Thursday, January 28, 2016

Vallee Family Pictures of the Narcissus - 1960s

J. Henri Vallee with the Narcissus in the background on March 5, 1969.
In the background, to the right, you can see the roof trusses for the replacement
summer camp that Seashore Trolley Museum would have built later that year.
The new three-room structure was to replace the Vallee's summer camp. In 1934,
Mr. Vallee purchased the "body" of the Narcissus for $100 from the
Portland-Lewiston Interurban in Lewiston, Maine and then moved it to
Sabattus, Maine, to become his family's summer camp. In this image, the
Narcissus had been moved from its original position which
 was behind the tree seen here in the center on the image.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

Late last week, I received a package from Mr. Daniel Vallee. The package contained eighteen photographs of the Narcissus. Now for many railway/railroad enthusiasts, this would signify images of the Narcissus in its glory days of being a magnificent representative of the high-speed, wooden electric interurbans of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. The PLI operated between Portland, Maine and Lewiston, Maine from 1914 until 1933. The Narcissus is the lone surviving piece of rolling stock from the forward-thinking visionary, W. S. Libbey. The businessman that built, what became known as the  "Finest Electric Railroad in All New England". This elegant, iconic piece of railway history,  Narcissus, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. Some may think an image of Theodore Roosevelt aboard during his ride on Narcissus on August 18, 1914 may have been included?

But no. The pictures of the Narcissus in this package are not of this gem as it sits on rails in any one of the many communities it traveled through during its operating hey day. The images contained in this package are just as important though in helping us tell the full life-story of the Narcissus. A story that is now more than 100 years old! The twenty years the Narcissus spent on the PLI rails helping to carry the 7.3 million passengers that traveled between Portland and Lewiston during that time is a very important chapter in its life, but not the only chapter. 

After the PLI ended operations, it sold many of the "bodies" of its rolling stock, including the interurbans. Click here to read more details. Mr. J. Henri Vallee purchased the body of the Narcissus in 1934. For $100! He moved it from Lewiston, Maine  to Sabattus, Maine, where it became the Vallee summer camp until 1969. Seashore Trolley Museum, in Kennebunkport, Maine acquired the Narcissus from Mr. Vallee in 1969. 

This past summer (2015), Mr. Vallee's son, Daniel Vallee, read his local Lewiston-area newspaper and its story about his former summer camp residence under restoration at the Museum in Kennebunkport. He made a phone call to the Museum and made arrangements to visit the Narcissus. Daniel spent the first eighteen summers of is life using the Narcissus as his summer home in Sabattus! During his visit, he mentioned that he would look through his family "archives" :) for photos of the Narcissus. 

Presented here, are many of those Vallee family photos that include the Narcissus. On behalf of the Museum and the Narcissus, I want to say Thank You! We owe the Vallee family a tremendous debt of gratitude for bringing the Narcissus into their family and keeping the Narcissus safe for thirty-five years. If not for Daniel's father purchasing the Narcissus in 1934, who knows what the future would have had in store for the Narcissus? We do know the fate of its sister interurbans, Arbutus, Gladiolus, Clematis, Azalea, Magnolia, and Maine. But for a few clerestory stained glass windows from the Arbutus, abandoned sections of the right-of-way, repurposed power stations and carbarns, and assorted ephemera here and there, all other remnants of the "Grand Old Interurban" are gone. 

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 :)

Narcissus, snowbound on March 5, 1969. It would still be several months
before the Narcissus would make its way to Seashore Trolley Museum
in Kennebunkport. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.
Narcissus was the Vallee family summer camp from 1934 until 1969.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

To see a short movie clip of the Narcissus taken during a railroad fan trip in the late 1930s/early 40s


J. Henri Vallee (left) with his son, Daniel Vallee relaxing inside their
summer cottage, Narcissus. Image is dated June 1965. In the background you
see into the room that was attached to the body of the Narcissus. It appears
to be a kitchen/dining room. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee
Looking at the narrow doorway of the Number 1 end of the Narcissus. The
smoking compartment area is through the doorway, then on to the vestibule
of the # 1 end. The entrance to the attached kitchen/dining area is to the left,
out of sight from the angle this photo was taken. Date written on the back
of this photo, July 8, 1961. Left to Right - Venerand Paquette,
Billy Paquette, Rose Marie Paquette, J. Henri Vallee.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.
I am very happy to report that I have received a number of responses to the request to ID individuals that are helping with the Narcissus transition from Sabattus to the Seashore Trolley Museum campus from 1968 until late in 1969. Names will be inserted as they become available.

