Monday, June 19, 2017

No. 14 - Seashore Trolley Museum's Laconia Car Company-built Collection

The hands of Seashore Trolley Museum member-volunteers,
Ed Dooks and his granddaughter Chelsey Pino, carefully
peel away the paper from the newly applied Laconia Car
Company decal on the side sill of the Laconia Car
Company-built, and then newly restored, 1906
electric locomotive from the Atlantic Shore Line Railway,
No. 100. Image by PWM 6-30-2009

The Laconia Car Company was located in the center of
Laconia, NH. Over the years, it expanded and took up 7 acres
of land. There were woodworking shops, foundries, set-up
shops, storehouses, and paint shops. The extensive four-story
brick building was dedicated to the iron foundry, which was
connected with the car fabrication business.

     Laconia Car Company was one of the important electric railway streetcar manufacturing companies at the turn of the 20th century. This builder was the only industry in the New Hampshire town of the same name. The community problems faced by the townspeople following the company's collapse in 1928 have been the subject of several important economic studies. (1) Seashore Trolley Museum has ten accessioned electric railway representatives from the Laconia Car Company among its collections. The Laconia collection at Seashore Trolley Museum is diverse. Starting with two early single-truck models from 1895, with monitor roofs and a seating capacity of 26 passengers, up to a 1918 semi-convertible, with a seating capacity of 44. The collection includes 1904, double-truck, 15-bench, open car with a railroad roof, wooden interurbans, a postal service car, and a wooden steeple cab locomotive.

     Three of these Laconia vehicles in Seashore's collection are listed in the National Register of Historic Places1904 Portsmouth Dover & York Street Railway, No. 108, wooden Railway Post Office/Express, 1906 Atlantic Shore Line, No. 100, wooden Steeple Cab Locomotive, and 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 14 - Narcissus, wooden Interurban Coach.

(1) p. 6, 1954 "Historic Cars of the Seashore Electric Railway, 1st edition

1912 - No. 14, Narcissus - Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Wooden Interurban Coach - Double/Air
Laconia Car Company - Seats: 52   L: 46' 0"   W: 8' 7"   H: 12' 11"  Wt: 68,000
Acquired the car body in October 1969

Theodore Roosevelt on the No. 2 end of the Narcissus as he addresses the
gathered folks in Gray, Maine on August 18, 1914.
Image courtesy of Gray Historical Society

     Maine's finest and fastest electric railway, the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, commenced regular operation on Thursday, July 2, 1914, its 29.8 miles of main track extending almost due north from a connection with the Cumberland County Power & Light Company-leased Portland Railroad Company in Portland through West Falmouth, West Cumberland, Gray and the town of New Gloucester to Auburn and a connection with the Mechanic Falls line of the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville Street Railway. The cars operated between Monument Square, Portland and Union Square, Lewiston, 34.37 miles, and the initial two-hour headway soon was replaced by hourly service which was maintained until the line was abandoned in mid-1933. The connections in Portland and Auburn were known as Deering Junction and Fairview Junction, respectively and from register stations, at both points, conductors called the dispatcher in Lewiston for orders.

From the Laconia Historical and Museum Society archives,
in Laconia, NH 
a list showing that in April 1912,
the Laconia Car Company Works received the order (661)
to build four interurbans for the
Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad.
This is the same month that Titanic set sail on its maiden
and final voyage, as well as the month the Red Sox new home,
Fenway Park opened. The
PGLRR became the 
Portland-Lewiston Interurban in 1914.

     Six passenger cars on hand on opening day consisted of six 36-foot double-truck coach "smokers," Nos. 10, 12, 14, & 16 were built by the Laconia Car Company and Nos. 18 & 20 were built by Wason Company. The car bodies arrived in Portland in January 1913, being placed in storage in a temporary wood frame carhouse until the late spring of 1914 when they were towed to Lewiston to be equipped with trucks, motors, controllers and air brake systems and otherwise made ready for operation.
Because of interurban promoter W. Scott Libbey's desire that each car has a distinct personality and not be identified just by number, all six were named after flowers. No. 10 was the Arbutus; No. 12, the Gladiolus; No. 14, the Narcissus; No. 16, the Clematis; No. 18, the Azalea; and No. 20, the Magnolia. A seventh coach-smoker, No. 22, acquired from Wason in 1920, became the Maine.
     Each of the original cars was 46 feet long overall and 8 ft. 3/4 in. wide and had steam coach roofs and straight vertically sheathed sides. There were seven arched windows - six double sashes and one single sash - on each side, the sashes being arranged to lift. The arches above the sashes and the windows in the roof clerestory were glazed with ornamental leaded glass. The exterior livery was Pullman green with gray roofs and dark red doors and trim and gold leaf numbers and lettering.

