Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Portland-Lewiston Interurban No. 14, Narcissus - "Start to Finish"


The right side of the Narcissus sporting a couple of
replacement single window posts. PWM

     As 2019 rolls along, later in the year, on October 31st, the Narcissus will be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its arrival at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. The Narcissus is currently in the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop, in midst of a complete restoration to operating condition. Once the restoration is complete, the Narcissus will be on display for the visiting public, and for special occasions will be operated on the Museum's Heritage Electric Railway. The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebration is being planned for the fall of 2021.

     Scrolling down any of the Narcissus blog posts you will find the listing of the various generous organizations that have made donations to the Narcissus Project. Also listed are organizations whose members may have also contributed individually to the Narcissus Project. We are grateful for you all. Thank you!

     The Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc. (MassBayRRE) supports railroad preservation projects through two grant programs: The H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award and through their Mass Bay RRE Railroad Preservation Fund Grants. Through both of these programs, Mass Bay RRE has supported preservation projects at Seashore Trolley Museum over dozens of years. The Narcissus received funding for seat work through a Mass Bay RRE's Railroad Preservation Grant. I was asked to submit a two or three-page article to Mass Bay RRE for inclusion in their official publication, The Callboy.  The article would include an update on the progress of the Narcissus restoration and some historical background of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban and the Narcissus. That article was published in March 2019 issue of The Callboy.

     For those of you that know me, or know me through this blog, writing a two or three-page story about the Narcissus is really difficult for me. In part, my writing skills are ... well, if you read my posts, you know :) I am passionate about the Narcissus. There are sooo many incredible things about this project that can be written about. So, I took the three pages of the text from The Callboy article, tweaked it a bit, added some images and here it is.

     Thank you to Dave Brown at Mass Bay RRE for inviting me to submit a story for The Callboy and for the financial support for Railroad Preservation community by the Mass Bay RRE through their grant programs.

Portland-Lewiston Interurban No. 14, Narcissus - "Start to Finish"

     The Narcissus was built in 1912 in Laconia, New Hampshire at the Laconia Car Company Works for the Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad (PG&L), based in Lewiston, Maine. This luxury, high-speed, wooden electric interurban with its exquisite mahogany interior, resplendent in copious ornamental brass components including forty ornate leaded stained glass windows, its center ceiling panels embellished with gold leaf fleur-de-lis, with alternating red and green interlocking rubber tile on the floor and it was all appointed by the intrepid builder of the PG&L, W. Scott Libbey.


Interior of one of the Laconia-built PLI
interurbans. You can see the fleur-de-lis
in the corners of the center ceiling panels
and the interlocking rubber tile flooring.
Photo courtesy of Seashore Trolley
Museum 

     Libbey also personally named each of the original six coaches after his favorite flowers. The 46-foot coaches had green plush Mohair upholstered, reversible seats, and a smoking compartment with two, six-foot-long, leather-covered bench seats, making seating capacity 52 passengers. With its four-90hp Westinghouse motors, speeds in excess of 70 mph were reached from time to time.

     The short video below has the audio of Clyde Walker Pierce, Jr. talking about his experience with trolleys in southern Maine, and his recollection of "racing" the PLI interurbans with his automobile in the early 1930s.


Map from O.R.Cummings
1956 book, Portland-
Lewiston Interurban.


     The most famous passenger to ride in the Narcissus was Theodore Roosevelt. The former President was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914, while he campaigned for the Progressive Party candidates, during a trip from Lewiston to MapPortland.


Photo of Theodore Roosevelt on the number 2 end of the
Narcissus waving to residents of Gray on August 18, 1914.
Photo courtesy of Gray Historical Society

     The Narcissus operated between Lewiston, Maine, and Portland, Maine on a thirty-mile, private right-of-way, interurban line that was built to steam railroad specs. Construction of the line was seasonal from 1910 until finished in 1914. Operations commenced early in July 1914 and carried on until the line ceased operations late in June 1933. Just a few weeks prior to the opening of the line in 1914, the principal of the line, W. Scott Libbey, died. Within a couple of months, the management changed and so did the name of the line. It became the Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad. Best known as the Portland-Lewiston Interurban or simply, PLI.


The front page of the Lewiston Evening Journal, May 18, 1914.
Announcing the passing of W. S. Libbey, the extraordinary man that built,
what would become, the Portland-Lewiston Interurban.

     For interurban operations when exiting the northern end of the private right-of-way, arrangements were made to connect with the Lewiston, Augusts, & Waterville Street Railway at the junction of Minot Avenue, Fairview Avenue, and Old Portland Road in Auburn, with interurban cars being given trackage rights over street railway tracks from the junction to Union Square and the Portland, Gray, & Lewiston's carhouse on Middle Street, Lewiston.


Private PLI phone booth at Fairview
Junction in Auburn, where the conductors
on a PLI railway vehicle needed to use
the phone to call into the Dispatcher
to receive orders when entering and
exciting the PLI right-of-way. Photo
courtesy of Seashore Trolley Museum

     The dispatcher's office was in an office on the second floor of the carhouse in Lewiston. A telephone booth was at each of the right-of-way, where cars would stop, the conductor would then call into the dispatcher for orders when entering or exiting the ROW.


Dispatcher's office 2nd floor, the first
window on the left at the PLI
Lewiston carhouse. Photo courtesy
of Seashore Trolley Museum.

     Likewise, for operations when exiting or entering the southern end of the right-of-way, permission for the Portland, Gray, & Lewiston to connect with the Portland Railroad (PRR) at Morrill's Corner was granted in 1913. PRR built a branch off from its North Deering line to the interurban right-of-way at Allen and Goodrich Avenues. The PRR also built a double track line along Forest Avenue, from Woodford's Corner to Morrill's Corner, so that the interurbans could reach their terminal without interference either from or to city cars. 


Private PLI phone booth at Deering Junction in
Portland, where the conductors on a PLI railway
vehicle needed to use the phone to call into  the
 Dispatcher to receive orders when entering and
exciting the PLI right-of-way. Photo courtesy
of Seashore Trolley Museum

     Initially, in 1914, there were six interurbans; four built by Laconia; No. 10, Arbutus, No. 12, Gladiolus, No. 14, Narcissus, No. 16, Clematis; and two built by Wason Manufacturing in Springfield, MA; No. 18, Azalea, and No. 20, Magnolia. In 1915, for local service, two large traditional suburban coaches (Nos. 40 & 42, not named) with seating for 48, were built by Wason (no smoking compartment), and in 1920, Maine's Centennial year, an additional large Wason-built interurban with a smoking compartment, No. 22, Maine, was added.


No. 16 at the Laconia Car Company Works flatcar prior to
being shipped to Maine. Photo courtesy of Seashore Trolley
Museum.

     Over the nineteen years of operations, there were 7.3 million passengers carried on the PLI. At the end of service in 1933, all but one car were stripped of all mechanical and electrical components and their bodies put up for sale. The two Wason suburban coaches from 1915 were sold for storage use and later both bodies were acquired by Seashore Trolley Museum. (Both have since been scrapped). The body of No. 22, Maine was bought and placed in Lewiston and was used as a drinking/eating establishment for many years until it was scrapped. No. 10, Arbutus, was sold as a complete operating interurban to a daughter of W. Scott Libbey, Gertrude Libbey Anthony. She had the Arbutus moved to her home in Bay View, Saco, ME and placed on a short section of track as a memorial to her father until it too was scrapped in 1946.


No. 10, Arbutus on a trailer on its way to Gertrude Libbey
Anthony's home in Saco, Maine. Photo from the
Scrapbook of the Employees of the PLI, courtesy of
Seashore Trolley Museum.

     A few items from the Arbutus were saved and distributed to historical societies in Maine. Several of the stained glass windows and mahogany sash from the clerestory made their way to Branford Electric Railway Assoc. in New Haven, CT and were given to Seashore Trolley Museum in 2001 for use in the restoration of the Narcissus. The bodies of the Gladiolus, Clementis, Azalea, and Magnolia were all scrapped at some point.

Awaiting their fate in the railyard in Lewiston 1934.
Left to tight - No. 20, Magnolia, No. 14, Narcissus, &
No. 22, Maine. 


No. 22, Maine when a diner in Lewiston.
From O. R. Cummings 1967 book,
"Maine's Fastest Electric Railroad: Portland-Lewiston
Interurban"

     The body of the Narcissus was purchased by a fella who moved it to nearby Sabattus Pond (Lake) where he was going to try and make it into an eating establishment. That didn't transpire, so the body was resold to a neighbor, J. Henri Vallee, for $100. Henri had it moved to his lot at the lake and made the Narcissus his summer camp for the next 35 years.


Looking at the narrow doorway of the Number 1 end of the Narcissus. The
smoking compartment area is through the doorway, then on to the vestibule
of the # 1 end. The entrance to the attached kitchen/dining area is to the left,
out of sight from the angle this photo was taken. Date wrote on the back
of this photo, July 8, 1961. Left to Right - Venerand Paquette,
Billy Paquette, Rose Marie Paquette, J. Henri Vallee.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.


Narcissus was the Vallee family summer camp from 1934 until 1969.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

     Going back into the 1930s, the early Seashore Trolley Museum members were in hope of acquiring the complete Arbutus from Mrs. Anthony, but when the early members returned home after serving in WW II, they found that the Arbutus had been scrapped. The members then focused their attention on their second choice. To try and acquire the Narcissus.


No. 10, Arbutus, on display as a memorial to Gertrude
Libbey Anthony's father, W. Scott Libbey, the intrepid
builder of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. Photo
from the Scrapbook of the Employees of the PLI,
courtesy of Seashore Trolley Museum.

     O. R. Cummings published his first book on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban in 1956. This book certainly stirred the pot with Museum members and by the early 60s, they were in contact with Mr. Vallee to see if he would be open to negotiating to turn the Narcissus over to the Museum. By 1965, there was an understanding, in principle, that basically, if the Museum paid for a replacement home, Mr. Vallee would turn the Narcissus over to the Museum. These early years had the Museum members working on two fronts for the Narcissus. First, a group led by Bill Dox worked on raising funds and recruiting in-kind donations from contractors for building the replacement home, and secondly, as the Narcissus was a body-only, Museum members started searching in earnest for all the electrical and mechanical components needed to make the Narcissus stop and go. That was one long list. Many other components that would be needed for completing the project could be made or perhaps repurposed from other non-accessioned vehicles on the property.

     The two Balwin 79-25A trucks with each containing two Westinghouse 90-hp motors would be next to impossible to find. The search was on for funds, contractors and components.


     In 1965, with the assistance of Maine Governor, John H. Reed, a pair of Baldwin trucks with motors was obtained from Oshawa, Ontario, as a gift (a gesture of international goodwill) from the Canadian National Railways. Though not a match for the original trucks, they were considered a strong candidate for use by the Narcissus.

     O. R. Cummings published his second book on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban in 1967, "Maine's Fastest Electric Railroad: Portland-Lewiston Interurban." O. R. signed over the royalties of the book to the Narcissus (once his initial expenses were covered). Sales of this new, comprehensive, 90-page publication took off and the Narcissus fund began to grow steadily.

     Later in the 1960s, major electrical and mechanical components for use in the Narcissus restoration was either traded for from sister railway organizations or acquired from the Boston MTA Everett Shops when the MTA released obsolete parts they had in storage from the previous fifty years. A Westinghouse Multiple System - 8-unit switch box, reverser, two HL-15B Multiple Control System controllers, a compressor, resistors, and grids, etc., were all located for the Narcissus. As these parts arrived throughout those early years in the 60s, they were "stored" in the various storage area on campus. Finding and extracting them became a challenging treasure hunt fifty years later.


The Westinghouse Multiple System - 8-unit switch box that
will be refurbished for use in the Narcissus. PWM

One of two HL-15B
controllers that will be
refurbished for use in the
Narcissus. PWM

     Meanwhile, progress fundraising and enlisting contractors to help with the construction costs to build a replacement home for Mr. Vallee continued. Work on the replacement home started in 1968. The home was completed and the Narcissus loaded on a trailer and on October 31, 1969, the Narcissus arrived at Seashore Trolley Museum.

     Fifty years ago!


The Narcissus just before leaving for the Museum, with the
new replacement home for the Vallee family in the
background in Sabattus. Image courtesy of Danial Vallee.

     In my opinion, having the necessary funds available each year, over the many, many years that would be required to do all the work necessary in order to complete the restoration of the Narcissus has been the single most challenging task over the previous fifty years that the Museum has had the PLI survivor.


Seashore Trolley Museum, spring 1970, with the Narcissus
in the parking lot. PWM

    Once the Narcissus was on campus at the Museum, late in 1969, it took some years to build the restoration fund up to an amount of money adequate to where work could begin on the restoration. In the ensuing decades, once several thousands of dollars were available, the Narcissus would enter the restoration shop and have some work done. Once the money in the fund would run out, then the car would be removed from the shop for several years until adequate funds were replenished to an amount that would allow restoration work to carry on for another year or so. Over those many years, when the car was in the shop, meticulous notes were taken, sketches were made, and photographs were taken and added to the car's file. Many wooden components were removed, refinished, and some replica pieces were made and then stored. Best restoration practices of the time were followed with the work done on various components of the body. This carousel continued, basically each decade until the second decade in the 21st century.


Interior of a Narcissus vestibule clearly showing the white
paint covering the mahogany door and interior walls,
window sash, etc. June 1995. Courtesy Tom Hughes.




Narcissus as the tarp is about to be removed prior to
entering the shop. Courtesy Tom Hughes.

     That was then, this is now.

     The Museum volunteers and staff involved with the Narcissus Project embraced a plan that required breaking away from what had been the conventional procedure for conducting piecemeal restoration of the Narcissus based on financial resources, and instead, decided to start fresh. Basically, going back to square one, creating an outcome-driven plan with tasks identified and undertaken based on prioritized stages led by having few, if any assumptions of the condition of existing materials or components until a true, hands-on, assessment could determine the condition.

Undaunted by the Challenge Still Ahead

     With that in mind, in order to truly get to square one on the condition of the superstructure, it literally needed to be taken apart to be inspected properly. To look at the Narcissus in the restoration shop today, one would be hard-pressed to imagine "this" is the majestic Narcissus. The same Narcissus whose elegant interior mesmerized its passengers for nearly twenty years. Whose operators and passengers shared their stories of its beauty and speed with such passion that their stories have been retold and passed on for generations. Yet, what one sees in the shop is indeed the Narcissus.


Number 1 end and the left side of the Narcissus prior to
replacement window posts being installed. The new steel
channel is positioned and awaiting the vintage timber
southern yellow pine sill. PWM

Number 2 end and the left side of the Narcissus prior to
replacement window posts being installed. The new steel
channel is positioned and awaiting the vintage timber
southern yellow pine sill. PWM

     Extensive engineering preparation for the most challenging work to date on the Narcissus paid off in 2018 with the removal of the two thirty-seven-foot long southern yellow pine side sills with their steel channel. The two new steel channel ordered, primed, and delivered are in position. The left side channel has had the necessary holes drilled in preparation for being installed. The left side passenger compartment vertical ash window posts and columns are now being repaired or replaced as necessary. The tight side steel channel and vertical ash window posts and columns will have their turn soon. Replacement, old-growth, thirty-seven-foot-long southern yellow pine side sill timbers have not been located. The search continues as leads are identified.


Heidi is making cuts to
the interior of one of the
pieces needed to make a
double. PWM


A stack of double-window posts for the Narcissus. PWM

A stack of single window posts for the Narcissus. PWM

     Meanwhile, an inventory is being finalized for all the remaining brass components that will need to be cast. The order is expected to be placed in the next couple of months. In addition, colder weather conditions have volunteers and staff working inside on several projects in heated areas of the shop. Besides the above-mentioned window post work; work on the ten mahogany doors, dozens of pieces of various sizes of mahogany trim, and twenty-plus mahogany veneer panels that fit along the interior walls under the passenger windows is being done, to name a few projects. The punch list of tasks to tackle and complete is a long one.


Some of the brass components that will be used to
have additionals pieces cast. PWM


Two of the mahogany doors
for the Narcissus. PWM


Seth working on a mahogany sash for the
large leaded stained glass windows. PWM

Seth working on some of the dozens of small mahogany trim
pieces for the Narcissus. PWM

     The best way to follow the restoration work progress is by going to the Narcissus project blog www.narcissus1912.blogspot.com The blog was created for the purpose of connecting with a large number of folks, through the power of social media, to introduce them to and provide updates on the Narcissus Project, Theodore Roosevelt connection in Maine, Seashore Trolley Museum, and early electric railways in Maine.

     The next large undertaking for the Narcissus will be to build the set of trucks. Building trucks that have the same visual appearance as the originals, with operational integrity, and adequate power and speed for use by the Narcissus will be the largest single financial expense for the project. Costs are sure to exceed a quarter of a million dollars. The Baldwin trucks acquired in 1965 were joined by two other sets of trucks acquired 20 years ago or so, for potential use by the Narcissus and between them all, along with major engineering/fabrication, a pair of trucks will be built for use by the Narcissus.

A page from the report of
the condition of two of
the truck-sets available for use
in building a set of trucks for
the Narcissus. 

     In summary, on February 27, 2018, we received an email from 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation in CA, which included an RFP invite to submit an estimate; for the total costs associated with all aspects of work, materials, etc., with a timeline to complete the restoration of the Narcissus. Estimates did not include costs associated with creating/implementing interpretation materials/programs for exhibits, etc. We had thirty days to submit the request.

     A few weeks after we submitted our proposal to 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation, we were notified that the Foundation approved the major gift. This major gift to the Narcissus Project, when fully implemented, combined with previous funds raised, will be the financial catalyst that will propel the restoration of this National Register of Historic Places electric railway icon to completion. Arthur Jones and Joseph Brogan, the principals and founders of the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation, have truly honored the Narcissus with their Foundation's extraordinary gift.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completed restoration of the 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 14, Narcissus, will be in the fall of 2021 at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. We are still in need of funds for creating the interpretation programs that will tell this fascinating 100+-year-old story of the Narcissus. For information on donation options, go to the Narcissus project blog www.narcissus1912.blogspot.com and scroll down any post until you come to the donation section or contact Phil Morse p.morse31@gmail.com (cell-207-985-9723). Please help by making a donation Today:)


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 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
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.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Maine Bicentennial Series - Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway 1892-1931

Open car No. 9, built in 1892 for the Rockland, Thomaston,
& Camden Street Railway is at Oakland Park Station,
Rockport, circa 1902. Destination signed for Highlands &
Quarries with an unidentified open car on the line waiting
for No. 9 to depart. Eastern Illustrating and Publishing image
in the O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_207

Here is the newest release in the Maine Bicentennial series of electric railways in Maine. This blog post features the summary of the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Electric Railway in O. R. Cummings book, "Transportation Bulletin No. 6, Part 1. January 1952 -"Rockland, Thomaston & Camden Street Railway", issued by the Connecticut Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Additional photos will be credited accordingly.  O. R states that this book would not have possible without assistance by Charles E. Gregory.

Charles E. Gregory of Glen Cove, Maine, was an employee of the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway and its successors for nearly 55 years. Mr. Gregory was active around the carhouse and power station when they were constructed in 1892 and went to work as a motorman and conductor in 1893. He served as chief engineer of the powerhouse from 1903 to 1921 and was superintendent of the railway from 1921 until 1928. He resided across the street from the carhouse from 1903 until 1936. O. R dedicated this book to Mr. Gregory.

Open car No. 3 on the Rockland-Warren line, with Charles
E. Gregory, who furnished much of the information in O. R.'s
book, is seated on the front bench. Photo from Charles E.
Gregory in O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_128

This material is taken from a copy of Transportation Bulletins No. 6 book acquired by this blogger.

