Monday, August 20, 2018

Discovering "Nuggets" While Researching for Portland-Lewiston Interurban Materials

Employee Badge No. 233 belonged to Joseph R. Levigne.
Joe was a motorman for the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
and worked out of the Portland, Maine, station. 
Androscoggin Electric Company became the owner of the 
builder of the line, W. S. Libbey. Central Maine Power
acquired the Androscoggin Electric Company in 1920, 
thereby becoming the owner of the PLI and the
Narcissus. Among the collection of the Gray

     Research for materials related to the Portland-Lewiston Interurban took place over the past couple of weeks. This post will share some of the terrific "finds" during the search for materials that may be helpful in developing the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project. Finding materials that may help in telling this amazing Narcissus story with so many enduring storylines is paramount. The National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus is a most worthy conduit for connecting the general public to the various intriguing storylines.

     Organizations that were visited on-site, or via online, or responded to research inquiries in the past couple of weeks included; City Halls in Portland, Lewiston, and Auburn. Historical societies including; Androscoggin, Gray, Cumberland, New England Electric Railway, and Maine Historical. Other organizations included; Bates College Muskie Archives, Osher Map Library, Maine Archives & Museum, Cumberland County and Androscoggin County Registry of Deeds, and Penobscot Marine Museum. 

     It became apparent that there are railway collections (horse-drawn and electric) in Maine that could be resources for telling the very rich and colorful history of Maine's railway history. So, with Maine's Bicentennial year nearly upon us (2020), I've expanded the research to include identifying railway materials that will help tell a more of the story of the importance of the railway industry in Maine.

     Below is really just a glimpse of the wonderful findings in the past two weeks. We start by finding how a former motorman of the PLI, Forest Greenwood, has popped up again and this time sharing with us his amazing gifts of donations from 1964 to the gray Historical Society. More time will be spent in Gray to expand the search for PLI-related materials. 

In 1964, Forest Greenwood donated a number of PLI-related
items to the Gray Historical Society as seen in this donation
card with the list of items. Forest was a motorman for the
PLI and worked out of the Lewiston, Maine station. PWM

James and Robert Greenwood, sons of Forest Greenwood,
attended a public presentation about the PLI held at the
Lewiston (Maine) Public Library in April 2018.
Forest would become one of the early motorman volunteers
at Seashore Trolley Museum. James is holding his father's
trolley museum motorman hat with member number 301
 hat badge. Robert is holding his father's trolley museum
ticket punch and a strip of A & K Railway tickets.
Photo courtesy of John Mercurio

The image above is from the June 28, 1941 reunion of former PLI employees.
Forest Greenwood is standing near the middle, between two fellas wearing
white shirts and ties. Joseph Levigne is seated second from the left. There are
four reunions specifically cataloged on several pages, of a nearly
100-page PLI Employee Scrapbook; June 29, 1938, June 29, 1939,
June 30, 1940, and June 28, 1941. All four of the reunions were
held in Gray, ME. The 1938 and 1941 reunions were held at the
Newbegin Hall. The 1939 and the 1940 reunions were held at
the Pennell Institute Gymnasium. It is noted in newspaper articles
of the times, that combined, the total of former PLI employees and their
family members that attended each of the reunions in 1939 and 1940, well

exceeded 100 in attendance. The PLI operated a very short distance

behind the Newbegin Hall seen behind the group in this image.

Image from the PLI employees Scrapbook in the O.R. Cummings
Collection at the Library of Seashore Trolley Museum. PWM

The dedication plaque (1937)on the front of the Newbegin
Hall in August 2018. PWM

Newbegin Hall in Gray, Maine in August 2018. The PLI
operated through the backyard seen here on the left. PWM

Forest Greenwood's PLI Rules &
Regulation Handbook. Among the
collection at Gray Historical Society.
PWM

Forest Greenwood's PLI Rules & Regulation Handbook.
Among the collection at Gray Historical Society. PWM

Forest Greenwood's PLI Rules & Regulation Handbook.
Among the collection at Gray Historical Society. PWM

Merit System of Discipline in 
Forest Greenwood's PLI Rules &
Regulation Handbook. Among the
collection at Gray Historical Society.
PWM

Merit System of Discipline in 
Forest Greenwood's PLI Rules &
Regulation Handbook. Among the
collection at Gray Historical Society.
PWM

Merit System of Discipline in 
Forest Greenwood's PLI Rules &
Regulation Handbook. Among the
collection at Gray Historical Society.
PWM

Forest Greenwood's PLI Daily Inspection
Book. Among the collection at Gray
Historical Society. PWM

These original brass pieces from one of the
PLI interurbans will be very helpful to us
in restoring the Narcissus. We will borrow
these, create a 3-D drawing with exact
specifications that will then be used to
cast the brass components for use on
the Narcissus.  Where do they belong?
See below :) Among the collection
at Gray Historical Society.
PWM

Here is an image of the Gladiolus. One of the three
built in 1912 for the PLI. To enter the coach, one
uses the steps. To assist passengers in stepping
up into the doorway, there are vertical wooden
handrails on each side of the doorway. These
handrails are secured to the body of the coach
using the brass components that we need to
reproduce for use on the Narcissus. Image from
 O.R. Cummings Collection at the
Library of Seashore Trolley Museum.

The original "key" for operating the Narcissus! This lever
is positioned in the keyway of the controller in the
neutral position and depending on whether the motorman
needs to move the coach forward or reverse the key lever 
is moved into the forward position or the reverse position
prior to activating the electrical current by moving the
controller handle.

