Sunday, September 9, 2018

Portland Railroad - Munjoy Hill Revisited

If you are familiar with Portland, Maine, you recognize the historic
Portland Observatory on Munjoy Hill. Built in 1807, Portland Railroad
(PRR) trolleys, starting with the horse-drawn cars in 1864, were traveling
up Congress Street, past the Observatory to Atlantic Street. In 1890,
tracks were extended from Atlantic Street through Wilson and Beckett
Streets to Fort Allen Park along the Eastern Promenade. At the same time,
 a large brick carhouse was built at the corners of Beckett and Wilson
Streets. Electrification of all lines serviced by the PRR was complete by
1895. The focus of this photograph is actually the black metal pole in the
foreground. This pole is one of fifty PRR trolley line poles that are still in
place along Congress Street to Munjoy Hill from Franklin Street to
Vesper Street. These poles would each have a long metal arm extending
out over the street that would hold the wire that powered the electric
trolley cars and other railway equipment. September 3, 2018 - PWM

     Photo and research resources used in this blog post are courtesy of Seashore Trolley Museum's Library; specifically from the O. R. Cummings Collection and Phil Morse (PWM), and O. R. Cummings books, "Portland Railroad" Part 1, 1957, and Part 2, 1959.

     Monument Square in Portland, Maine was the hub for all the early horse-drawn and electric railway systems running into and out of Portland. This blog features the high-speed, luxury interurban, No. 14, Narcissus of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI) that is now being restored at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. The Narcissus and nine other Maine vehicles used on electric railways have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. Though we are deep into the research of information and materials related to the PLI and the Narcissus for use in creating the interpretation portion of the Narcissus project, it's too hard to resist posting other interesting electric railway tidbits from Maine's transportation history. With that in mind,  from 1914 until 1933, the Narcissus, as a PLI interurban, did operate into and out of Monument Square to pick up and discharge passengers. As we approach Maine's Bicentennial year (2020), this blog will release posts that relate to many electric railway operations throughout the State of Maine. One of the first in the series will be a more comprehensive look at the Portland Railroad. The 470 Railroad Club in Portland will host a public presentation on the history of the Portland Railroad beginning at 7pm on October 17, 2018, at 75 State Street, Portland, Maine; entrance to the meeting hall is on Gray Street between Gray & Park Street.

     This blog post is one that will be a bit of teaser towards that presentation at the 470 Railroad Club next month and will show a few images of the Portland Railroad system in the Munjoy Hill/Eastern Promenade area. 

     Click Here to go to the post: Maine Bicentennial - Portland Railroad - A History of Public Transportation 1860-1941
     Click Here to go to the post: Portland Railroad - Westbrook, Gorham & So. Windham Revisited
     Click Here to go to the post: Portland Railroad - Forest Avenue to Riverton Park Revisited
     Click Here to go to the post: Portland Railroad - Congress Street Revisited: Monument Sq.-Union 
     Click Here to go to the post: Portland Railroad - South Portland & Cape Elizabeth Revisited
     Click Here to go to the post: Portland Railroad: Trolleys Through Scarborough, Maine

The original ornate cap is still on the top of the
former PRR trolley line pole on Congress
Street near the Portland Observatory.
September 3, 2018 - PWM

Of the fifty former PRR trolley line poles
along Congress Street to Munjoy Hill
from Franklin Street to Vesper Street, about
thirty-two either have had their tops
repurposed for use as a streetlight or are
missing their ornate cap.
September 3, 2018 - PWM

A tribute/memorial to the Portland Railroad is in 
Congress Street at the top of Munjoy Hill in Portland, Maine.
September 3, 2018 -PWM

The big brick PRR Beckett Street Carhouse was built in 1890. Horses and trolley cars were originally housed here.
Courtesy Seashore Trolley Museum Library:
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_30_002

The PRR Beckett Street carhouse has an electric trolley peeking out from one of the doorways.
Courtesy Seashore Trolley Museum Library:
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_30_003

The 1916 Schematic of the PRR Beckett Street Carhouse 
shows where the footprint took most of the block
enclosed by Beckett, Wilson, Vesper, and Moody Streets.
Courtesy Seashore Trolley Museum Library:
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_30_001

Today, the footprint of the PRR Beckett
Street carhouse is nonexistent. The line
in the image above named Adams School Path
is where Beckett Street used to pass
through the property.
Screenshot from Google Maps.

Beckett Street (sign on left) used to continue across Moody
Street and then through what is now residential housing.
August 31, 2018 - PWM

Corner of Moody and Vesper Streets is seen here as new
residential housing on the right. August 31, 2018 - PWM

Where Vesper Street connects with the Eastern Promenade.
Courtesy Seashore Trolley Museum Library:
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_35_026

Today, where Vesper Street connects with the Eastern
Promenade. Screenshot of Google Maps.

No. 104 was purchased in 1895 from the J. G. Brill Co.,
Philadelphia, PA for use on the St. John Street Division
of the Portland Railroad. The photo was taken from about 62
Eastern Promenade looking towards Morning Street.
Courtesy Seashore Trolley Museum Library:
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_35_024

This photo was taken from about 62 Eastern Promenade.
September 1, 2018 - PWM
Courtesy Seashore Trolley Museum Library:
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_35_021

Munjoy Hill to the Eastern Promenade and Fort Allen.
At about where 62 Eastern Promenade is today.

Postcard postmarked June 29, 1905 - From PWM Collection.

This photo was taken from about where 62 Eastern Promenade
is today. September 1, 2018 - 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment