Saturday, May 2, 2015

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

Dresden Literary American Club, Dresden, Germany, July 1, 1873
Above: L-R, 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 first visit Maine. He traveled to Moosehead Lake Region.
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 to Dexter, Maine, then took a stagecoach to Greenville to visit the Moosehead Lake Region.

     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.”

Click Here to read about an Award-Winning Maine Author Writing a Book about the Young Girl 

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 in Love 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.

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 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, during campaigning for the Progressive Party candidates. June 2020

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

     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. Amazon book purchases also benefit the Museum and the Narcissus.

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

Click Here to go to the Amazon page to order the book online

Click Here to go to the ebook page

Books are available at these local bookstores in Maine:
The Book Review, Falmouth
The Bookworm, Gorham
Letterpress Books, Portland
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

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

     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 
Maine Historical Society has created companion lesson plans inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - These State-standard-based lesson plans for classroom use in grades 6, 7, and 8 are now completed. They will be uploaded to the Maine Memory Network and will be included with the other statewide lesson plans K-12. Once a link is available, it will be posted here. The lesson plans will also be uploaded and available through the Seashore Trolley Museum's website later in July 2020. Go to the Teacher Resource Page in the pulldown for more details.

The ebook is available through Amazon Kindle Click HERE

The audiobook is now available Click HERE to go to the Audible page.

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

Award-winning author, Jean M. Flahive


Click Here to read the post - Coveted Blueink Starred Review  - Notable Book - January 20, 2020

Click Here to read the post - Three 5-Star Reviews from Readers' Favorite posted on January 6, 2020

Click Here to read January 24, 2020 - Four-Star Clarion Review

Click Here to read January 19, 2020 - Theodore Roosevelt Center Blog Post Review

Click Here to read the December 25, 2019 4-Stars out of 4-Stars Review through OnlineBookClub

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, 25.5-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)
Thank You!

MUST-READ! - Click Here 

   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 (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 - 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.

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

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
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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