Seashore Trolley Museum staff and volunteers assess the Narcissus and best practices for separating the attached kitchen/dining room. they would then move the Narcissus from this location to a location nearer the road for a better loading
position. Probably late fall 1968. Personal recollections from Jack Murray include; "I'm in the panoramic shot of the crew getting ready to separate the ell from the car body; the ell will be moved back and the carbody toward the road (slid on blocking, pulled with Coffin hoists) so that the new cottage could go up in the same spot. My recollection is that this was done during school Christmas vacation (1968), with the crew being myself (Jack Murray), my cousin Paul, and Russell Bryant (all students at Cape Elizabeth High School (ME); Donald (Curry), John Coughlin, and Bill Dox (the driving force behind the project). Russell is side to the camera striding to the left, I'm (Jack) behind him with back to the camera." If you recognize any of these folks, please forward the name and their position in this photo to Phil Morse via email at p.morse31@gmail.com or call 207-985-9723.
Donald G. Curry/STM image.
Narcissus in the early spring of 1969. The attached kitchen/dining room
was removed. You can see the stack of wood materials that will be used
to construct the three-room replacement summer camp.
Donald G. Curry/STM image.
Narcissus to the far left with the utility meter hanging down. Trusses in the
background leaning against the removed kitchen/dining room. You can also
see the remaining footings that the Narcissus had been removed from in order
to relocate it nearer the road for easier loading to the trailer. Probably later spring
1969. Donald G. Curry/STM image.
Seashore Trolley Museum volunteers work to position the Narcissus on the trailer
for the trip to Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Sept/Oct 1969.
The number 1 end is to the right. If you recognize any of these folks, please
forward the name and their position in this photo to Phil Morse via email at
p.morse31@gmail.com or call 207-985-9723.

Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.
Narcissus is secured to the trailer. The tractor-trailer set up was affectionately
called the "Highway Monster" by Seashore Trolley Museum volunteers. The
Highway Monster was used by Museum volunteers to bring various streetcars,
interurbans, and related equipment from destinations
throughout the USA to the Kennebunkport campus. You can see the beautiful
three-room summer camp replacement for the Narcissus in the background.
October 1969. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee

Final Farewell Photo opp. with Seashore Trolley Museum volunteers, Vallee
family members, and other interested individuals. If you recognize anyone in this
image, please forward the name and their position in this photo to Phil Morse
via email at p.morse31@gmail.com or call 207-985-9723. Late October 1969.
Marie Vallee is third from the right. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

Seashore Trolley Museum's Highway Monster with the Narcissus receiving
final adjustments from Museum volunteers prior to making the trek to the
Museum campus in Kennebunkport, Maine late in October 1969. From this
angle, you can see where the kitchen/dining room was attached. The Number 1
end is facing the tractor. The large arch window that the top of the ladder is
placed over identifies where the smoking compartment is located. The Narcissus
would later make its way to Lewiston and have banners placed on each side.
These banners would advertise the need for funds to restore the Narcissus and
also serve as a way to thank all the businesses that donated materials, money,
and contributions-in-kind, such as skilled labor to build the three-room
replacement summer camp. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

Narcissus arrived at Seashore Trolley Museum on Halloween 1969. The trip
to Seashore was via a well scripted travel plan. With the hope of generating media
attention and thus garnering public awareness and much needed financial
support for the restoration of the Narcissus, banners were attached to each side
of the Narcissus and then it traveled from Lewiston to Portland on the road,
as close to the original PLI right-of-way as logistically possible and then on
to the Museum. This image was taken the following spring by
Museum member/volunteer Norman Down.

Daniel Vallee at Seashore Trolley Museum  July 31, 2015.
Image courtesy of Patricia Pierce Erikson

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 into 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 finance@NEERHS.org 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: finance@NEERHS.org 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 finance@NEERHS.org 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, pmorse31@gmail.com or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You to 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 Libb(e)y 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 - Libb(e)y 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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