Sunday, April 21, 2019

4th Anniversary of the Narcissus Project Blog 4-22-2019

The right side of Narcissus on 4-17-2019.
been installed in addition to the single posts. 
The new steel channel (seen underneath the
original) has had all the holes drilled and now
awaits the "new" vintage 37-foot southern
yellow pine side sill so that they can be attached
to the passenger compartment. PWM

     The Narcissus Project Blog released its first post on April 22, 2015. Thank you to Patricia Pierce Erikson for encouraging me, then helping me, to set up the original Narcissus project blog and post. This post will be the 195th for the blog! The blog has had more than 212,000 total page views to date.  That's an increase of 71,000 from a year ago. Originally, the statement of purpose was, "This blog will introduce readers to the Narcissus 1912 Project, the renovation of a vintage electric interurban railway car at the Seashore Trolley Museum." Since that first post, research has led to the Narcissus project blog posts to expand their scope to include many of the story-lines that are inexorably intertwined with the Narcissus. These story-lines include Theodore Roosevelt's connections in Maine, the Libbey family, and the communities served by the PLI. With the Narcissus being in the collection of Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, the content of some posts would include topics about the Maine Collection of railway vehicles at the Museum. In addition, this year, being the 80th Anniversary year for the Museum, some posts have been a nostalgic look back at the history of the Museum over the years. Then, it seemed only natural, that posts about other electric railway systems in Maine be included for readers to enjoy as Maine's Bicentennial approaches (2020). The expansion of the content of the posts has also broadened the base of readers that are drawn to the blog. This has broadened the base of support for the Narcissus :)

A "double" post on the right and a single post
on the left. The doubles each have a steel rod
that is threaded on each end and basically
help secure the roof to the body of the coach.

     During this past year of the Narcissus Project Blog, many exciting things have transpired. The single most significant is the major gift pledged last spring to the Narcissus Project from the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation. 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, scroll down any post until you come to the donation section or contact Phil Morse (cell-207-985-9723). Please help by making a donation Today:)

Let's update you on where we are with the major interpretation resources:

A photo showing a portion of the original hand-drawn map
of the elevation and grade of the Portland, Gray and
Lewiston Railroad prior to being delivered to NEDCC for
conservation work. PWM photo

Through the generosity of many donors during the following months, we had the necessary funds to cover the costs to have all the work on the map completed. Currently (April 2019), work has begun in Andover to conserve, repair, and photograph the map. We are so very grateful to Mr. Paul Libbey and to all the donors that have made this possible.
Here is the background: On November 15, 2017, I had the honor and pleasure to meet with Mr. Paul Libbey. Mr. Libbey, a nonagenarian, is the grandson of W. S. Libbey, Sr., and nephew to Harold Libbey. Paul Libbey was very generous and made a donation to the Museum of the original map of the elevation and grade of the right-of-way of the Portland, Gray & Lewiston Railroad (became Portland-Lewiston Interurban in 1914), that his uncle Harold had helped create. The map is 28.5 feet long and one continuous roll of paper. The map is extraordinary and was sorely in need of conservation. An appraisal of its condition and an estimate totaling $11,000 to professionally conserve, repair, and photograph the map was provided by the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover (MA) in May 2018.

We are still in need of the funds necessary to make perhaps the single largest resource of interpretation resources available to us for creating the necessary exhibits, displays, and educational offerings. It is essential to creating these interpretation programs that the conservation, repairs, and digitizing of the incredible contents of the PLI Employees Scrapbook be completed.

Cover-page of the large scrapbook created by Charles D. Heseltine,
using photos, newspaper clippings, original ephemera from the
Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI); including poetry, personal
cards, notes, and notations from employees and their families.
My understanding is that Heseltine passed the scrapbook on to
O. R. Cummings, who, in turn, passed it on to the New England
Electric Railway Historical Society's (NEERHS) Library.
Seashore Trolley Museum is owned and operated
by the NEERHS in Kennebunkport, ME

The Employees of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban Scrapbook. Starting in 1938, for four consecutive years prior to the U.S. entering WW ll, the former PLI employees and their families attended an annual reunion in Gray (ME). All were encouraged to submit PLI-related items to share with the gathered attendees. A scrapbook was made to hold these submitted items. This scrapbook is about 28-inches by 23-inches with 112 pages. More than 200 photographs, numerous newspaper clippings, hand-written notes, poems, PLI-related ephemera, etc., are attached to pages in the scrapbook. The contents are incredible. Flipping through the pages, looking at the photos, reading the poems, news clippings, personal notes, and cards, one can’t help but become sentimental, nostalgic, and grateful. Grateful to Charles Heseltine and those PLI employees and their family members that provided these personal keepsakes for inclusion in this amazing scrapbook. Charles Heseltine then entrusted the scrapbook to O. R. Cummings, who in turn entrusted the scrapbook to the Library at Seashore Trolley Museum. All items in the scrapbook have condition issues and need conservation. An appraisal of its contents condition and an estimate totaling $26,000 to professionally conserve, repair, and photograph the contents was provided by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover (MA). Due to the extreme fragile condition of the P, G, & L RR elevation map, our fundraising efforts first focused on having the conservation work done on the map. With that goal reached and the map now being conserved, we have turned our fundraising focus to raise the monies needed to repair, conserve, and photograph all the contents within this incredible scrapbook. Scroll down the page to find the options for contributing and please consider making a donation to help have this important work done.