Interiors of the Laconia Car-built PLI interurbans

     On Tuesday, August 18, the Narcissus carried what probably was the most distinguished passenger in the Portland-Lewiston Interurban's history. Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, while in Boston, set out on a day trip to northern Maine, campaigning for the Progressive Party. He was invited by the interurban management to inspect the still new railway, riding from Lewiston to Portland with brief stops in New Gloucester and Gray. The former chief executive addressed the gatherings of townspeople at each stop. Upon arrival in the Forest City, "Teddy" voiced his pleasure over the "bully" ride he had enjoyed and given motorman Charles H. Mitchell and conductor Joseph N. L'Heureux, best known as "Joe Happy," each a tip of $10, a not inconsiderable amount in those days.
     The Narcissus still was active when the Portland-Lewiston Interurban was abandoned on June 28, 1933. Three months later, on September 27, the railway properties, including all rolling stock, had been sold to H. E. Salzburg Inc. of New York City, a railroad salvage concern, and dismantling of the property began shortly thereafter. A number of car bodies were sold to private parties and among them was the Narcissus, which eventually became the summer home of J. Henry Vallee near Sabattus Lake in the present town of Sabattus. Mr. Vallee agreed to part with the Narcissus, if the Museum would have the shell of a replacement cottage constructed; after a major fundraising effort, the deal was consummated. The Narcissus arrived at Seashore Trolley Museum on October 31 of 1969. Currently, the Narcissus is undergoing restoration at the Town House Restoration Shop at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. History by O. R. Cummings, Historian, New England Electric Railway Historical Society

Additional Details on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban and Narcissus - Click the Date to open a link
4.27.2015   - The PLI Bouquet is Ordered - April 1912
8.15.2015   - W. S. Libbey: The Man and His Mill
6.28.2016   - The End of a Classic Interurban - June 28, 1933
7.1.2016     - Sudden Death of Hon. W. Scott Libbey - Lewiston Evening Journal May 18, 1914
7.2.2016     - The Beginning of a Classic Interurban - July 2, 1914
9.30.2016   - Scrapbook Celebrates the People of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
1.7.2017     - Narcissus Restoration Project Outreach-Research 2016
1.29.2017   - W. S. Libbey-Builder of the PLI: His Stanley Steamer Model K 30-hp Semi-Racer
4.2.2017     - May 1956 - Portland-Lewiston Interurban by O. R. Cummings - PLI History
4.16.2017   - September 1967 - Portland-Lewiston Interurban by O. R. Cummings-PLI History
5.12.2017  - Cell Phone for the Narcissus Arrived Today - 1903 Model ;)

Oscar S Adkins and John I Cluff with No. 14, Narcissus  in Gray @1914
Narcissus and an Augusta & Kennebec Railways in Union Square, Lewiston,
Maine - April 6, 1933. O. R .Cummings Collection 

Click Here: Video clip of 1930s/40s railway fan trip as it passes "Camp Narcissus" in Sabattus, ME

Narcissus is loaded on the trailer and ready to leave Sabattus and head
to its new home, Seashore Trolley Museum Oct. 1969
Photo courtesy of Daniel Vallee

     The video below has Daniel Vallee describing what it was like growing up while living in the Narcissus. The Narcissus was the Vallee's summer camp for 30-+ years (and a year-round home for two years).

     The video below has Clyde Walker Pierce, Jr. discussing what it was like to race the Portland-Lewiston Interurbans in the early 1930s.

Click Here: Video of Theodore Santarelli de Brasch explaining the "Birth" of Seashore Trolley - 1939

Additional blog posts on Seashore Trolley Museum's Laconia Car Company-built Collection:
Click Here: No. 14 - 1912 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 38 - 1907 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 60 - 1895 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 100 - 1906 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 108 - 1904 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 235, No. 50 & No. 9 - 1895, 1902, & 1904 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No 4175 - 1914 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 4387 - 1918 Laconia Car Company-built Collection

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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