Click Here for the post: Ninety Communities in Maine had Electric Railway Service!
Click Here for the post: 57 Million Passengers Carried on Electric Railways in Maine in 1915!
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - History of the Portland Railroad 1860-1941
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - History of the Calais Street Railway 1894-1929
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - History of Aroostook Valley Railroad 1909-1946
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Fryeburg Horse Railroad 1887-1913
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - The Norway and Paris Street Railway 1894-1918
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Skowhegan & Norridgewock Railway 1894-1903
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Benton and Fairfield Railway 1898-1928
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - The Somerset Traction Company 1895-1928
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - The Fairfield and Shawmut Railway 1903-1927
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Waterville, Fairfield, & Oakland Rwy 1887-1937
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Trolleys to Augusta, Maine 1889-1932
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Rockland, South Thomaston, & St. George Rwy

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

Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway
     One of the medium-sized electric railway systems of the Pine Tree State during the heydey of the trolley was the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway, which from 1892 to 1931 connected the city of Rockland, at the south-westerly entrance  to Penobscot Bay, with its neighboring towns of Rockport, Camden, Thomaston, and Warren.

     Rockland was known for many years as the nations's chief producer of lime and is today one of Maine's important fishing ports, with lobster as the principal catch. In addition, it is the trading center and county seat of Knox County.

     Rockport, to the north of Rockland, shared in the latter's lime industry; and Camden, nestled at the foot of a range of mountains, has become a popular winter sports center. At Thomaston, on the St. George River, many ships were built during the days of sail, and in the village of Warren, to the northwest of Thomaston, Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, once lived.

     Transportation has always been of vital importance to the Penobscot Bay region, one of the favorite vacationland areas of Maine, and as early as the 1850s, a steamboat line was established between Rockland and Bangor, with Rockland as one of the way-stops. In 1872, the Knox & Lincoln  Railroad, later absorbed by the Maine Central, struggled northward from Bath to give Rockland its first rail connection with the outside world.

     The first steps toward the establishment of street railway service in the Rockland-Thomaston-Camden area were taken in 1889 when three separate companies:
          * Camden & Rockport Street Railway
          * Thomaston Street Railway
          * Rockland Street Railway
were chartered by the State Legislature. They did little more than secure the franchise from the communities they proposed to serve, and apparently made no progress toward actual construction.

     Control of the three companies was gained early in 1891 by two of the state's prominent traction promoters; George E. Macomber and J. Manchester Haynes, both of Augusta. On June 27th of that year, they organized the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Steet Railway. On February 13, 1892, this new company acquired by deed the franchise of its predecessors and shortly thereafter awarded a contract for construction of the road to Shaw & Ferguson of Boston. The Edison General Electric Company of New York was chosen to equip the power station and rolling stock.

From O. R. Cummingsbook, "Transportation
Bulletin No. 6, Part 1. January 1952  "Rockland,
Thomaston & Camden Street Railway"

Development of the System
     The first route to be built - approximately 10 miles long - began at the Maine Central Railroad wharf in Rockland, extended along Mechanic Street to South Maine Street and continued on Main Street and Camden Streets through the city and along the country road (now U. S. Route 1) through Rockport into the town of Camden. Construction began in April 1892, and on August 1st a certificate of safety was granted by the Railroad Commissioners of the State of Maine for the trackage from Rockland to Rockport, operation beginning the same day. Service to Camden did not commence until August 7th, nearly a week later, due to a projecting ledge between Rockport and Camden which had to be removed before the cars could pass by.

Construction of the spur to Oakland Park circa 1902.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_026

     Two extensions were opened in 1893, the first running through North Main and Maverick Streets in Rockland to Blackinton Corners and Rockland Highlands; and the second, from Main Street, Rockland, through Park Street and New County Road (Route 1) to Mill Creek in Thomaston. Operation over both lines began on July 7th. Freight service was inaugurated the same year.

Closed car No. 6 at Rockland Highlands. This car traveled 
the Lime Rock Quarries and Rockland Highlands line.
 O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_061

Looking West on the track on New County Road, Pleasant
Street towards Rockland. An unknown trolley in the distance.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_078

     During 1896, rails were laid on Sea Street (now Tillson Avenue) from Main Street to Tillson's Wharf in Rockland, and the line in Thomaston Village was extended from Mill Creek to Green Street.
A certificate of safety for the Tillson's Wharf trackage was granted on June 6th and for the Thomaston extension on June 15th. On September 14, 1897, another extension was opened - from the original terminus of the Rockland Highlands line at Rankin Street through Old County Road to a point near Lime Rock Street.

Open car No. 21 with (l-r) Harry Swift, the conductor,
Philip Lane, the motorman, and  Everett Humphrey,
a conductor.  O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_069

      The last extension of the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden was constructed in 1902 from Thomaston to the village of Warren, a distance of 4.43 miles, with operation beginning on July 8th. This route followed private -right-of-way for most of its length and paralleled the St. George River for the last two miles or so into Warren.

Open car No. 11 at the Warren waiting station leaving for
Rockport and Camden. The advertisement placard reads that
the Camden Band was playing at Oakland Park on Sunday,
August 16th, which would mean in 1903.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_101

Map from 2015 NEERHS book, "The Illustrated 
Atlas of Maine's Street & Electric Railways
1863-1946"

     A spur track, built in 1893 from Park Street along Union Street to Maine Central depot, was extended along Union Street and through Pleasant Street to South Main Street in 1903, formerly a loop for the use of the railways freight cars.

An open car on Union Street next to the Carleton House in
Rockland.  O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_017

Closed car No. 10 poses for a photo on the Oyster River trestle.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_089

Operations and Routes
     There were only two routes on the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Railway - the mainline from Camden through Rockport, and Rockland to Thomaston and Warren, and in Rockland from the Maine Central Wharf to the Highlands.