The scrapbook has several pages dedicated to reunions of the
former PLI employees and their families. There are four
reunions specifically cataloged; June 29, 1938, June 29, 1939,
June 30, 1940, and June 28, 1941. All four of the reunions
were held in Gray, ME. 1938 and 1941 reunions were held
at the Newbegin Hall (seen above). The 1939 and 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 image above is from the
final annual reunion, 1941. Image from the Portland-Lewiston
Interurban Employees Scrapbook which is among the
collection of the NEERHS Library.

      The Narcissus "Project" from inception, has always included an interpretation portion of the project, which will include education programs, exhibits, and displays. During these years of my personal research of the PLI, Laconia Car Company, and Theodore Roosevelt's connections in Maine, it is quite clear that in order to create truly engaging exhibits, displays, and programs that provide educational content to a variety of age groups with various interests within the context that the Narcissus and its connections provide, the Scrapbook of the PLI Employees must have the above-mentioned work that it desperately needs to be done, completed. 

One of the 37-foot long belt-rail set up for repairs. Repairs
were made to the right side back in the late 40s-early-50s as
noted when first removed and the "Friend or Foe"
trading cards were found being used as shims. PWM

To hold the belt rail in place during restoration
work, special jigs were made to keep the
rail secure and straight. 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 update

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 or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5.

Online Donations - may be made by using a Credit Card: 
Click Here to make an online donation through the Museum's website - When at the Donation page: Fill in donor info, etc., when at "To which fund are you donating? Scroll down to "Other" and type in: 816-A Narcissus, then continue on filling in the required information.

Click Here for PayPal - to make an online donation: you can use email: and in the message box write:
For Narcissus fund 816-A

Donation of Securities ***** We also accept donations of
securities. You can contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5,
for brokerage account information for accepting donated securities.

BONUS ***** If you work for a company/corporation that will
"match" an employee's donation to an approved 501c3 non-profit
educational organization, please be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your employer so that your donation is matched :)

Questions? ***** Please contact Narcissus project manager:
Phil Morse, or call 207-985-9723 - cell.

Thank You :)

Thank You for our Current Funding Partners
20th Century Electric Railway Foundation - 2018 - Major Gift, 2017/2014 Matching Grants
Renaissance Charitable Foundation (LPCT) by Fiduciary Trust Charitable Giving Fund
Mass Bay RRE - 2018 Railroad Preservation Grant 
Thornton Academy (Saco, ME) - Staff & Alumni - Matching Grant Challenge 2014
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (Kennebunkport, ME) - Member Donations
Amherst Railway Society - 2015 Heritage Grant
National Railway Historical Society - 2016 & 2015 Heritage Preservation Grants
Enterprise Holding Foundation - 2015 Community Grant
Theodore Roosevelt Association - Member Donations
John Libby Family Association and Member Donations
* The Conley Family - In Memory of Scott Libbey 2018/2017/2016/2015
* The W. S. Libbey Family - Awalt, Conley, Graf, Holman, Libbey, McAvoy, McLaughlin, Meldrum, O'Halloran, Salto, - 2018/2017
* The Hughes Family 2017/2016/2010
New Gloucester Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Historical Society and Member Donations
Gray Public Library Association - Pat Barter Speaker Series
* LogMein - Matching Employee Donation
* IBM - Matching Employee/Retiree Donations
* Fidelity Charitable Grant - Matching Employee Donations
* Richard E. Erwin Grant - 2017/2016

The Narcissus, with interior back-lit, stained glass windows are majestic.
Make a donation today to help restore the interior of this Maine gem.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track! Once restored,
you will be able to ride in luxury on this National Register Treasure at
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
PWM photo

Please Consider Making a Donation to the project of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus. We are currently raising funds to tell the incredible story of this Maine gem.

Various News stories during the summer of 2015 about the
Narcissus and its connection to Theodore Roosevelt. TR
was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.

Click Here to See the list of All Previous Blog Posts - Index

The Narcissus - July 31, 2015. Make a donation today.
Help Theodore Roosevelt's Maine Ride get back on track!
Once restored, you will be able to ride in luxury on this
Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

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