Sunday, July 29, 2018

"Progress" Continues to Slowly Remove Remnants of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban

Circa 1920  - just to the right of the track is now the
end of the parking lot on the north end of Cole Farms
Restaurant in Gray on Route 202/100.
Scrapbook in the Collection of the Library at

     The Portland Lewiston Interurban (PLI) operations serving the communities between Lewiston, Maine and Portland, Maine, through Auburn, Danville, New Gloucester, Gray, West Cumberland, and West Falmouth, came to an end eighty-five years ago. Since 1933, the thirty miles of the PLI right-of-way (row) from Fairview Junction in Auburn to Deering Junction in Portland has been slipping away to the inevitable. Mother Nature and Progress. Yes, there are some vestiges remaining in the communities between Auburn and West Falmouth, former brick substations have been repurposed in Danville, Gray, and West Falmouth, and there are sections of the row that are clearly visible if one knows what to look for and where, but make no mistake, as time passes, those vestiges are seen more for what they are now and not for what they were. 

July 15, 2018 - the same overpass. PWM

      Starting with the years of its construction, 1910 through 1914, continuing during its nineteen years of service carrying more than seven million passengers, and ending in 1933, the Portland-Lewiston Interurban changed the communities it served. There is a story to tell, a story that is more than statistics; like passenger and mileage count, electrical output, tonnage carried by the freight service, or specifications of the vehicles that operated on the line. The PLI changed the lives of the people that lived in the communities served by the PLI. People that owned property the row passed through, people that were passengers, and the people that worked for the "The Finest and Fastest Electric Railroad in All of New England."

September 7, 2017 - the same overpass. PWM

    Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine is restoring the Narcissus. The Narcissus is the only surviving high-speed luxury interurban coach from the PLI. The Narcissus has been at Seashore Trolley Museum since 1969 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus, from Lewiston to Portland, on August 18, 1914. The Narcissus literally traveled on the remnants of the tracks that are pictured here in this bridge in Gray in this blog post.

November 15, 2017 - PWM

     The Narcissus restoration is expected to be completed in 2021. The funding for the restoration has been secured. Please scroll down this post to find the list of donors to the restoration portion of the project. The list contains the historical societies served by the PLI and members of those communities. Noteworthy, and deserving of particular attention is 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation in California and its principals, Arthur Jones and Joseph Brogan for previous matching grants since 2014 and a major gift that secured the funding to complete the restoration portion of the Narcissus project.

     The restored Narcissus will be the PLI time machine. At Seashore Trolley Museum, passengers will be able to enter the Narcissus, sit on the plush Mohair seats, take in the incredible luxury of the interior; its ceiling panels with gold leaf fleur-de-lis in each corner connected by ribbons of gold leaf. The forty ornamental leaded stained glass windows above the passenger windows inducing awe for passengers engulfed by an interior of mahogany walls with inlay of Holly-Ebony-Holly decorations. And be a passenger on this majestic icon of Maine's famous Portland-Lewiston Interurban as it travels along the Museum's heritage railway. Think of it. Take it in. 

November 15, 2017 - PWM

     But.....we need to do more. The Narcissus has a story to tell. A story that needs to be told. A story that deserves to be told. For the people that built the PLI. For the people that had the line built through their farmlands. For the People that worked for the PLI. The millions of people that traveled for so many different reasons on the line. For all those people whose lives and communities were changed by the PLI. The Narcissus can be the champion for the PLI. The Narcissus alone has the pedigree to be the common thread that connects all storylines inherent to the PLI. 

November 15, 2017 - PWM

      The interpretation portion of the Narcissus project includes the research, development, creation, and the implementation of a comprehensive plan to tell the story of the Narcissus. This interpretation plan may include educational programming, exhibit and display offerings, as well as outreach programs in a variety of formats, including on-site, off-site, social media, and online curriculum. Funding for this portion of the Narcissus project is now essential and the focus of our fundraising efforts. 

     We are very interested in hearing from you if you have artifacts, ephemera, family stories of the PLI, photographs, etc. We are still researching, collecting oral histories and looking to find pieces that help us tell the whole story. Email Phil Morse, Narcissus project manager: 

     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. Scroll down this post to see options for making a donation today :) 

November 15, 2017 - PWM

November 15, 2017 - This section has been removed as
of July 2018 - PWM

November 15, 2017 - This section has been removed as
of July 2018 - PWM

November 15, 2017
This section gone in 2018

From the parking lot on the north end of Cole Farms
Restaurant. November 15, 2017 - PWM

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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