With the destination sign reading Rockport & Camden,
single-truck open car No. 17, built in 1893 originally
as a trailer, and later motorized, is filled to the brim.
Circa 1900 - O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_132

     During the best years of the road, the schedule called for half-hourly service between Camden and Thomaston and hourly service to Warren, with extra cars as needed. On the Rockland Highlands line, cars ran every hour.
Chart from O. R. Cummings
book, "Transportation
Bulletin No. 6, Part 1.
January 1952  "Rockland,
Thomaston & Camden Street
Railway"

     The line from Rockland to Camden was equipped with United States block signals, and there were telephones at nearly every siding and turnout between Camden and Warren.

                                                *                               *                             *
Carhouse
     The Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden's carhouse was located on Main Street at Glen Cove in Rockport and was a wooden affair, 140-feet long and 70-feet wide, with a single lead-in track from the mainline. Immediately inside its entrance was a transfer table, connecting the lead-in with the four barn tracks. Capacity was 12 single-truck cars.

Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway Powerhouse
and Carhouse on Main Street in Glen Cove, Rockport.
Circa 1892 - O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_107

     In later years, a two-track addition, also 140-feet in length, was built at the south side of the barn.
     A two-truck storage barn was located about 400 feet north of the main carhouse. This building was 85-feet long and 25-feet wide, big enough to house four, double-truck cars.

North storage carhouse
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_118

 *                               *                             *
Power
     The power station, of brick construction, was adjacent to the carhouse. The original equipment consisted of two 125-horsepower return tubular boilers, one 250-horsepower Corliss cross-compound condensing engine and two Edison 100-kilowatt bipolar 550-volt D.C. generators belted to a jack-shaft.

Early years inside the Powerstation - not dated.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_121

     In 1893, the year following the opening of the line, the power plant was enlarged by the addition of another boiler, a 500-horsepower Hamilton engine, two Thomson-Houston 50-kilowatt arc generators, and one Thomson-Houston 120-kilowatt 125-cycle A.C. generator. The traction company provided street lighting in Rockland and sold current for residential lighting in Rockport and Camden.
     The power and light business were expanded in 1901 when, on February 8th, the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway absorbed the Knox Gas & Electric Company of Rockland and Thomaston.
     In 1902, a 200-horsepower engine and another 120-kilowatt, 125-cycle generator were added to the equipment of the power station. In 1902 a fourth boiler and a 62-kilowatt railway generator were installed and in 1907, a 200-horsepower engine and a 300-kilowatt 125-cycle alternator were placed in service.

A look at a generator inside the Powerstation - not dated.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_123

     The two Thomson-Houston arc machines were replaced with a Brush 60-kilowatt arc generator in 1909. In 1910, the plant was further modernized with the changing of the old 125-cycle power to 60-cycle. New equipment included a 400-kilowatt 550-voltD.C. railway generator directly connected to a 700-horsepower reciprocating engine, and three 2,300-volt A.C. generators of 312, 210, 200-kilowatt capacity respectively, and driven through a line shaft by two additional reciprocating engines of 550 and 250-horsepower.
     A 33,000-volt three-phase high-tension power line was built from Augusta to Rockland in 1912, and in February 1913, the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden signed a 20-year contract to purchase its energy from the Central Maine Power Company. All power, both for the railway and for commercial purposes, was provided through the Central Maine service thereafter, the steam plant was retained for use only in the event of an emergency.

Switchboard in the powerhouse - not dated.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_122

     The 33,000-voltage received over the high-tension line was stepped down to 2,300 volts, single-phase, and three-phase, for general light and power distribution and for the railway power which was supplied by a 400-kilowatt motor-generator set. In addition, alternating current at 6,600-volts three-phase was transmitted to a substation of 450-kilowatt capacity at Rockland Heights, feeding quarries of the Rockland & Rockport Lime Company.
     The gas plant of the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway was located on the waterfront at Rockland and supplied that city only.
     There was a long wharf, 1,000-feet in length, at the rear of the carhouse, and here coal was unloaded from barges and hauled to the power station.

 *                               *                             *
Waiting Rooms
     The Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway catered to the comfort of its patrons by erecting a number of small waiting stations at various points on its system and by providing spacious waiting rooms in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland.
     In Camden, the waiting room was located in a company-owned building which also served as an electrical store and a dwelling for the resident electrician. the room had a capacity of 30 people.
     There were two waiting stations in Rockport, one of 20-persons capacity located in a former store, and the other a small building capable of holding 10 people at Highland Square. At Ballard Park, just below Rockport, and at Oakland Park, were open shelters.
     Waiting stations in Rockland were located at the junction of Waldo Avenue and Camden Street (capacity 10 people); in a store in the Rankin Block; in the company office building (100 people), and at the junction of Park and Union Streets (12 people).


Waiting station in Rockland.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_085

     At Thomaston  Village was a station of 20 person capacity. Another station was located at a point known as the "upper corner" at the junction of the road to South Warren.


