Friday, September 30, 2016

Scrapbook Celebrates the People of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban

Cover-page of the large scrapbook created by Charles D. Heseltine, using photos,
newspaper clippings, original ephemera from the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI);
including poetry, personal cards, notes, and notations from employees and their families.
My understanding is that Heseltine passed the scrapbook on to O. R. Cummings, who in
turn, passed it on to the New England Electric Railway Historical Society's (NEERHS)
Library. Seashore Trolley Museum is owned and operated by the NEERHS in
Kennebunkport, ME

     Please consider making a donation to the interpretation portion of the  Narcissus Project. Funds are still needed to complete the conservation of the PLI Employees' Scrapbook. Once conserved and photographed at high resolution, the files of those now fragile, at-risk, precious items, will be used to create quality interpretation programs and help tell this amazing story of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus.  Scroll to the end of this post to find all donation options.

Click Here to read how generous donations to the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project were used in 2019 for Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to conserve, photograph, and make a duplicate of the original 1910, 28-foot-long surveyor's map for what would become the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. Next up? The conservation and photographing of the PLI Employees' Scrapbook....read on...it incredible!

The scrapbook has several pages dedicated to reunions of the former PLI
employees and their families. There are four reunions specifically
cataloged on several pages; June 29, 1938, June 29, 1939, June 30, 1940,
and June 28, 1941. All four of the reunions were held in Gray, ME.
The 1938 and 1941 reunions were held at the Newbegin Hall. The
1939 and the 1940 reunions were held at the Pennell Institute Gymnasium.
It is noted in newspaper articles of the times, that combined, the total of
former PLI employees and their family members that attended each of the
reunions in 1939 and 1940, well exceeded 100 in attendance.
The image above is from the final annual reunion, 1941. 

This scrapbook is made up of
mementos from these employees, or their
family members. Each item was hand-
delivered, usually when attending a
reunion. Each came with an emotional
"piece" of that employee or that
employee's relationship with other PLI
employees. This scrapbook holds some
precious moments for these folks.
We are so very fortunate.

     If you recognize a person, home or other structure in any of these images and have additional information on the person or a current image of a home/structure that can be used to show the approximate area in recent years, please consider sending me an email with the information or "new" image and a caption/explanation: p.morse31@gmail.com

W. S. Libbey was beloved by his family. He was a well respected
businessman, not only in the greater Auburn-Lewiston area,
but around the state and throughout New England.
For more on the life of W. S. Libbey: 
Click Here
For more on the community reaction to his life: Click Here

LeRoy Libby - I learned in 2015 that W. S. Libbey
is a descendant of John Libby. John Libby arrived
in the Blackpoint area of Scarborough, Maine in
the very early 1630s. I also learned that
W. S. Libbey and I have a common ancestor.
We are both descended from the second
child, of the eleventh child, born to John Libby.
So, now, every time I see a "Libby", I
wonder if we are related? I'll need to
research LeRoy (above) :)
To see more on my connections to
W.S. Libbey: Click Here

The first page of images taken during the construction of the line.

For more information leading up to the opening of the
Portland, Gray, & Lewiston Railroad and circumstances that
lead to it becoming the PLI: Click Here

Mrs. Harold S. Libbey shared a number of photos of the construction of what
would become, the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. Helen V. Channell, married
W. S. Libbey's son, Harold Shaw Libbey in 1907. During the construction,
Mr. & Mrs. Libbey would camp out along the right-of-way. Harold would
send his father letters with updates of the progress of the line.

Webster's had a siding (a short section of a second track that could be
accessed 
from the mainline) and was about fifteen miles from the Lewiston
Terminal. If you recognize a person, home or other structure in any of these
images and have additional information on the person or a current
image of a home/structure that can be used to show the approximate area
in recent years, please consider sending me an email with the information
or "new" image and a caption/explanation: p.morse31@gmail.com

I wonder if that is Mrs. Harold S. Libbey sitting on the edge of
the cut on the upper right? If you recognize a person, home or
other structure in any of these images and have additional
information on the person or a current image of a home/structure
that can be used to show the approximate area in recent years,
please consider sending me an email with the information or
"new" image and a caption/explanation: p.morse31@gmail.com


This original reinforced concrete bridge was replaced by a steel girder span
in late 1927, early 1928.

Our hope is to have each of the photos in the scrapbook scanned digitally,
and where needed, restored. Contact Narcissus project manager,
Phil Morse, if you would like to learn more on the scanning/restoration of
these precious images. p.morse31@gmail.com

Harry W. Ferguson in the above image, went on to become the Line Foreman.
See the 1932 list of employees in one of the above images.

