Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ninety Communities in Maine had Electric Railway Service!

Porcelain advertising piece from a ticket booth of the Portland-Lewiston
Interurban. Electric railways advertising quite often promoted the
"clean and comfortable ride". This image is of an original porcelain
advertising piece from the O. R. Cummings collection at
Seashore Trolley Museum.
I'm deep in researching materials involving electric streetcars, trolleys and interurbans in Maine. The information will be used in part for a large grant application to help with the restoration of the 1912 Narcissus that operated on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban from 1914 till 1933. I'm feeling compelled to dig deep for the broader impact of electric railways' influences on Maine's economic growth and its implications on Maine's societal development. This blog post is the second that shares some of the early findings. The  first post is titled, 57 Million Passengers Carried on Electric Railways in Maine in 1915!! The third post will speak more to the railways recreation and commercial destinations and the handful of parlor cars in Maine.

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.  Click here to make an online donation or scroll to the end of this post to find all donation options. All donations are currently matched, dollar-for-dollar, as part of a $40,000 matching grant challenge, thanks to the generous offer from 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation! 
Thank You :)

The vast majority of the materials I will share have come from a number of books released by Seashore Trolley Museum's long-time historian, O. R. Cummings. Also books by Charles D. Heseltine.

In total, more than 90 cities, towns, and villages in Maine had electric railways servicing their communities. The total trackage of the electric railways in Maine extended nearly 520 miles. To put that in perspective, the length of trackage is about the same distance that one would travel by automobile today, when taking U.S. Route One from Kittery, all the way to Fort Kent....527 miles.

Many of the Maine communities served by electric railways were in rural
areas. Dirt roads were the norm outside of the downtown areas of the cities.
Cities like Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland were "hubs" for the railways that
connected people and products to the outer communities. Above, Aroostook
Valley Railroad No. 70. AVR 70 is a a combine car, which carries passengers
and light freight/express. AVR 70 is one of thirteen Maine electric railway
vehicles at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME.
Image from postcard PWM

Here is a list of communities throughout Maine served by electric railways during the era:
Alfred, Arundel, Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Benton, Biddeford, Brewer, Brunswick, Calais, Camden, Cape Elizabeth, Cape Porpoise, Caribou, Charleston, Chelsea, Corinth, Crouseville, Cumberland, East Vassalboro, Eliot, Fairfield, Falmouth, Farmingdale, Freeport, Gardiner, Glenburn, Gorham, Gray, Greene, Hampden, Hallowell, Kenduskeag, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Lisbon Falls, Litchfield, Lyman, Madison, Manchester, Mechanic Falls, Minot, New Gloucester, New Sweden, North Vassalboro, Norway, Oakland, Ogunquit, Old Orchard Beach, Old Town, Orono, Owl's Head, Portland, Presque Isle, Rockland, Rockport, Sabattus, Saco, Sanford, Scarborough, Shawmut, Skowhegan, South Berwick, South Monmouth, South Paris, South Portland, South Thomaston, South Windham, Springvale, St. George, Thomaston, Topsham, Turner, Van Buren, Veazie, Wales, Warren, Washburn, Waterville, Webster, Wells, West Gardiner, Westbrook, West Kennebunk, Winslow, Winterport, Winthrop, Woodland, Yarmouth, York, and York Beach. Notes: Calais, ME to St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada - South Berwick, ME to Dover, New Hampshire - Kittery, ME to Portsmouth, New Hampshire via ASL ferry, Fryeburg Horse Railroad - Never Electrified

Typical image of service once outside of the downtown area. 
From postcard PWM




Dirt roads were the norm and difficult for wagons and horses and the early
automobiles to navigate in muddy conditions as well as in the snow during
the winter months. The electric railways were the most dependable form
of transportation. Image of River Road in Arundel, Maine approaching
Merrill's Farm on the far left. Image from collection of
Seashore Trolley Museum

