Monday, September 25, 2017

"I Want To Come Visit My Old Bedroom!" - A Tribute to Daniel A. Vallee 1941-2017

J. Henri Vallee (left) with his son, Daniel Vallee relaxing inside their
summer cottage, Narcissus. This image is dated June 1965. In the
backgroundyou see into the kitchen/dining room that was attached to the
body of the Narcissus. Dan was a Marine at the time this picture was taken.
Dan retired from the Marines as a Major in 1984.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee

This blog post is a tribute to Daniel A. Vallee.
September 25 is the birthday of Daniel A. Vallee. Dan would have been 76 today. Sadly, Dan passed away unexpectedly on September 1, 2017.  He will be greatly missed by this writer. I only knew Dan for a couple of years, but he became an instant and dear friend from our first meeting. Dan grew up living in the Narcissus. When he was dating Rose, he first introduced her to his parents while they were living in the Narcissus. Rose and Dan were married for 50 years. All of us in the Narcissus family share our deepest condolences to Rose, their two sons, Leo and Patrick, and to all of the extended Vallee family members, for their loss of Dan.

Early sightings of the Narcissus were as the Vallee's summer camp as it was seen from the Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway in the late 1930s or so.

Screenshot of the Narcissus as seen in Sabattus, Maine during a fan trip.

Click Here for the short clip from a fan trip in the 1930s or early 40s that happens to pass by the Narcissus in Sabattus, Maine when it was a summer camp. Footage is from the O. R. Cummings Collection at Northeast Historic Film (P.O. Box 900, 85 Main Street, Bucksport, Maine 04416) and is used here with permission from NHF.

I first met Dan and Rose Vallee, mid-afternoon on Friday, July 31, 2015, as I was setting up for the first Teddy Roosevelt Days weekend event to benefit the Narcissus Project. They made the trek from the Monmouth, Maine area to Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Earlier in the week, Dan had seen a newspaper story about the 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 14, Narcissus entering the Museum's, Town House Restoration Shop. The sole-surviving piece of rolling stock of Maine's most famous interurban system was beginning the long process of a full restoration to operating condition. Dan was inspired to call the Museum. Upon his call being answered, Dan's first statement to the staff member was, "I want to come visit my old bedroom!" The befuddled staff member asked for the caller to clarify his request. Dan went on to explain that he had grown up living in the Narcissus. The Narcissus had been the Vallee family's summer camp at Sabbatus Lake. Dan's father, J. Henri Vallee, had made a trade with the Trolley Museum for the Narcissus back in the late 60s. And so later that week, Rose and Dan headed down to see Dan's old bedroom.

Various newspapers that carried the story of the Narcissus during July/August
2015. Patricia Pierce Erikson photo

Dan and Rose arrived at the Museum after lunch on that Friday. They met Donald Curry and Randy Leclair and were given the tour of the Narcissus. Dan explained the layout of the living arrangements from when he and his brother, Andre, and their parents, J. Henri and Emercienne "Marie". Dan's father had purchased the "body" of the Narcissus for $100 in the mid to late 1930s. Dan was born on September 25, 1941, so, he spent the first eighteen summers of his life living in the Narcissus. When Dan was eight or nine, the family actually lived in the Narcissus year-round for a couple years. Dan took the time and explained where he and his brother slept. Where his parents slept. The placement of the buck stove. He pointed out two "imprints" of where hinges were on the exterior of the number one end. The hinges held a wooden "window" that his mother would open up in order to sell hot dogs and coffee to summer folks that were visiting the lake.

The placement of the hinges is clearly evident on the left side on the number
one end of the Narcissus, just over the first window opening of the smoking
compartment. Dan Valle's mother would sell hot dogs and coffee through this
opening to visitors to Sabattus Pond/Lake. PWM

An interesting coincidence is that the family lived in a third-story apartment in Lewiston for many years. That apartment happened to be next door to the body of the "Maine" which had become a diner. Dan mentioned that on Friday and Saturday nights, the Maine had live musical entertainment for the patrons. And that he and his brother would be up late into the night hearing the various songs.

The 1920 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 22 "Maine" was named
in honor of the Centennial of the State of Maine. The body was sold
in late 1933 or early 1934 and became a diner in Lewiston, ME.
Image and info from O. R. Cummings' 1967 book,

Narcissus project manager, Phil Morse, on the left, with Dan Vallee.
Phil was explaining the process used for restoring the leaded stained glass
windows of the Narcissus. July 31, 2015.
Photo by Patricia Pierce Erikson

Once Dan & Rose returned to Florida for the winter of 2015/16, Dan looked through his family "archives." He was very kind to share his family photos of the Narcissus from the 1960s. They included the first photo in this blog, which had Dan sitting in the Narcissus with his father, J. Henri Vallee. See the other Vallee family photos of the Narcissus by Clicking here.

Early in the calendar year, Dan accepted my invitation to be a guest speaker at the 2016 Teddy Roosevelt Days event opening on Friday, August 5, 2016. Dan also agreed to visit the Museum a few weeks prior to the Teddy Days event to be videoed while being interviewed. The lead topic for the interview was what life was like living in the Narcissus as he was growing up.

Click on the video above to watch Daniel Vallee's short clip on what life was like living in the Narcissus. Video created and edited by Patricia Pierce Erikson

"A President Has Ridden in My House" - Click Here to see Dan Vallee video of what life was like living in the Narcissus when he was a youngster.

The three photos and captions below are from the 2016 Teddy Roosevelt Days weekend event gala opening on August 5, 2016.