If you recognize a person, home or other structure in any of these images
and have additional information on the person or a current image of
a home/structure that can be used to show the approximate area in
recent years, please consider sending me an email with the information
or "new" image and a caption/explanation: p.morse31@gmail.com

If you recognize a person, home or other structure in any of these images
and have additional information on the person or a current image of
a home/structure that can be used to show the approximate area in recent
years, please consider sending me an email with the information
or "new" image and a caption/explanation: p.morse31@gmail.com

If you recognize a person, home or other structure in any of these
images and have additional information on the person or a current
image of a home/structure that can be used to show the approximate
location in recent years, please consider sending me an email with
the information or "new" image and a caption/explanation:
p.morse31@gmail.com

For more details on the opening of the line: Click Here

Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.
 He also rode on one of the PLI interurbans during his August 31, 1916
visit. During both trips, he stopped in Gray and spoke to the assembled
townspeople from the car. We have not been able to identify specifically,
which one of the six interurbans he rode on during his 1916 visit.
If you have any information that can help us to identify which of the
interurbans he rode in 1916, please contact the Narcissus project
manager, Phil Morse: p.morse31@gmail.com
Theodore Roosevelt loved Maine and traveled to Maine on several
occasions starting when he was thirteen years old in 1872.
For more information on TR's trips to Maine:

The average newspaper reader at the time, probably would not
have clipped this article out and saved it :)

How many personal photos do you have at home, that have no names
identifying any of the people in the photos? Time passes and in later years,
it becomes very challenging to identify time, place, and individuals.
Thankfully, many of the folks in the images in the scrapbook are noted.
Not all though. Some names have question marks and some images
have no names at all. 

Anyone recognize any of these fellas :) If so, send me an email with the image
and a caption/explanation to 
p.morse31@gmail.com

Morrison's Hill had a milk platform, gravel pit, and spur for work trains only.
Morrison Hill was about 12 miles north of Portland Street terminal in
Portland. Seashore Trolley Museum has restored the original 
1915 Morrison Hill Way Station from the PLI and has it on display.


There are a number of images in the scrapbook of damage caused by
washouts. Nos. 3 and 2 bridges were two separate bridges but were
connected with each other.




Sadler's had a siding (a short section of a second track that could be accessed
from the mainline) and was about two and a half miles from the Lewiston
Terminal. 
If you recognize a person, home or other structure in any of these
images and have additional information on the person or a current image of
a home/structure that can be used to show the approximate area in recent
years, please consider sending me an email with the information or
"new" image and a caption/explanation: p.morse31@gmail.com


Like washouts, there are a number of images of PLI employees,
and probably contracted help, digging out after large snowstorms.
The "Exciter" is the employee newsletter of Central Maine
Power Company (CMP). The PLI became part of the CMP family
in 1920. 

The "Silo" was also known as Blake's. It was about a mile south from Sadler's
Siding and just north of the Milk platform and cattle run at Merrows.
When first built, there were 50 cattle passes along the line, each was
reinforced concrete with an 8-foot clearance.
For more on the early details of the line: Click Here

The interurbans were large cars and took up a lot of space on the streets in
Portland and Lewiston. Each was 46 feet long and weighed in at about 36
tons. Passenger service ended on the 28th with Arbutus heading to Lewiston
from Portland at 11:05 p.m. and Gladiolus leaving from Lewiston for
Portland. They both arrived in Gray and then off to their respective
destinations with Arbutus arriving at 12:27 a.m. June 29 and Gladiolus
arriving in Portland at 12:30 a.m. Here is a little known Theodore
Roosevelt-Portland, Maine related fact: The Theodore Roosevelt
International Highway is 4,060 miles long and goes from Portland,
Maine to Portland, Oregon. For More on the TRIH: Click Here

1920 was the year Maine celebrated its centennial birthday. The large crowds
mentioned above were traveling to and from visiting the
Centennial Exposition at Deering Oaks in Portland. 1920 was also the
high water mark for the number of total passengers carried in a single year.
519,488. Over the years of passenger service, the line carried more than
7.3 million passengers.


Freight and Express service generated significant revenues for the PLI
for several years. From 10% of total gross revenues to nearly 19% as
passenger revenues were dropping off in the mid-20s.

With about 35 miles of track and overhead wire, there was always
maintenance going on throughout the line.


Pages of pictures of the substations in West Falmouth, Gray, and Danville.
If you recognize a person, home or other structure in any of these
images and have additional information on the person or a current
image  of a home/structure that can be used to show the approximate
location in recent years, please consider sending me an email with
the information or "new" image and a caption/explanation:
p.morse31@gmail.com



Pictures of the Section Crew members.