Original waiting station in Thomaston 
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_086

     Still, other stations were located at Utopia Park, at Orchard Avenue, in Warren Village (20 people), at the State Prison in Thomaston and at Walker's Corner in Warren.


No. 10 approaching waiting shelter at Utopia Park, Warren.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_092

     On the Rockland Highlands line, there was a waiting station of 10-person capacity at the head of Lime Rock Street on Old County Road. Other stations were located at the south end of the line at South Maine and Mechanic Streets, and at Sherer's Lane in Highlands.


Waiting station at Old County Road and Sherer's Lane.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_064

 *                               *                             *
Siding and Turnouts
     Between Camden and Rockport Village there were no sidings, but there were two spurs to rock quarries. Leaving Rockport, there were two spurs to lime kilns; then came Ells siding, Highland Square siding and Ballard Park siding, located approximately one-half miles south of Ballard Park was Oakland Park, with a siding and a spur into the park.


Car No. 1, a 10-bench open built in 1892, sits at the Oakland
siding with Wickhan Whitey, conductor, and Sam Linicott,
motorman. O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_127

     From Oakland Park southward, there was a storage barn at Glen Cove, with a spur and a yard with several tracks. Then came the long siding in front of the carbarn; and continue into Rockland the next turnout was at Bay Point, first called the Bay Point siding for the Bay Point Hotel, and later renamed the Samoset siding when the hotel name was changed.


Downtown Rockland circa 1905.
 O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_047

     In Rockland, there were sidings at Maverick Square, at the Rankin Block on North Main Street and on Park Street at the old depot. Sidings in Thomaston were located at the Trotting Park and at the State Prison. There was a spur track at Mill Creek and another spur at the gravel pit in Warren. The last siding, O'Brien's, was near the gravel pit.


Open car No. 17 at the Thomaston Prison siding.
Destination reads Rockport & Camden. The advertising
placard for a Baseball game.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_087

Oakland Park
     During the early part of 1902, the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway purchased a large tract of land in Rockport, about a mile above Glen Cove, and created Oakland Park, said to be one of the finest street railway amusement centers in Maine.

Map of Oakland Park
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_067

     This park, with 72-acres, had big stone pillars guarding the entrance and set in them are many interesting relics, such as a cannonball of the War of 1812, stones of volcanic origin, etc., with much of the architecture favoring the Japanese in style, there was a casino, a large pine grove arranged with seats and a platform for speakers, an artificial pond, a baseball diamond, croquet lawns, and facilities for bathing and fishing, as well as for other forms of recreation usually found at amusement parks. Flower beds of brilliant colors added the necessary touches of refinement and beauty.

Entrance to Oakland Park
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_030

O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_037

     In later years, free motion pictures were shown at the casino. During the winter, the artificial pond was kept free of snow for skating parties. In summer, there were twilight baseball games, with local teams participating. Band concerts were held evenings and Sundays.

Dance Hall/Casino at Oakland Park
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_035

    During periods of heavy riding to the park, extras followed the regular Camden cars as far as the park station. Here they unloaded, changed ends, and returned to Rockland to await the next regular for Camden.
     No admission was charged to the park, the only cost to patrons being that for meals purchased at the restaurant. Everything else - band concerts, baseball games, etc. - was free.

 *                               *                             *
Rehabilitation
     A general program of rebuilding commenced in 1909 when the track between Rockland and Camden was raised and ballasted with broken stone. In 1910, some 28 new concrete culverts were constructed and 3,000 new ties were installed. The track was straightened and the grades were raised at several points. During 1911, over 2,500 feet of single track was regraded to conform to the grade of the state highway between Rockland and Camden. Seven more new concrete culverts were built and on the Warren line, three trestle bridges were filled.

     Only routine repairs were made in 1912, new ballast being placed and new ties installed where they were needed. On Main Street in Rockland, 1,750 feet of 80-pound T-rail was laid, and in Camden, 450 feet of rail, of the same weight was installed.


Looking North down Main Street towards the Empire Theatre.
 Circa 1915 - O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_054

     Siding facilities were increased in 1915, and a two-story frame building was erected in Camden for a waiting room, electrical store, and dwelling for the resident electrician.
     A parcel of land called Fales Field, near Maverick Square in Rockland, was purchased for sidings and track structures.
     In 1916, new sidings were built on Camden Street, Rockland; in Rockport for the Rockland & Rockport Lime Company, and in the same town for the Edward Bryant Company. On Park Street, Rockland, 450 feet of track was relaid with 85-pound "T"-rail. Some 2,000 new ties were used in the maintenance of track.

Accidents
     The first of two serious accidents on the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden occurred on August 12, 1911, when car no. 22, a double-truck semi-convertible, and car no. 17, a single-truck open, met head-on near O'Brien's siding in Warren. One person was killed and six were injured. No. 22 was running as a special, carrying a party of school children back to Warren after a day at Oakland Park, while No. 17 was the regular car. The collision was attributed to a misunderstanding of orders given by Valentine Chisholm, superintendent.
     The second mishap took place on January 10, 1920, at the YMCA curve, near the present town hall, in Rockport, and involved car No. 12, a double-truck semi-convertible.

