Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pre-PLI: Trolley Service Between Portland and the Twin Cities of Lewiston and Auburn

A photograph of an unknown motorman of the Lewiston, Augusta &
Waterville Street Railway (LA&W). We would really like to know his name.
The LA&W operated from May 1, 1907, through September 30, 1919.
Please contact me if you have a lead.
Thank you. email: p.morse31@gmail.com
PWM photo 

Donald Curry and I are volunteers at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. We often travel together to conduct presentations/lectures in communities that have some connection to the Portland-Lewiston Interurban line (PLI) in Maine or to the PLI interurban, Narcissus. The Narcissus is currently being restored at Seashore Trolley Museum in the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop. In the spring of 2018, we have PLI presentations scheduled in Lewiston, West Falmouth, and West Cumberland (scroll down this page to see the specifics dates, times, etc.) One of the points brought up early in the presentation is how one would travel between the Twin Cities using electric trolleys, prior to the PLI providing service starting in 1914. This blog post will provide some background in regards to that point.


The heart of the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville Street Railway system
was Hulett Square, at the intersection of Maine and Lisbon Streets in
Lewiston. A Waterville-bound car is shown turning into
Lisbon Street (left), while a car from Bath stands in front of the
waiting room. Currently, J. Dostie Jewelers occupy the street-level
space of the building on the left, formally known as the "Journal" building.
PWM postcard

From O. R. Cummings' "Maine's Fastest Electric Railroad" 
     Trolley service between Portland and the Twin Cities of Lewiston and Auburn had its beginnings on August 8, 1902, when the Portland & Brunswick Street Railway, incorporated the previous year, opened its 15.4-mile line from the college town of Brunswick southerly through Freeport and South Freeport to Yarmouth. At Brunswick, the Portland & Brunswick had a physical connection with the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Street Railway, constructed in 1898, and at Yarmouth, the Portland & Brunswick tracks dead-ended just a few feet from the rails of the Portland Railroad Company's Yarmouth Division, built in 1898 as the Portland & Yarmouth Electric Railway.

                                                 Cover photo of O. R. Cummings' 1966 publication

     The roundabout route between the Forest City (Portland) and Lewiston created by the opening of the Portland & Brunswick was 42 miles long, with a running time of more than three hours and with two changes of cars - at Yarmouth and at Brunswick - initially being necessary. The service was frequent, however, and the combined fares of the three railways involved in the Portland-Lewiston trip was only 65 cents. (There would be a time between 1906 and 1919 that there was a joint operation between railways that eliminated one change of cars at Yarmouth).

     Of course, there were steam railroad lines between Portland and Lewiston - the Maine Central Railroad and the Grand Trunk Railway - but there were few trains on either line on weekdays and even poorer service on Sundays. 




     The Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Street Railway, which also owned the local lines in Lewiston and Auburn, was absorbed by the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville Steet Railway in 1907, and in 1913, the former Portland & Brunswick, which had been reorganized as the Brunswick & Yarmouth Street Railway in 1911, was merged into the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville system. (The Portland-Lewiston Interurban opened on July 2, 1914) The Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville went into receivership in December 1918 and was reorganized on October 1 of the following year (1919) as the Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway. 

     "Electric Railway King of Maine"
     Amos F. Gerald, "The Electric Railway King of Maine", seemed to have his hand in nearly every electric railway charter during the hay-day of electric railway development in the Pine Tree State.
Gerald created both the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath and the Portland & Brunswick Street Railways. 

Photo from O. R Cummings 1966 publication,
"Trolleys to Brunswick, Maine"
systems throughout New England.

Bath carhouse of the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath and the parlor car,
"Merrymeeting" in 1899. This building was razed in 1911 and a smaller
barn was constructed from the materials. O. R. Cummings collection.

The "Merrymeeting" at the Tacoma Inn near Lewiston
The "Merrymeeting" was a double-truck (two sets of wheels & motors)
parlor car built by the Briggs Carriage Company of Amesbury, MA, for
the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Street Railway, at a cost of $7,000.
Photo courtesy of Seashore Trolley Museum's Library. Text from
O. R. Cummings 1959 publication, "Trolley Parlor Cars of New England"

The "Merrymeeting" parlor car was delivered in May of 1899. It could be
chartered for $10 a day, was taken over by the Lewiston, Augusta &
Waterville Street Railway in 1907. It remained in service as late as 1917.
It was stored until 1920 when its trucks were removed for use on a
freight car and the body was scrapped :(
Photo courtesy of Seashore Trolley Museum's Library. Text from
O. R. Cummings 1959 publication, "Trolley Parlor Cars of New England"

Pleasure Resorts
From O. R. Cummings 1966 publication, "Trolleys to Brunswick, Maine"

     No self-respecting street railway company considered itself complete without a pleasure resort during the golden years of the trolley era, and both the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath and the Portland & Brunswick maintained such facilities to help generate summer excursion traffic.
Click here for more on Trolley Parks in the heart of Maine by Seashore Trolley Museum.

