Monday, June 25, 2018

Collecting Oral Histories and Identifying Artifacts - Portland-Lewiston Interurban

These charming ladies all rode on the interurbans of
Portland-Lewiston Interurban when they were young girls
growing up in Gray, Maine. Two nonagenarians and one
centenarian. The interview took place on Saturday
morning, June 23, 2018, at the Gray Historical
Society. PWM photo.

      With the ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completed restoration of the 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 14, Narcissus set for the fall of 2021 at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, plans for creating the interpretation portion of the Narcissus project are a high priority. And no planning is more important than working to identify individuals that may be available to tell us, first-hand, what their experiences were growing up in a community that had the services of the interurbans of the PLI. 

      The PLI ceased operations June 28 of 1933, eighty-five years ago! During our spring series of public presentations in communities along the PLI, starting in Lewiston (Public Library), then on to West Falmouth (West Falmouth Baptist Church), and ending in West Cumberland (Recreation Hall), many people that attended had a personal interest in the interurban line. The right-of-way that the interurbans operated on may have gone through their property, they may have had a family member that worked for the PLI, or they might have an interest in learning more about their local history.

      This renewed interest in the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, especially in the communities that it served, has generated some opportunities for collecting first-hand accountings of riding the interurbans and for families to share some of their photographs and hand-me-down accountings of PLI-related stories.

      The first, of what we hope are many interviews to collect and record these accountings took place at the Gray Historical Society on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 10 am. Organized by the Gray Historical Society's President, Donald Whitney, three residents of Gray made themselves available to be interviewed. Last summer, Don had brought his aunt Elizabeth to visit the Narcissus at the Trolley Museum. Elizabeth grew up in South Gray. The PLI tracks were built through her family's farm, the Whitney Farm. That visit last year led us to connect with Don this spring to discuss the possibility of interviewing Elizabeth. As it turned out, we hit the trifecta! 

      Don was able to make arrangements to have his Aunt Elizabeth, and two peers join Elizabeth to be interviewed. Pictured in the image above, L-R, is Miriam Bisbee, Charlotte Verrill Frost, and Elizabeth Whitney Megguier. The ladies had family members and some family friends in attendance during the interview. An audio version of the interview was recorded and will be transcribed for the collection of the Gray Historical Society and for Seashore Trolley Museum.

      Jean Flahive was present and introduced to the ladies and the others in attendance. Jean is an award-winning Maine author who is in the midst of researching for a new book she is writing. The book will be an early reader's historical fiction chapter book about the Portland-Lewiston Interurban and will feature a young girl from Gray as the main character. The book will be released in time for Maine's Bicentennial in 2020. The proceeds from the sales of the book will benefit the Narcissus.

      Stay tuned for more details as we continue to collect stories and information.

Click Here for  the post on Clyde Walker Pierce, Jr. recalling "Racing" the High-Speed Interurbans

In the meantime, make plans to visit the Trolley Museum for the 4th Annual Teddy Roosevelt Days event.

A Fundraising Event to Benefit 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban,
No. 14, Narcissus. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the
Narcissus on August 18, 1914. The three-day event is hosted by
Seashore Trolley Museum.

2018 Teddy Roosevelt Days
three-day event  being held
Seashore Trolley Museum
Kennebunkport, Maine
July 20, 21, & 22
A Benefit Event For the Narcissus Project

The Friday Katahdin Expedition is SOLD OUT !

4th Annual Teddy Roosevelt Days Event at Seashore
      As in previous years, the fundraising event to benefit the Narcissus Project will kick off with a Friday activity that requires tickets to be purchased in advance for the limited-seating gala opening. The Friday activity will include a reception, trolley rides, guided tour of the Narcissus, presentations, raffles, a silent auction, and Theodore Roosevelt-related items for sale. All proceeds benefit the restoration and companion interpretation programs (Exhibits & Education Program Development) of the 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 14, Narcissus. 

Saturday and Sunday activities are open to the public with the purchase of general admission tickets to the Museum. 

Tickets for the Friday gala opening are available now to purchase online.
Tickets are $30 each. Click Here to Order Tickets Online Sold Out

 Full Schedule for the Weekend Event:

The Mount Katahdin Expedition
Friday Opening, July 20th, 2017 - 3pm-8pm Sold Out
Tickets to the Expedition are $30 Click Here to Order Tickets Online Sold Out

(Each ticket includes; an all-day Friday (July 20, 2018), general admission ticket to Seashore Trolley Museum, access to meet & greet reception with light refreshments, two drink tickets (beer/wine), one raffle ticket, and a silent auction bidder #)

Friday Opening Schedule - Prepaid tickets required for this opening activity: Sold Out
3 pm         Guest arrival, check in, silent auction preview
4 pm         Vintage Trolley Ride to Riverside Barn and walk to Town House Shop for Tour of 
                  Narcissus (currently under renovation) with Project Manager Phil Morse
5:30 pm    Reception at Exhibit Gallery, Visitor's Center with light refreshments (beer & wine) and                       silent auction (rare TR-related books, glass art, etc.) bidding ongoing
6 pm         Welcome & Opening Remarks: Mr. Phil Morse, Narcissus Project Manager, Seashore                          Trolley Museum - Introduction of each guest speaker  
* Presentation: Ms. Sheila Libby Alexander,  Board Member, Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum,       North Yarmouth, ME - History of Skyline Farm & Carriage Museum, How the Libby Sleigh was         acquired, and comments on the restoration of the art on the Sleigh by Conservator Nina Roth Wells.
* Presentation: Ms. Donna Davidge, Owner of  Sewall House Yoga Retreat, History of her great-           grandparents' National Historic Registry home and the Willliam Sewall-Theodore Roosevelt               families life-long friendship. 
7:15 pm    Raffle, Silent Auction closes
7:45 pm    Vintage Historic Trolley Car exclusive trolley ride along Seashore Trolley Museum's                            Heritage Main Line

