Thursday, June 14, 2018

Car 31 - Planning for 1999 Anniversary Tour Began 20 Years Ago

1900 Biddeford & Saco Railroad open trolley car No 31
in operation at Seashore Trolley Museum on June 17, 1999,
the day before being loaded on a low flatbed trailer in
preparation for traveling back to Saco, Maine. Car 31 would
be on "tour" for a week, visiting its old neighborhoods in
Saco, Biddeford, and Old Orchard Beach as part of the 
60th Anniversary Celebration for Seashore Trolley Museum.
Ten days later, the balance of $42 was paid to complete the 
purchase. Car 31 left Saco on July 15, 1939, and traveled to
it's new home in North Kennebunkport The purchase of
Car 31, made it the first trolley car, anywhere in the world,
to be acquired by individuals for the purpose
to start a trolley museum.

2019 will be Seashore Trolley Museum's 80th Anniversary!

      Reflection - Twenty years ago, in preparation for Seashore Trolley Museum's 60th Anniversary Celebration, I received permission to raise funds for the Museum's first trolley car, 1900 Biddeford & Saco Railroad open trolley car No. 31. The J. G. Brill-built, 60-passenger open car had operated out of the Saco, Maine trolley carbarn on Beach Street for 39 years before being acquired by the young men who began what would become, Seashore Trolley Museum. For the better part of a year, we raised money, did some maintenance work, applied some paint and varnish, and had the National Register of Historic Places gem looking great for its trip back home in 1999.

      This blog post is a pictorial summary of the 1999 Car 31 60th Anniversary Tour. It is still spring, and as the project manager for the Narcissus, I'm looking ahead a little bit and planting some seeds here in this post:) I became quite nostalgic as I dug through my archives and combed through photo albums for these pictures (none were digitized). Lot's of volunteers and staff put in very long hours each day for that week in 1999. I hope you enjoy the results of my "dirt therapy" :)

      I took most of these pictures, but not all. I'll make a note otherwise if I can recall who?

Pre-tour promotion with Bob Black
being recorded for the Biddeford
Cable Access TV promotional tape.

Peter Wilson brings the tractor-trailer around 
1901 Boston Elevated Railway Switching Station, Tower-C.

Heading to the loading area.

Preparing to load Car 31 on to the
trailer. L-R Peter Wilson, Mike Simonds
Roger Tobin.

L-R - Jack Coyle and Chuck Griffith use 1920 Oshawa,
Ontario, electric locomotive No. 300 to move cars so that
Car 31 can access the loading dock.

Chuck Griffith at the controls as he approaches the trailer.
No overhead problem. A "bug" was used.
A bug is basically an extension

Safely loaded.

Peter Wilson next to Car 31 in the parking lot at the visitor
center of Seashore Trolley Museum. Here the car will
be prepared for the trip to Saco.

Mike Simonds changing the light
bulbs out and replacing with 32-volt
bulbs for use with 110-volt

Ben Yuscavitch checked all electricals
for use during night opps. when Car 31
would be on display.

L-R - Mike Simonds, John Middleton, and
Ben Yuscavitch secure one of the banners to car 31.

Ready to roll. In the background, the 1901 Boston Elevated 
Railway, Northampton Station, looks on.

Normand Viger, with his grandson, 
receiving info from Mike Simonds
on how Car 31 is secured to the trailer.
Normand was one of the volunteers
to drive the tractor-trailer rig.

L-R -Henry Dickinson, Mike Simonds, Normand Viger,
Normand's grandson, Dick Avy, and Roger Tobin just before 
we hit the road.

Normand Viger driving the tractor-trailer with Car 31 as
they begin to leave STM.

Car 31 entered what became the entrance to the Museum,
from what was gravel, Biddeford Road in 1939, now exits
the Museum grounds for the first time in 60 years.

Car 31 turns right from Log Cabin Road in Arundel, onto
Route One, North. Henry Dickinson's car is parked as he
records Car 31's travels.

Car 31 crosses the railroad tracks and
stops for a moment on Main Street, 
Saco next to the very tall 1915
line pole from the Biddeford & Saco
Railroad that held the 600-volt, DC
electricity that powered Car 31. This 
line pole was left in place when Main
Street received new street lighting poles
and lights in 2005. The other lines poles
were donated to Seashore Trolley Museum,
along with several of the original ornate
pole caps. The line poles that were along
Main Street in Biddeford were donated 
to the Museum when upgrades were made
in the late 90s.

This 1937 or later image was taken from the
opposite side of the tracks and across the street.
You see the tall line pole next to Car 612..look at
how high the trolley pole is :) From O. R.
Cummings 1989 book, "Streetcars to Old
Orchard Beach"

Car 31 passes Saco City Hall.