No. 12 at Park Street in Rockland before it was wrecked in an
accident, January 1920. It was scrapped following the wreck.
 O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_075

     The car, en route to Rockland from Camden, hit the curve (on a downhill grade at a right angle) at such speed that the body left the trucks and rolled over onto the ground., killing the motorman and a woman passenger, and injuring nine others.
     Claims resulting from the mishap were rather high for those days, one woman receiving $5,000. The car was never used again.

The Knox County Electric Company
     Control of the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway changed hands in April 1914, a syndicate headed by former governor William T. Cobb taking over. On April 1, 1919, the name of the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden  Street Railway became the Knox County Electric Company.

     The Central Maine Power Company added the Knox County Electric Company to its rapidly growing utility system on April 26, 1920, actually taking over the property on May 1st. at the same time, the Central Maine Power Company absorbed the Androscoggin Electric company, owners of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (blogger note: home of the Narcissus, currently being restored at Seashore Trolley museum :), the Oxford Electric Company, and the Maine Railway, Light & Power Company, which controlled the Waterville, Fairfield, & Oakland Railway.

Rockport Bridge trestle built in 1921.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_024

Freight, Express, and Mail
     A freight and baggage car made two trips daily except Sunday, from Rockland to Camden, and one scheduled trip from Camden to Rockland (according to the 1915 timetable). There was one baggage, mail, and express car, that made three round trips on weekdays between Camden and Rockland, and one trip on Sundays from Rockland to Camden and back to the carhouse.

Baggage and Express car No. 12 was built in 1893 and was
sold to Norway & Paris Sr. Rwy. in 1900.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_140

     In addition, the street railway hauled lime rock from quarries at Rockport to kilns near the harbor in that town.
     There was an interchange track with the Lime Rock Railroad (a 12-mile freight-only line connecting quarries in Rockland Highlands with the lime kilns located on the waterfront) at Maverick Square, and connections with the Maine Central Railroad were made at the old Know & Lincoln depot on New County Road (on the Thomaston line) as well as at the Maine Central freight house off Union Street.

Combination car No. 12 passing by a quarry.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_079

     Mail was first carried by the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway in closed pouches, but later an "open mail" service was provided with letters and packages being sorted on a railway post office car between Rockland and Camden.

U. S. Mail Car No. 18.
O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_021

Fares
     In common with most street railway lines in the country, the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden charged a 5-cent fare in the beginning. It was increased to 6 cents in 1918 and to 7 cents in 1919.
     An overlapping fare zone system was operated, permitting a passenger to ride through one zone and part of the next for a single fare. There were six zones between Camden and Warren. On the line to Rockland Highlands, a single fare was charged, with free transfers being given to or from this route to or from points on the main line between old depot on New County Road and Maverick Square.

Fare Zone Map  from O. R. Cummings book, "Transportation
Bulletin No. 6, Part 1. January 1952  "Rockland, Thomaston
& Camden Street Railway"

     In 1924, the fare was raised to 10 cents, at which figure it remained until 1931.

Abandonment and Motorization
     The Warren line was discontinued on October 23, 1925, and a White 25-passenger bus was placed in operation between Thomaston and Warren under the name of the Northeastern Transportation Company. Later this bus was taken off and a 7-passenger sedan substituted. All operation on this line ceased April 10, 1927, and the sedan was sold.

1925 bus at Glen Cove carhouse, October 1925.
Photo by Charles E. Gregory in O. R. Cummings book,
"Transportation Bulletin No. 6, Part 1. January 1952 
"Rockland, Thomaston & Camden Street Railway"

     Street railway service to Rockland, Rockport, Camden, and Thomaston continued until April 1, 1931, when the mainline and the Rockland Highlands routes were motorized.
     At the same time of motorization, 19.82 miles of the route were in operation. Equipment in service included 8 passenger cars, a mail car, 2 freight cars, and 3 snow plows. Employees included 20 operators, 4 mechanics, 6 track workers, and 4 powerhouse attendants.

Officials of the Railway
     The first president of the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway was one of its founders, George E. Macomber, who served in that capacity from 1892 to 1914. He was succeeded in the presidency in the latter year by former Governor, William T. Cobb of Rockland, who remained in office until the Knox County Electric company, the Rockland, Thomaston, & Camden Street Railway's successor, was taken over by Central Maine Power Company in 1920.
     General managers of the company included Thomas D. Hawken who served from 1894 to 1914; President Cobb, from 1914 to 1918; and William C. Bird, from 1918 to 1920. At that time, the road came under the direction of H. P. Blodgett, local division manager for the Central Maine Power Company.
     Harry C. Weston was the first superintendent and was replaced in 1894 by Thomas D. Hawken. When Mr. Hawken was named as general manager, the superintendent's post was given to Valentine Chisholm who had formerly served as the carbarn electrician. He remained in this office until 1921 when he was succeeded by Charles E. Gregory.
    The last superintendent was Lynton O. Lane, Rockport, former freight department manager, who served from 1928 to 1931.

Main Street in Rockland at the Know Hotel. Note the U. S.
Flag with 42 stars. 43 stars on the U. S. Flags was official
starting on July 4, 1890, followed by 44 on Jul 10, 1890.
Trolley service started in Rockland in April 1892.
 O. R. Cummings Collection 2009_2_41_084

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 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
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.