Milage and Fare Tables. O.R. Cummings used many of these original documents as
resources for his first two books on the PLI.
May 1956 - Portland-Lewiston Interurban,  NRHS, Connecticut Valley Chapter Pub.
September 1967 - Maine's Fast Electric Railroad - Portland-Lewiston Interurban
through New England Electric Railway Historical Society.
O. R. Cummings passed away early in 2013. He left a significant portion of his
railway-related collection to the Library at the New England Electric Railway
Historical Society. Included in that collection is his, approximately, 50-page
manuscript for what would be volume three, in the series of books on the
Portland-Lewiston Interurban. If you have an interest in learning more about
the process of publishing this manuscript, please contact the Narcissus project
manager, Phil Morse: p.morse31@gmail.com

Telephone Directory. Even includes retired and laid-off employees.

The last car page. Followed by a 1933 page.

The Arbutus is pictured above: The Last "Interurban"

Mrs. Gertrude Libbey Anthony purchased the Arbutus, complete, as a fully
operating interurban, and had it relocated on a set of tracks at her home in
Saco, Maine. The "body" of the Narcissus traveled to Sabattus, Maine,
near the Sabattus Pond/Lake and became the summer camp for the
Vallee family for nearly 35 years. The body of the Narcissus would
become the property of the Seashore Trolley Museum in 1969.
To read more on "Camp" Narcissus: Click Here
To watch a short video interview of Daniel Vallee taking about
living in the Narcissus: Click Here

A newspaper article in the Lewiston Magazine section
August 19, 1939.

Another image of the complete Arbutus in Saco, Maine in 1940.
In1945/6, the Arbutus would be scrapped. Some of the beautiful
interior Santo Domingo mahogany with inlay would go to the
St. Francis College chapel in Biddeford Pool, Maine. Some of the clerestory
ornate leaded stained glass windows, in their mahogany sash,
would end up in the Shoreline Trolley Museum in Connecticut. These
clerestory windows and sash would be donated to Seashore Trolley Museum
in 2002.

The first of four "annual" reunions took place five years after the PLI service came
to an end, June 29, 1933. Held at the Newbegin Hall in Gray, Maine. A baked
bean supper was served by the Gray Grange, with entertainment and dance
following.

The second and third reunions were held at the Pennell Institute Gymnasium
in Gray, Maine

The reunion pages include many cards, letter, and photos explaining
happy times and tough times since the years of working together on the PLI.
This card explains how the "29" crash impacted one of the reunion members.

Reunion Invitation

There are many cards, obituaries, letters, and poems that
pay homage to those former PLI employees and or family members
that had passed away.

This poem by former PLI patron, Margaret Turner, was first read at
the 1939 reunion. It is a touching tribute to the PLI and the community that
was served so well for 20 years by the dedicated employees.
To see and hear the poem put to music: Click Here

Museum of Mass Transit is celebrating its 81st Birthday year in 2020! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 2, 2020. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 

Check out the new book that features the Narcissus!
Look below to read the many great reviews!

Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride

Three 5-Star Reviews from Readers' Favorite posted on January 6, 2020
Click Here to read the post

"An eye-opening and entertaining ride - you won't want the train to stop!
Highly recommended.
Andrew Vietze, award-winning author of Becoming Teddy Roosevelt.

Books are available at these local bookstores in Maine:
The Book Review, Falmouth
Letterpress Books, Portland
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland
Nubble Books, Biddeford
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

A resource for teachers. 
     We are working with the Maine Historical Society to create State-standard-based lesson plans for classroom use in grades 4, 5, 6, and 7. We hope to have the vocabulary for the various grades released soon and to unveil the full lesson plans early in 2020. In the meantime, the teacher resource post has a listing of online references for people, places, and events that are referred to throughout the book, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - written with a focus on using vocabulary words and sentence structure that might be useful in classroom studies for students and teachers in grades 4 to 7. Though, there are numerous words, sentences, topics, and references that students and teachers in a variety of grades, as well as readers of all ages, will find useful and of interest. 

Click Here for the announcement of the award-winning narrator for the audiobook :) 

     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.

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 Kindle page through Amazon

Click Here for the post on the ebook release video with a guided tour of the Narcissus

Book, ebook, and (soon) audiobook available through Amazon.

Click Here to read January 24, 2020 - Four-Star Clarion Review

Click Here to read January 20, 2020 - Coveted Starred Blueink 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

     In June of 2018, I was very happy to release a blog post announcing that award-winning Maine author, Jean M. Flahive, had agreed to write a young reader historical fiction chapter book that would benefit the Narcissus Project. In October of 2019, I was happy to report, that the book, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride, had been printed and was available to purchase! Below are some blurbs/reviews from a few individuals who read the manuscript after being professionally edited by Maine Authors Publishing in Thomaston, Maine. 

MUST-READ! - Click Here
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)
MUST-READ! - Click Here  (In case you hadn't "clicked" and read it above :)

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.
Thank You

   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. With our estimate to have the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Narcissus in the fall of 2021, 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 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 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.