This blogger with his back to the camera, wearing a very
limited edition t-shirt with 1920 Portland Railroad No.
615 image. No. 615 was sold to the Biddeford & Saco
Railroad in 1936 and operated alongside Car 31 until 1939.
They were reunited in 1941 when No. 615 arrived at
Seashore Trolley Museum as the third trolley car in the
growing collection in North Kennebunkport.

During its operating years (1900-1939) for the B&SRR,
Car 31 would generally turn right onto Beach Street
(left for us reading this)when heading north on Main Street,
Saco. The carbarn was a mile or so east on Beach Street on the

Car 31 on Main Street, Saco, across the street from
York Institute Museum (Now Saco Museum).

York Institute Museum (now Saco Museum) with the
outdoor banner (on the right) promoting the new exhibit;
You Could Get There From Here: Life In Maine's
Trolley Era.

Car 31 entering the parking lot of York Institute Museum
(now Saco Museum).

L-R - Roger Tobin holds the ladder
for Jack Coyle as Jack secures the
Car 31 tour banner.

Normand Viger and his grandson at
the controls of Car 31 after safely
delivering the historic treasure to its
first tour stop.

Jack Coyle making some last minute
adjustments to Car 31's trolley pole rope.

Car 31 in place for the opening night reception event
at York Institute Museum (now Saco Museum) on Main
Street, Saco.

L-R - Mike Simonds securing Car 31's
trolley pole rope while Bob Hughes and
Henry Dickinson relax in the vestibule
prior to the reception celebrating the 
opening of the new exhibit;
You Could Get There From Here:
Life In Maine's Trolley Era.

L-R - Bob Hughes. Dick Howe, and O. R. Cummings relax
prior to the reception celebrating the opening of the new
exhibit; You Could Get There From Here:
Life In Maine's Trolley Era.

L-R - Bob Black, Mary Ellen Black, Judy Avy,
Helen Heffner at the reception celebrating the opening of the
new exhibit; You Could Get There From Here:
Life In Maine's Trolley Era.

L-R - Rick Michaud (Saco City Mgr.), Saco Mayor Bill
Johnson, Dyer Library Executive Director Marilyn Solvay, 
and Mrs. Johnson at the reception celebrating the opening of
the new exhibit; You Could Get There From Here:
Life In Maine's Trolley Era.

L-R - NEERHS (Seashore Trolley
Museum) Chairman of the Board Jim
Schantz and Dyer Library Association
Chairman of the Board, Jim Pate.

L-R - (unknown), Paul Kochs, Jim Schantz, Peter Folger,
Nancy Auclair, Lisa Roland, and Gary Jenness.

L-R -Jim Hamlin and Mike Simonds ready to take
Car 31 to Saco DPW for the night.

Mike Simonds finds that Car 31 almost
fits into the building at Saco DPW.

L-R - Jack Coyle and Mike Simonds on the roof of Car 31.
Jim Hamlin on the ground as they cover Car 31 with a 
tarp for a good night's rest. Busy days ahead.

L - Roger Tobin and Henry Dickinson (red hat) mingle with
visitors during the public opening event of the new exhibit at
York Institute Museum (now Saco Museum)

Bob Black shows visitors how Car 31 operates.

L-R - David Newton looks on as Bob
Black is interviewed "Live" for
broadcast on radio station WRED.

L-R - Tom Simonds holds his son's
hand while "Uncle Mike" (Simonds)
 demonstrates the new penny machine.
The squished penny has an image of
Car 31 :)

Uncle Mike (Simonds)
demonstrates to his nephew how a 
trolley farebox operates.

Al Deshaises entertains visitors
during the public opening celebration.

R - Scott Hooper explains to visitors
how Car 31 operated in Saco for
39 years.

L-R - Jim Pate holds his daughter.
Polly Bruns (Charles Seaward's daughter),
and Win Peck.

Bob Black at the controls. Models in authentic period dress
have a photo opp on Car 31.

Center - Tom Hardiman of York Institute Museum accepts
actual motorman's hat and hat badge from the B & S RR
from Foster Leavitt's great, granddaughters.

Car 31's car cards look great in this image :)

This blogger assists a young model as she steps off Car 31.

Scott Hooper talks with visitors on Car 31.

Then it's off to another stop.

Main Street Biddeford. Pepperell Bank was a major financial
contributor to the Museum in support of the Car 31 tour.

Mike Simonds directing traffic safely around Car 31
on Main Street Biddeford.

Part of the Car 31 team for the day. L-R - Charles Hammond,
John Arico, Mike Simonds, Normand Viger, and Roger

L-R - John Arico, Mike Simonds, and Charles Hammond.