Merrymeeting Park

Merrymeeting Park was opened to the public in the summer of 1899,
the attractions included this $30,000 casino. Casinos of the day were
not gambling establishments. The three-story casino had broad verandas,
a very large dining room, dance hall, parlor, and smoking rooms.
PWM postcard

Twenty-six miles from Lewiston. Notice the castle-like stone attachment to
the veranda. Amos F. Gerald, the builder of the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath
line, loved castles and frequently incorporated a castle into the
trolley parks he was associated with. PWM postcard

     Merrymeeting Park was located one and a half miles from Brunswick on a 147-acre tract along the Androscoggin River. On approach to the casino, the visitors passed through the zoological department in which were numerous houses, cages, and pens for the fine collection of animals which formed the principal attractions. The collection included a herd of buffaloes, bears, moose, elk, deer, and foxes. Vast lawns, ponds, and groves of trees made for a relaxing atmosphere. Frequently, the attendance in the early years at the park was from 2,000 to 4,000 people on a given day. The park's popularity did decline fairly quickly though and was closed after the 1906 season.

PWM postcard

The amphitheater had seats for up to three thousand patrons and programs
that included band concerts, vaudeville, magic shows, minstrels, comedies,
and dramas.  PWM postcard

 Lake Grove Park
Lake Grove Park was located three miles from Lewiston at Auburn Lake. The attractions included a small rustic theater, with an open stage. The setting was well shaded, and scattered among the trees were quite a number of animals including bears, moose, and elk. On the lake, a large number of boats were kept, which were hired for boating and fishing. parties. Lake Grove was Maine's first park developed by a railway - opened in 1883 by the Lewiston and Auburn Horse Railway. It closed in 1928.

PWM postcard

PWM postcard

PWM postcard

Tacoma Inn
    The Tacoma Inn, near the intersection of Sand & Woodbury Ponds, was a favorite spot for factory and commercial outings. Only 14 miles from the Lewiston waiting station, there were many charter trips from Lewiston and Auburn to the Inn. An annual excursion was that of the Healy Asylum, a boys' orphanage in Lewiston. This yearly event was financed by a bequest in the will of W. Scott Libbey, builder of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, Bates College and probably Colby College classes and groups held outings and reunions at the inn.

A feature attraction at the Tacoma Inn was the "High Diving White Horses."
The handsome white horses, "King" and "Queen" would jump into Sand Pond
from a high platform (info provided by Historical Society of Litchfield, ME)
PWM postcard

New Meadows Inn
     Another attraction on the Lewiston-Bath line was the privately-owned New Meadows Inn, on the bank of the New Meadows River in Bath. The inn was world-renowned for the quality and abundance of its shore dinners. Because of heavy traffic to and from the famous eating place, the railway provided a passenger platform, a small waiting station, and a siding near the inn.

Trolley stop at New Meadows Inn platform. The Inn was between the
Merrymeeting stop (3 miles) and the Bath carhouse (2.5 miles).
O. R. Cummings collection at STM

A trolley on the Portland line to Yarmouth, Maine, where riders could then
board a trolley to Brunswick, change to a third trolley and then be
on the way to Lewiston. PWM postcard

Click on: "Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride," to learn about the young reader historical fiction chapter book due for release this fall. Proceeds will benefit the Narcissus Project :)

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.

The 2015 publication of, The Illustrated Atlas
of Maine's Street & Electric Railways
1863-1946, was published by the Library
at Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport.
Copies are available for purchase from the

Seashore Trolley Museum, - Museum of Mass Transit, is celebrating its 80th Birthday year in 2019! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 4, 2019. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 


Click Here for 80th Anniversary Year - Seashore Trolley Museum 1939-2019 post
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the 50s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year - A Look Back at the 60s  - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the '70s - Seashore Trolley Mus.
Click Here for The Birth of Seashore Trolley Museum Blog Post
Click Here for STM's Ten National Register of Historic Places Electric Railway Vehicles post
Click Here for 1901 Tower C Boston Elevated Railway to STM in 1975
Click Here for No. 38 - 1906 Manchester & Nashua Street Railway - Acquired March 21, 1940
Click Here for No. 60 - 1895 Manchester Street Railway - Acquired April 11, 1941
Click Here for No. 4387 - 1918 Eastern Mass. Street Railway - Acquired August 29, 1946
Click Here for No. 100 - 1906 Atlantic Shore Line Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 108 - 1904 Portsmouth, Dover & York Street Railway - Acquired 1949
Click Here for No. 14 Narcissus 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban - Acquired 1969

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
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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