The original controller handle from the Arbutus. Another
sister coach to the Narcissus. This was donated to the
Gray Historical Society by Gertrude Libbey Anthony, daughter
of W. S. Libbey, the builder of the PLI. Among the collection
at Gray Historical Society. PWM

The original brake handle from the Arbutus. Another sister
coach to the Narcissus. This was donated to the
Gray Historical Society by Gertrude Libbey Anthony, daughter
of W. S. Libbey, the builder of the PLI. Among the collection
at Gray Historical Society. PWM

PLI conductor's ticket punch. Among the collection
at Gray Historical Society. PWM

Inside empty packet of school tickets for the
PLI. Among the collection at Gray Historical
Society. PWM

Cover of school ticket packet for the PLI.
Among the collection at Gray Historical Society.
PWM

     While I was in the Lewiston/Auburn area on Wednesday, August 15, I stopped into Orphan Annie's Antiques on Court Street in Auburn. It's located across the street from the Androscoggin Historical Society and the Registry of Deeds. The owner Danny is greatly interested in the Narcissus project and has now become a resource for me in finding items that will be useful in using in our interpretation plans for exhibits and displays. Thank you, Danny!

Beautiful Presidential Campaign button from
the 1900 winning ticket of William McKinley
and his Vice-Presidential candidate, Theodore
Roosevelt. McKinley was assassinated in
Buffalo, NY in September
1901, which led to Theodore Roosevelt becoming
President of the United States. Theodore

Inside the back of 1900  McKinley/Roosevelt
Presidential Campaign button.
 PWM

A newspaper story about the life of W. S. Libbey. W. S.
Libbeys' house seen in the center photograph is located in
Lewiston. See the image below. The newspaper is among the
collection of the Androscoggin Historical Society. PWM

The former family home of W. S. Libbey in Lewiston
as seen in August 2018. PWM 

1909 Deed showing the sale of a strip of property
to the Portland,  Gray & Lewiston Railroad with
a number of stipulations; including that if the
railroad was not completed or if it were
to be discontinued in the future, the property
would revert back to the original grantor or
his heirs. PWM

Colley Hill Road in Gray, ME. The PLI  crossed
the road part ways up the hill as seen in this
August 2018 image. It was in this  general area
where on August 18, 1914, a newspaper
accounting attests to the Narcissus traveling
at a very slow pace heading downhill around a
curve approaching the Gray station, a young girl
was standing next to the tracks with her mother
in hopes of catching a glimpse and  delivering
a gift to a special passenger on the Narcissus.
As the Narcissus slowly passed by,
the young girl tossed a bouquet of sweet peas
into the open doorway of the Narcissus. 
TR bolted from his seat to the doorway and
grasped up the bouquet in his hand as
the Narcissus continued on to the station.
This accounting generated an interest in 
creating a book that will expand on the
life of a young girl growing up in Gray
during the years of the PLI. PWM

Deed Showing that Charles Colley (Colley Hill above image)
sold a strip of land to the Portland Gray & Lewiston
Railroad (which would become the PLI). The strip
referred to would be in the image above where the PLI
would cross over Colley Hill Road. PWM

Conductors and motormen of the Lewiston Bath & Brunswick
Street Railway from 1900. The builder of this line was
State. The newspaper clipping is among the
collection of the Androscoggin Historical Society PWM

Conductors and motormen of the Lewiston Augusta, &
The newspaper clipping is among the
collection of the Androscoggin Historical Society PWM

To the right, in the center of this image at Monument Square in
Portland is where Middle Street used to be. That space is now
an open public area. The PLI interurbans from 1914 until
1993, used to cross Congress Street (seen here) from Preble
Street (on left) onto Middle Street (formally in center of this 
image), then onto Federal Street (just to the right of the taller
building in the background, turn left behind that building
onto Temple Street, then another left back onto Congress
Street where the coaches would discharge and board
passengers. Lewiston is where the PLI dispatcher's office
was located on the 2nd floor of the carhouse. And as a
coincidence was also on Middle Street. The Narcissus
may be on display for a day in July 2020, in Monument
Square during Portland's festivities celebrating
Maine's Bicentennial :) Image was taken
August 2018. PWM

Restoration work continues on the Narcissus. The Narcissus is more than 100 years old now and has so many incredible stories to share. The restoration is but one.

     The Narcissus is featured in the national Gold Award-winning novel, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride. The "Elegant Ride" is the Narcissus. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914, between Lewiston and Portland, Maine, during campaigning for the Progressive Party candidates. June 2020

Independent book publisher, Phil Morse, holding
the Gold Book Award Winner plaque for
 the Middle Reader category for The Eric
Hoffer Book Award. Congratulations to
award-winning Maine author,
Jean M. Flahive

     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 page

Books are available at these local bookstores in Maine:
The Book Review, Falmouth
The Bookworm, Gorham
Letterpress Books, Portland
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride
by Jean M. Flahive
Illustrations by Amy J. Gagnon

     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.
A resource for teachers 
Maine Historical Society has created companion lesson plans inspired by Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - These State-standard-based lesson plans for classroom use in grades 6, 7, and 8 are now completed. They will be uploaded to the Maine Memory Network and will be included with the other statewide lesson plans K-12. Once a link is available, it will be posted here. The lesson plans will also be uploaded and available through the Seashore Trolley Museum's website later in July 2020. Go to the Teacher Resource Page in the pulldown for more details.

The ebook is available through Amazon Kindle Click HERE

The audiobook is now available Click HERE to go to the Audible page.

2-minute, 30-second, Retail Audio Sample of the Audiobook 


Award-winning author, Jean M. Flahive


                                                  


Click Here to read the post - Coveted Blueink Starred Review  - Notable Book - January 20, 2020

Click Here to read the post - Three 5-Star Reviews from Readers' Favorite posted on January 6, 2020

Click Here to read January 24, 2020 - Four-Star Clarion 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

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.

     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)
Thank You!

MUST-READ! - Click Here 

   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. 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 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
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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