Monday, January 4, 2016

Narcissus Restoration Update 1-4-2016

Happy New Year! First snow of the 2015-16 winter fell in southern Maine
during the day of January 2. Here you see one of the large, ornate, leaded
stained glass "eyebrows" from the National Register of Historic Places member,
Narcissus, which operated on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban line. Originally
built in 1912, the Narcissus has twelve of these eyebrows. Each eyebrow is
51" long and has 51 individual pieces of stained glass that are secured
in an original sash made from Santo Domingo mahogany. You will also
notice a small sun catcher in the shape of a Narcissus :) This was made from
glass pieces left over after the restoration/repair of all forty leaded stained
windows throughout the Narcissus was completed early in 2015. Stained
glass restoration was professionally done by Deb Caron Plourde at
Sundancer Stained Glass Studio in Saco, ME. PWM

Restoration work on the Narcissus during the final few days of 2015 and the first few days of 2016 was very productive. Work focused on the #1 end (where the smoking compartment is identified by the first pair of passenger windows with a large ornate, leaded stained glass window, called an "eyebrow",  above them. In contrast, the #2 end passenger compartment begins with a single sash window with a corresponding smaller single sash arched leaded stained glass window above it). Work also began in preparing the original Poplar, vertical matchboard sheathing prior to attaching it to the exterior of the dasher of the # 1 end.  Other work done during this period included initial removal of the two sets of frames that hold the large eyebrow sash.

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. Thank You :)

Lead Restoration Technician, Donald Curry installing roof rib # 5 on the # 1 end.
Two more roof ribs to go. To see more details on steaming and bending
the replacement roof ribs, click here. PWM

Sister to Narcissus with a nice view of the # 1 end dasher (with the No. 12) and the
first large "eyebrow" above the first pair of passenger windows with the No. 12
below them. STM

# 1 end of the Narcissus with an original piece of poplar matchboard.
Each piece of matchboard sheathing has been repaired, sanded, primed,
and sanded again. There are still more steps to follow. PWM

Seen here, following the second sanding, Donald Curry is applying a
very thin layer of epoxy fairing compound, only where needed, to fill
slight imperfections. 

Here are ten, of the twenty, primed matchboards with fairing
compound applied. The remaining ten matchboards await their
turn. Next will be another light sanding, followed by a final
coat of primer. The finish top coat of Pullman Green will be
applied when temps warm up a wee bit :) It will take about
forty matchboards to sheath the # 1 dasher.

Closeup of the first and second eyebrows. Notice the leaded stained glass sash
being held in place by the arched, exterior frame.  STM
From Restoration Report released by Donald Curry 1-2-2016 - “Eyebrow” sash frames-outer  are cleverly held securely in place by a complex poplar “X” outer frame. Because of the construction of each sash, the bottom ends (tails) of the outer retaining frame, the actual wood in the arch is only about 1 in. wide of cross-grain, making it very fragile. Virtually every one of these ends is broken and has been held in place with too-large nails or dropped off into oblivion.

Member/Volunteer Lary Shaffer, working to remove 100+-year-old iron screw
from up inside the exterior sash that holds the large eyebrow sash and stained
glass windows. PWM

As noted, this is a complex assembly, made of poplar. (Originally we had thought it was mahogany 2 in. thick; now we realize it is 1 5/8 in. poplar, with only the inner frame being ¾ in. mahogany.) While the assemblies have developed surface cracks, we have found no rot. As you will read, disassembly is very difficult and some small damage is inevitable. But we also feel that, with experience, we can salvage most of the pieces.

Running your hands along the top of the inside of the poplar frame you find two 7/16 in. holes about ¾ in. deep pointing up. With enough poking around you can get a screwdriver to the bottom (top) of the hole and, if you’re lucky, you can get the screwdriver into the slot. After breaking a screwdriver we found it was going to be a battle. (We started work on the sashes in the smoker because it was easier to get at them and there was some heat.)

Finally, we resorted to a ¼ in. electric drill and literally chewed a cavity all around the area of the screw, finally making one big enough to get a pair of Vise-Grips on the remainder of the screw and get it loose. It turned out to be a no. 12 x 3 in. and very badly rust-eroded iron (head diameter about 7/16 in.) [1] (will be replaced with stainless steel). That means there are over 50 more of these challenges.

[1] Bolt Depot no. 12 x 3 in. stainless screws in small quantities are $0.91 each.

First exterior "X" frame removed from the # 1 end, left side from the smoking
compartment. What you see above is the exterior view of three, of the four
pieces, that make up the "X". Most of the frames will have two "shorter"
straight horizontal extensions extending in both directions from the top.
This being the first frame on the # 1 end, the extension piece that connects on
the top left, of this frame, is about five feet long and travels to end of the vestibule.
We left that section in place for removal at a later date. You can also see in the
top, left of this image, a restored, mahogany, "eyebrow" sash. PWM

Here you see the exterior frame with the inside facing up and holding the
restored mahogany eyebrow sash. As noted in Donald's report, the "ends" on
the lower section of the external frames are very narrow and fragile, with
virtually all ends on every exterior frame having failed. Likewise, you can
see in this image where the eyebrow sash also had to be repaired in the same
area. We have not found any Santo Domingo mahogany (like the original).
You can clearly see the difference in grain and color of the supplemented
Honduran mahogany. PWM

Here is the same eyebrow frame in place temporarily near the # 2 end. These
were in place for the Teddy Roosevelt Days fundraising event to benefit the
Narcissus. The event was held during the first weekend in August.
Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.
Patricia Pierce Erikson photo.

There have been three comprehensive reports on the restoration of the Narcissus released in recent weeks. If you would like any one or all of them emailed to you, contact Phil Morse, Narcissus Project Manager via email -

#1 - Curatorial Report Fall 2015 - August 25-October 31, 2015 - 21 pages
#2 - Wood in its Construction - December 5, 2015 - 25 pages
#3 - Curatorial Report January 2, 2016  - 12 pages

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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