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 build 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 was moved from its original position which was behind the
tree seen here in the center of 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, 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 in the collection?

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 heyday. The images contained in this package are just as important though for 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. 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 late 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 Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. He made a phone call to Seashore Trolley 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 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. The image is dated June 1965. In the
background, you see into the room that was attached to the body of the
Narcissus. A kitchen/dining room is seen in the background.
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 wrote 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.

Donald G. Curry/STM image.
The image above: 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 car body 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 e-mail at or call 207-985-9723.

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 is on 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 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 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 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. 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.

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

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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