 31, 1916. As he did two years earlier, he again was a passenger on one the Portland Lewiston Interurbans. This time traveling from Portland to Lewiston. We have not been able to determine which one of the six PLI interurbans he actually traveled upon that day. The newspaper reports in a number of places that "moving pictures were taken" and "movie men" were on the scene. Of particular interest is the report below that mentions movie being taken of TR entering the interurban. How I would love to see that footage. One other anecdotal observation is, while in Gray, he calls out from the rear of the interurban, for the whereabouts of the young girl that gave him a bouquet of sweet peas two years earlier. That story is below.

Published by Lewiston Evening Journal

Special PLI Cars
Lewiston, ME -
            Off to meet the Colonel. Promptly at 10 minutes of 2 Thursday afternoon, the reception committee, which went to Portland to meet Col. Roosevelt, marched out of Lisbon street to Union Square, where they boarded the two special cars of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban road and went to Portland.
            This will make the third visit which Col. Roosevelt has made to Lewiston. The first was in 1902 when he toured Maine, the second was in 1914, when he spoke here on behalf of the progressive cause. 

Published by Lewiston Daily Sun
Portland, ME -
            Col. Roosevelt and party were taken by auto to the special car of the waiting Lewiston party. As the long line of cars approached, a large crowd gathered about the Lewiston car. Moving pictures were taken of Roosevelt, leaving the auto and boarding the interurban car.
            The Col., dressed in a dark gray suit, looked the picture of health. He wore a Panama hat, which he frequently waved to the cheering crowds along the line.
            It was nearly 5 o’clock when the car pulled out of Federal street and swung up around Monument Square. Here there was an immense crowd of people and everyone seemed eager to get a look at Roosevelt.
            Col. Roosevelt and Frank Dingley occupied the same seat and talked busily about issues of the campaign. During the trip to Lewiston, nearly everyone on the car met the Colonel and shook hands with him.

Girl with the Bouquet

                        When the car approached Gray it was called to the Colonel’s attention that two years ago when he visited Maine a little girl at the Gray station threw him a bouquet of sweet peas. The little girl whose name he did not learn, was in her mother’s arms. When the Colonel took the bouquet and threw a kiss to her, the little miss burst into tears. The Colonel remembered the incident and when the car pulled into the Gray station he was at the rear end. Waving his hat.
            He asked: Where is the little girl who gave me the bouquet of sweet peas two years ago? Is she here? I would like to see her”. She evidently was not there, but there were many others who waved and cheered as the car moved slowly through the station.
            Col. Roosevelt also stepped to the rear of the car and waved coming through New Gloucester and again as the car came through the suburbs of Auburn.
            There was a large crowd in Union Square to meet the special car which reached this city at 5:15. The car proceeded as far as Park Street. Several salutes were fired as Col. Roosevelt and his party left the car and were again subjects for the movie men.

Theodore Roosevelt made one last public trip to Portland (ME) on March 28, 1918. He would, however, make his final trip to Maine later in 1918.

As detailed in Chip Bishop's book, Quentin & Flora: A Roosevelt and a Vanderbilt inLove during the Great War, Theodore, and his wife would travel to the community of Dark Harbor, in Islesboro, ME, in August of 1918, to grieve the loss of their beloved sonQuentin. Quentin was a pilot during World War I. He was mortally wounded in an aerial battle and his plane crashed in France.

TR himself would die six months later at Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, NY - January 1919.

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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