Monday, December 28, 2015

Narcissus Restoration Update 12-28-2015

The Narcissus 46 years ago. The # 1 end is on the left. The double sash windows
denote where the smoking compartment was located when it rolled along the Portland-Lewiston Interurban from 1914 until early summer 1933. The body of the luxury, high-speed
interurban was sold in 1934 to Mr. J. Henry Vallee for $100. Mr. Vallee located the
Narcissus to a lot near Sabattus Pond, a few miles from Lewiston, Maine, where it
served the Vallee family as their summer camp until 1969. The above image
shows a crew of Seashore Trolley Museum staff and volunteers beginning the
process of separating the attached room. The Narcissus arrived at
Seashore Trolley Museum on Halloween 1969. Donald Curry is taking this picture (his son is in the left corner).
Donald is the lead restoration technician working on the Narcissus now :)
Click here for the history of the Narcissus and the Portland-Lewiston Interurban.
DGC image
I work at Thornton Academy in Saco, ME. We are on school vacation now. So, there has been a lot of work on the Narcissus taking place. This is a report on activities over the past couple of weeks. All images are PWM unless noted otherwise.

Please consider making a donation to the Narcissus Project. Funds are still needed to complete the restoration of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus.  Scroll to the end of this post to find all donation options.

The # 1 end of the Narcissus now as it undergoes restoration. Four of
seven 55" cross ribs in the roof are in place (click here to see previous
update on original cross ribs and bending "steamed" new ash cross ribs).
Some details are being addressed so that the original vertical tongue
and grove ash sheathing will be attached to the dasher perhaps next week.

Clerestory roof ribs on the # 1 end have been prepped/repaired or
replaced, primed and given a coat of paint for protection.

Portland-Lewiston Interurban No. 12, Gladiolus, sister to No. 14 Narcissus.
Great view of the #1 end. This gives you a sense of where we are heading with
restoration efforts mentioned in this report. STM Image

Eighteen passenger windows, in various conditions, have survived. The one on
the right is in pretty good condition. The side facing up will be on the interior
of the Narcissus. The interior glazing is "cut" into the sash with a special router blade
and is not a separate 5/16" piece of mahogany. See images below.

Moulding for the sash is not a separate piece of mahogany.
The glazing for the face of the sash facing the interior
of the Narcissus is cut into the sash with a special router
Narcissus sash that will face the
interior of the Narcissus.

The Narcissus sash is Santo Domingo mahogany. The same wood is used
in all forty sash for the leaded stained glass windows above the passenger
windows and in the clerestory. The interior of the 46-foot luxury,
high-speed interurban is all mahogany, much with inlay.
Once cleaned, the sash is sanded gently to remove previous layers
of varnish, etc. The wood is then sealed with two coats of shellac and
two coats of spar varnish. Between every coat of shellac and varnish,
the surface is polished with very fine steel wool. The 100+
year old mahogany then gleams resplendently.
JM image

Donald Curry, lead restoration technician is in the smoking compartment of the
1912, National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus. The large,
51", leaded stained glass "eyebrows" fit in the archway above a pair of
passenger windows. Donald is assessing the upper portion
of the exterior framing that holds the sash and glass of each eyebrow.
The large "eyebrow" at the top of this image has 51 individual
pieces of stained glass all held together with lead veins in
a Santo Domingo mahogany sash. The two smaller windows fit in the # 2
end of the clerestory. The mid-side arch window will be positioned over
a single sash passenger window in the # 2 end as well. All forty ornate
leaded stained glass windows were professional restored/rebuilt by
Deb Caron at Sundancer Stained Glass in Saco, ME. All the mahogany
sash were restored by Museum member/volunteer, Tom Hughes (they are all original sash - either Narcissus or

These windows were installed temporarily for a weekend fundraising event
in early August 2015 to benefit the Narcissus. The Teddy Roosevelt Days
event highlighted the fact that Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the
Narcissus on August 18, 1914! Patricia Pierce Erikson image
There are many tasks underway simultaneously with the Narcissus restoration. Work is being done this winter on the # 1 end within an enclosure that is heated. Meanwhile, other components that are removed from the body can be attended to in the Town House Restoration shop spaces, like the woodworking shop,  varnish room, or the machine shop, which are all heated spaces. We had a warm spell of weather which allowed Donald, with help from Dave Fletcher and Ernie Eaton, to trace out some of the wirings from the # 1 end through the body. Very difficult and time-consuming work. Mr. Vallee and his family lived in the body of the Narcissus for summers from 1934 until 1969. Mr. Vallee wired many of the existing 600 volts, series lighting to 120-volt household parallel wiring. An electrician nightmare with so many wire segments that lead nowhere. In order to follow the wire trail, center ceiling panels that were still intact were removed. These panels have intricate gold leaf fleur-de-lis in each corner where each of the four is connected by two lines in gold leaf. Sadly, the ceiling panels, along with some other mahogany panels and trims boards in the two vestibules, were painted white by Mr. Vallee. This white paint had cracked and "alligatored". Amazingly, the gold leaf has endured and we will be able to capture the design and reproduce it.

Here is a beautiful interior image from the PLI No. 10, Arbutus, sister to No. 14,
Narcissus. You can see fleur-de-lis in the corner ceiling panels. Also, notice the
many leaded stained glass windows above the passenger windows and in the clerestory :)
STM image

Green tape signifies wires in the ceiling of the vestibule on the # 1 end
of Narcissus.

Wiring through the smoking compartment.

White wire is household-use wire used throughout the Narcissus
when it was a summer camp from 1934 till 1969.

There are two mahogany panels in each vestibule (the two ends of the interurban where the passengers would enter and the motorman would operate the car from. These four panels and a number of trim boards were painted over with white paint. All were stripped and are now ready for restoration/repair.

Mahogany panel from the vestibule prior to having the white paint stripped.

A mahogany panel from the vestibule after the white paint was stripped off.

Various mahogany trim boards from the vestibules after white paint was stripped off.

Various metal components need to be sandblasted, primed, and painted.

Before Sandblasting.

After Sandblasting.

After having been sealed with primer. Ready for paint. Three pieces were not primed,
they need to have some adjustments made so they operate properly, prior to being primed.

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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