Dan and Rose Vallee are together once again in the Narcissus. Married for 49
years, Dan first introduced Rose to his parents when the elder Vallees were
living in the Narcissus in Sabattus, Maine. This photo opportunity was
prepared specifically for photo opportunities inside the right side of the
smoking compartment during the three-day event to benefit the Narcissus
project. The restored original passenger windows in Santo Domingo
mahogany sash, with restored original leaded stained glass eyebrow
above, also in the original mahogany sash. All the mahogany components
are seen encasing the windows and the bulkhead frame (on far left unfinished),
including the brass hardware, are original to the Narcissus.
Notice the framed pictures of the 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt
in the White House next to a 1914 image of the Narcissus in Gray :)

Left to Right - Narcissus project manager, Phil Morse, author, Michael
Canfield, Dan Vallee, and Seashore Trolley Museum Library Committee
member, Karen Dooks.

Dan Vallee gave an extremely entertaining explanation of what his life was
like as he grew up living in the Narcissus in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Stories
of living conditions, family members and life in general as told through a
variety of personal stories. Well Done Dan!

Dan and Rose attended the 2017 Teddy Roosevelt Days event opening on Friday, July 21, 2017. It was a special evening with Maine artist, Wade Zahares unveiling the original work of art he created of the Narcissus. Dan and Rose were able to have conversations with descendants of W. S. and Annie Libbey who were also in attendance. 

Rose Vallee, Dan Vallee, and Don Curry in the audience during the Friday
opening of the Teddy Roosevelt days event. Friday, July 21, 2017
Photo by Ernie Eaton

Maine artist, Wade Zahares, introducing his new work, "Fast Friends",
featuring the Narcissus, W. S. and Annie Libbey in Libbey's

Morrison Hill Station is a Portland-Lewiston Interurban waiting station from West Cumberland, Maine. It was in place in 1915. Seashore Trolley Museum acquired the station in 1990 or so. Volunteers at the Museum rebuilt the metal-clad building and placed it along the Museum's heritage line as the first/last stop as passengers leave/approach the Visitor Center platform. At this stop, visitors may choose to disembark the historic restored electric railway vehicle in order to visit the newly dedicated Donald Curry Town House Restoration Shop, or the Riverside Exhibit Carbarn, or continue their walking tour to the other public exhibits throughout the Museum campus. 

Morrison Hill Station is now undergoing some structural improvements. Next spring. When the Museum reopens its public operations (2018 will be the Museum's 79th anniversary year!), the interior of the Morrison Hill Station will have a Portland-Lewiston Interurban exhibit. A couple of weeks ago a new 5-foot-wide exterior patio bench for visitors to use was assembled and placed on the platform of Morrison Hill Station. The plan is to add another bench to the platform next spring. In considering a dedication or memorial plaque or plate to be attached to the first bench, the initial decision was that one would be created to honor J. Henri Vallee. Had Mr. Vallee not purchased the body of the Narcissus in the late 30s for use as the Vallee summer camp, it most certainly would not have survived. Solely due to Mr. Vallee's acquisition, the sole surviving piece of rolling stock from Maine's premier interurban line is now undergoing restoration. 

In developing the text for the dedication, this writer did a Google search for the purpose of a quick look for the name the letter "J" in Mr. Vallee's name represented. The Google search instead had this writer learn that Daniel A. Vallee had passed away. I struggle with expressing my feelings for how I dealt with this news over the following couple of days. Over time, I will find several ways to honor Dan. To start with, the first bench at the Morrison Hill Station will be dedicated in memoriam to Dan. His father will be mentioned in the text, but this first bench is Dan's. I'll also be dedicating a donation to the Narcissus project in memory of Daniel A. Vallee. He sooo wanted to go for "a ride in his house" once it was back on the tracks a majestic representative of the most beloved interurban in Maine.

Starting in 1915, the Morrison Hill Station was a waiting station of the
Portland-Lewiston Interurban in West Cumberland, Maine. The Narcissus
would be one of the PLI interurbans that would stop at this station to pick up
and discharge passengers.  The 5-foot green bench is a new addition to the
platform. PWM

The new 5-foot-wide bench at the Morrison Hill Station. This bench now has
a plaque/plate attached to it that is inscribed with text in memorial to
Daniel A. Vallee. Over many, many years to come, the text will share a
nugget of Dan's humor with the thousands of Museum visitors that
will read the text as they share some restful moments on the bench. Once
the Narcissus is restored to operating status, it too will pause at
Morrison Hill Station from time to time. In doing so, it will be sharing a
moment with Dan during each trip. PWM

The plate - Thank you to Roger Bastarache at R & W Engraving in Biddeford
for making the plate in short order. PWM

Daniel A. Vallee
(1941 - 2017)
North Monmouth (ME) - Daniel A. Vallee, 75, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, September 1. 2017 at his lake house. He was born in Lewiston (ME) on September 25, 1941, the son of the late Henri and Emercienne "Marie" (Paquette). Dan was educated at St. Don's and graduated in 1959. He later joined the United States Marine Corps. until his retirement as a Major in 1984. He obtained his Master's Degree in Business at Western New England college. He worked at ASEC for 22 years until retiring as Vice-President in November of 2006. On May 20, 1967, he married the love of his life, Rose (Daigle), and they shared a loving marriage of over 50 years. He belonged to the American Legion and the Elks Club. Dan enjoyed fishing, cigars, traveling and spending time with family. Dan is survived by his wife; his two children, Leo Vallee of Tuscon, AZ and Patrick Vallee of Auburn; his sister-in-law, Bernadette Vallee of Lewiston; his one grandchild, Alexandra LaBonte of Plantation, FL, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, and his brother, Andre Vallee.

Daniel A. Vallee 1941-2017

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 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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