Electric Railways of Maine - 1915


Androscoggin Electric Company (Portland-Lewiston Interurban) - 29.80 Miles
(Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Gray, New Gloucester, Auburn, and Lewiston)

Aroostook Valley Railroad - 31.99 Miles
(Presque Isle, Van Buren, Washburn, New Sweden, Caribou, and Woodland)

Atlantic Shore Railway - 90.40 Miles
Biddeford, Kennebunkport (Arundel), Kennebunk, West Kennebunk, (Lyman), Cape Porpoise, Alfred, Sanford, Springvale, Wells, Ogunquit, York, York Beach, Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick, ME and Dover, NH)

Bangor Railway and Electric Company - 57.10 Miles
Bangor, Brewer, Old Town, Orono, Hampden, Charleston, Winterport, Kenduskeag, Glenburn, and Corinth.

Benton and Fairfield Railway - 4.12 Miles
Benton and Fairfield

Biddeford and Saco Railroad - 7.61 Miles
Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach

Calais Street Railway - 7.00 Miles
Calais, ME and St. Stephen, N.B. Canada

Cumberland County Power and Light Company (Portland Railroad) - 82.88 Miles
Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Westbrook, Gorham, South Windham, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Cumberland, and Yarmouth

Fairfield and Shawmut Railway - 3.10 Miles
Fairfield Village to Shawmut

Fryeburg Horse Railroad (Abandoned 1914) - 3.00 Miles (Never Electrified)
Fryeburg Village to Chautauqua Grounds

Lewiston, Augusta, and Waterville Street Railway - 152.90 Miles
Lewiston, Auburn, Augusta, Waterville, Bath, Brunswick, Freeport, Yarmouth, Topsham, Lisbon, Minot, Mechanic Falls, Turner, Greene, Sabattus, Webster, Litchfield, Wales, South Monmouth, Gardiner, West Gardiner, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Manchester, Winthrop, Chelsea (Togus), Vassalboro, East and West Vassalboro, and Winslow

Norway and Paris Street Railway - 2.13 miles
Norway, Paris,  and South Paris

Rockland, South Thomaston, and St. George Street Railway - 5.71 Miles
Rockland, St. George, Thomaston, South Thomaston (Crescent Beach-Owls'Head)

Rockland, Thomaston, and Camden Street Railway - 21.47 Miles
Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Thomaston, and Warren

Skowhegan and Norridgewock Railway (Abd. 1904) - 5.75 Miles
Skowhegan and Norridgewock

Somerset Traction Company - 12.20 Miles
Skowhegan and Madison

Waterville, Fairfield, and Oakland Railway - 10.24 Miles
Waterville, Fairfield, and Oakland

Total Street Railway Mileage - 1915 - 518.63
Total Passengers Carried - 1915 - 57,422,739
Total Operating Revenue - 1915 - $3,066,924 (equivalent to about $70 million today)

Togus waiting station at Togus, Maine
Postcard from PWM
Railways that operated in Maine during the Trolley Era

Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway
Aroostook Valley Railroad
Atlantic Shore Line Railway
Atlantic Shore Railway
Auburn & Turner Railroad
Auburn, Mechanic Falls & Norway Street Railway
Augusta & Waterville Street Railway
Augusta, Hallowell, & Gardiner Street Railway
Augusta, Winthrop, & Gardiner Street Railway
Bangor & Northern Railway
Bangor, Hampden, & Winterport Railway
Bangor, Orono, & Old Town Railway
Bangor Railway and Electric Company
Bangor Street Railway
Bath Street Railway
Benton & Fairfield Railway
Biddeford & Saco Railroad
Brunswick & Topsham Electric Railroad
Calais Street Railway
Dover & Eliot Street Railway
Fairfield & Oakland Street Railway
Fairfield and Shawmut Railway
Fryeburg Horse Railroad - Never Electrified
Kittery & Eliot Street Railway
Kittery & York Street Railway
Lewiston & Auburn Horse Railroad 
Lewiston, Augusta, and Waterville Street Railway
Lewiston, Brunswick, and Bath Street Railway
Lewiston & Brunswick Electric Railway
Mousam River Railroad
Norway & Paris Street Railway
Penobscot Central Railway
Portland & Brunswick Street Railway
Portland & Cape Elizabeth Railway
Portland & Yarmouth Electric Railway
Portland, Gray, & Lewiston Electric Railway
Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad 
Portland Railroad Company
Portsmouth, Dover, & York Street Railway
Portsmouth, Kittery, & York Street Railway
Rockland, South Thomaston & St. George Railway
Rockland, Thomaston  & Camden Street Railway
Sanford & Cape Porpoise Railway
Skowhegan & Norridgewock Railway & Power Company
Somerset Traction Company
Waterville & Fairfield Horse Railroad 
Waterville & Fairfield Railway & Light Company 
Waterville & Oakland Street Railway 
Waterville, Fairfield, & Oakland Street Railway
Westbrook, Windham, & Naples Railway
York Utilities Company


One of the interurbans of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban westbound on
the S-curve at Morrison Hill in Cumberland, Maine.
Image from Seashore Trolley Museum collection of O. R. Cummings
These were proposed-but-never-built trolley lines in Maine.
  • Auburn, Durham & Yarmouth Street Railway - 1907
  • Augusta, Oakland & Waterville Street Railway - 1906
  • Augusta & Togus Electric Railroad Company - 1900
  • Belfast Street Railway -1891
  • Biddeford Pool Electric Railroad -1902
  • Cherryfield and Milbridge Electric Railway - 1895
  • Eastern Traction Company - 1903
  • Kineo Street Railway - 1902
  • Lewiston, Winthrop & Augusta Street Railway - 1901
  • Lincoln County Street Railway - 1902
  • Lisbon, Durham & Freeport Street Railway - 1907
  • Maine and New Hampshire Railway - 1902
  • Mount Desert Transit Company - 1906
  • Oxford Central Electric Railroad - 1897
  • Peaks Island Electric Railway - 1900
  • Peaks Island Railroad - 1890
  • Portland & Brunswick Extension Railway - 1907(?)
  • Portland and Northern Railroad Company - 1907
  • Rumford Falls and Bethel Street Railway - 1907
  • Saco River Electric Railroad - 1897
  • York County Central Electric Railroad - 1900
  • York County Electric Railroad - 1899
  • York and Oxford Railway - 1907
  • Zig-Zag Railroad (Peaks Island) - 1891

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. 


More than Halfway There!!!
 ...to our $40,000 Matching Grant
Challenge Goal! - Please Help us reach the Goal by making a Donation Today to the
Narcissus Project Fund!


Thank You to our Current Funding Partners
* 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2014/2016 Matching Grant Challenges
Thornton Academy (Saco, ME) - Staff & Alumni - Matching Grant Challenge
* 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 2015/2016
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


The Narcissus, with interior back-lit, stained glass windows are majestic.
Make a donation today, and it will be matched, dollar-for-dollar!
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 - See Options Below

$40,000 Matching Grant Challenge
to Benefit the
Narcissus Project!!

The 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation
has made a most generous challenge to raise funds
to benefit the Narcissus Project.

20th Century Electric Railway Foundation
will match, dollar-for-dollar, donations
made to the Narcissus Project Fund 816-A, to a 
maximum of $40,000!!!

With the combination of new donations and the
matching donations, a total of $80,000
will be raised for restoration work on the
Narcissus!

See below for Donation options -

It starts with YOU....
Make a Donation TODAY....
Your Donation will Be MATCHED
Dollar-for-Dollar....

Please Help the Narcissus

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.
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


Donation Options to Help Restore the Narcissus:


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 :)

Narcissus - July 31, 2015. Make a donation today, and it will be matched,
dollar-for-dollar! 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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