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 an original porcelain
advertising piece from the O. R. Cummings collection at

     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.  Scroll to the end of this post to find all donation options, including an online donation link. 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 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

A 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 the collection of
Seashore Trolley Museum

Electric Railways of Maine - 1915
Click Here for the post: "Electric Railway King" of the Pine Tree State - Amos Fitz Gerald

(Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland, Gray, New Gloucester, Auburn, and Lewiston)

(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, Brewer, Old Town, Orono, Hampden, Charleston, Winterport, Kenduskeag, Glenburn, and Corinth.

Benton and Fairfield

Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach

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

Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Westbrook, Gorham, South Windham, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Cumberland, and Yarmouth

Fairfield Village to Shawmut

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

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, Paris,  and South Paris

Rockland, St. George, Thomaston, South Thomaston (Crescent Beach-Owls'Head)

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

Click on the railways that have a hotlink below for more on that particular line
Railways that operated in Maine during the Trolley Era
Fryeburg Horse Railroad - Never Electrified
Mousam River Railroad (S&CP)(ASL)
York Utilities Company (ASL)

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
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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