Sometimes we positioned Car 31 so that it was close to being
in the same position as it was during operations. See image
below :)

Close :)

Rotary Club luncheon at Wonder Bar
Restaurant in Biddeford - notice
sign on the sidewalk :)

Display of Biddeford & Saco Railroad at the luncheon.

Center - Biddeford Mayor Donna Dion
handing out Seashore Trolley Museum
hats at the luncheon.

Center - Biddeford Mayor Donna Dion

Phil Morse and Mayon Dion enjoying a moment on Car 31.
Did John Arico snap this photo?

L-R - Phil Morse, Donna Dion, and Al Deshaises.
John Arico photo?

The current president with many past presidents of the
Rotary Club.

L-R - Henry Dickinson, Mike Simonds, and Jack Coyle.

L-R - Mike Simonds and Roger Tobin

On the road again.

See next image :)

Close :)

Alfred Street heading towards Five Points.

Alfred Street and approaching Five-Ponts in Biddeford and
what would have been a sharp turn right onto Elm Street
in order to head back to Main Street.

L - Gerry O'Regan R - David Newton just off Route One
in Biddeford.

Attempts to park Car 31 in the yard of
Harmon Museum at the top of the hill
(to the left out of this frame) were
unsuccessful, so with Jack Coyle on the
roof to keep wires clear, Car 31 travels
east as it did for 39 years, to the end of the
line in Old Orchard Beach.

The end of the line in Old Orchard Beach just before the
railroad crossing. Look at the building to the right.
Now, look at the next image :)

This image was taken on June 18, 1939.
It was this trip, on this day, on Car 31 during the
fan trip, that it was decided to buy Car 31.
Notice the building on the right :)

Same building in 1999 as in the image below.

June 18, 1939, of Car 31 during that fateful fan trip.

There are many postcards of trolleys park in OOB with this
point of view.

Light rain caused us to pack up and button up Car 31 and
leave a little early. Off to Biddeford DPW for the night.

The next day we started off in Biddeford at Shop & Save
(now Hannafords).

Car 31 meets up with an old friend from Seashore, 1967
General Motors "New Look" bus from Boston. From here
the two mass transit vehicles will leave and participate in the
LaKermesse Parade.

A picture I took  earlier in 1999 showing
rails of the Biddeford & Saco busting
up through the pavement.

Car 31 traveling down Elm Street to
Main Street, right over that rail :)

The rail can be seen breaking through
the yellow paint :)

Looking down Elm Street to the Main
Street intersection.

Car 31 turns the corner from Elm Street and enters Main
Street. The building seen on the left is now gone, but in
photos, film, postcards of trolleys turning this corner, just
like Car 31 is in this photo, the building was a butcher shop
at one point, with prices written in the windows.

Car 31 in the LaKermesse parade line.

Right - Gary Jenness hands out Trolley Museum info to
parade audience.

Car 31 on display at LaKermesse

A large number of visitors were expected. John Middleton at
the handbrake in the vestibule with Cecelia Clapp staffing
the table.

George Sanborn, Jay McMahon, Roger Tobin.

Right - John Middleton chats with visitors.

Left- Ben Yuscavitch chats with visitors.

Left - Jay McMahon in the vestibule.

Jay McMahon makes a new friend.

Roger "Fluffy" Tobin learns that this
cotton candy is his namesake.

Simonds' family reunion in
the vestibule of Car 31. L-R -
Brothers & Sister - Michael, Harvey,
Jacquelyn, and Thomas.

Henry Dickinson connecting
with visitors.

Night lights.

Henry Dickinson leads the packing up crew at the end of
the night.

The tarp is being removed from Car 31 as Mike Simonds,
Jack Coyle and Matt Whiton prepare Car 31 to leave
the safe confines of the Biddeford DPW and head home to

And like that, Car 31 returns safely home to Seashore
Trolley Museum.

What at trip! 

Gotta get back on the tracks! Only seven days until
the 60th Anniversary Celebration!

Heck of a way to start off the celebration on July 5!
"Hey, Mike!"

Yep, there are rails under there. Car 31 returned to the tracks
in relatively short order :)

R-L - Tom LaRoche at the controls with Robert Perkins as
they direct Car 31 with many happy visitors on July 5, 1999.
Happy 60th Anniversary!

Some of the operators from the anniversary weekend - 1999
I can name a few I think?  First Row; John Brinkloe,
John Mercurio, (John Middleton?), Ed Fenton, Burt Shaw, Tom LaRoche, (?).
Top Row; (?), Mark Sullivan, Bill Higginbotham, Gail Harrje,
(?), Bob Reich, Todd Brown, Rick Russell.

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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