Tickets for the Mount Katahdin Expedition are $30 Click Here to Order Tickets Online

Seating is limited for the Friday opening,  Sold Out

FMI contact  

Following the close of last year's Teddy Days opening night
gala activities, the early evening trolley rise was aboard the
beautifully restored 1901 CT Co. No. 303.
PWM photo

This Narcissus Blog post has details on both guest speakers below:
Donna Davidge from the Sewall House Yoga Retreat and
Sheila Libby Alexander from Skyline Farm & Carriage Museum

Speaker bio
Donna Davidge
Keenly interested in health and exploration, Donna (Amrita) Davidge is a highly experienced 500 E-RYT yoga teacher. She received her Masters in Nutrition in the late 70s, then acted and modeled (living in Europe from 1982-85) from the mid-80s into the early 90s. In 1985 Donna discovered Kundalini Yoga in New York City, practicing and studying this form as a powerful tool for healing and personal growth. Her teacher Ravi Singh encouraged her to begin teaching within a year. Pursuing yoga avidly, she became certified by 3HO and Yoga Alliance. She has been a full-time yoga and meditation teacher ever since and can be found in NYC during the winter months when she’s not at Sewall House. She has taught tens of thousands of hours in New York City in groups and privately, as well as workshops in the Northeast, Canada, Italy, and Costa Rica. Her first yoga teacher was Yogi Bhajan, who gave her the spiritual name Amrita (nectar) in the late 80s. She has studied Ashtanga with Eddie Stern since 1999, Dharma Mittra since 1999, and Iyengar with Genny Kapuler since 2004. She views yoga as a way to grow from within and study the physical and emotional marks our life has made on us. Her teacher Yogi Bhajan said happiness is our birthright so she explores ways to serve her students in a manner that can aid them in finding health and happiness in their own lives. Sewall House offered its first Yoga Teacher Training by request in 2009, with a small group of committed students. 

The Sewall House & Yoga Retreat in Island Falls, ME
Ms. Davidge purchased the Sewall House in 1997 to keep the
home in her family and to keep the legacy of her
great-grandfather's (William W. Sewall) life and love of
nature alive. PWM 

Theodore Roosevelt, William Windgate Sewall, and Wilmot Dow
ca March 1879 somewhere in Island Falls area
TRC 520.12.-016 Houghton Library, Harvard University

Speaker bio:
Sheila Libby Alexander
A Maine native from Yarmouth originally whose paternal Libby family relatives landed in Maine in 1637. A friend of Dorothy Plummer who donated the Libby Family Sleigh to Skyline Farm when Ken Sowles was putting the Carriage Museum together in North Yarmouth. A graduate from the University of Maine with a degree in History, with a Master's Degree in Library Sciences from Simmons College. Retired from a 36-year career at the Portland Public Library. Have been on the Board at Skyline for a number of years and in fact learned to ride there as a kid when Skyline was a riding stable and I'm still happily riding almost every day.

John Libby Family sleigh is seen here in a photo courtesy of
Skyline Farm and Carriage Museum in North Yarmouth,
Maine. The Libby Sleigh will be on display at Seashore
Trolley Museum during the 2018 Teddy Roosevelt Days
event to benefit the Narcissus on the weekend of
July 20-22, 2018

1) The John Libby Family Sleigh. John Libby was an early settler (the 1630s) in the Black Point area of Scarborough, Maine. W. S. Libbey, the builder of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, is a descendant of John Libby (as is this blogger :) This sleigh is described as an "Early Painted Sleigh" The original artwork on the back exterior panel is exquisite.  Ms. Alexander's presentation will include conservation of the beautifully painted scene on the back of the Libby Family Sleigh.


2) A wagon from the late 1800sTheodore Roosevelt visited Maine a number of times before his New England tour as President in 1902. His early visits to Maine included using horse-drawn transportation of the day. A passenger in a Stagecoach from Dexter to Greenville in 1872. Several trips in a wagon while visiting Island Falls in the company of Maine's William Sewall and William's nephew, Wilmot Dow during guided expeditions in the Maine woods in the summers of 1878 and 1879. Also, as a passenger in sleighs during his February 1879 visit to Island Falls. He escorted his fiance' in a pony-drawn buggy while they were visiting Mount Desert Island in 1880. As President, he was a rider in an open landau carriage pulled by horses in Portland during his August 1902 visit. You will learn more of these details over the weekend :)

95 The Lane
North Yarmouth, ME 04097

"Skyline Farm is a fabulous example of how historic preservation, land preservation, and adaptive reuse can come together to create a wonderful community resource." - Hillary Bassett; Executive Director of Greater Portland Landmarks

At Skyline Farm &Carriage Museum PWM

At Skyline Farm &
Carriage Museum PWM

At Skyline Farm & Carriage Museum PWM

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 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
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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