Sunday, June 9, 2019

Conserved! January 1910 Original 28-foot-long PGLRR Map

Senior Conservator, Luana Maekawa, with her right arm 
blocking her face as she and her colleagues at Northeast
Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in Andover, MA,
unroll the original January 1910, 28.5-foot-long elevation and
(which would become the Portland-Lewiston Interurban in
July 1914) during one of the many steps in cleaning,
repairing, conserving, photographing, and making a
full-size facsimile. NEDCC staff left to right:
Monique Fischer-Senior Photograph Conservator,
Luana Maekawa-Senior Conservator, Audrey Jawando-
Assistant Conservator, Kathryn "Katie" Boodle-Associate
Conservator, Suzanne Martin Gramly-Senior Conservator, 
and Amanda Maloney-Associate Photograph & Paper
Conservator. Photo by Tim Gurczak, NEDCC Collection
Photographer

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). This incredible map was created by the surveyors after they completed their task of surveying the approximately thirty-mile stretch between Auburn and North Deering in Portland during 1907 & 1908, in preparation for then acquiring property for a right-of-way for the construction of the high-speed electric interurban railroad that would connect the twin cities of Auburn and Lewiston to Portland. We are so very grateful to Paul Libbey for making the donation of this precious, historic railway map to Seashore Trolley Museum....here is the rest of the story...enjoy :)

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 in 2019. PWM photo

Once the map was in hand, with its outer layers extremely fragile condition, any further examination as to its overall length or inner rolls condition was negated. It needed to be placed in the hands of professional archivists/conservators for assessment. I reached out to Dugan Murphy, Executive Director of Maine Archives & Museum, for his suggestions concerning prospective conservators to assess the condition of the map and to provide estimates for having the work done. As a member of MAP, Dugan shared with me the listserve link to all individuals and organizations that provide such services. Michael Lee, Director of Paper & Photograph Conservation at NEDCC was on the list. I personally had not worked with NEDCC, but I knew that Seashore Trolley Museum's Library volunteer, Amber Tatnall, had some experience with the organization. I reached out to Amber and Library Committee members, Randy Leclair and Karen Dooks to discuss next steps.

I contacted Michael Lee via email with an inquiry about having the map assessed for conservation and an estimate for work and also having the Scrapbook of the Employees of the PLI reunions assessed as well. Michael replied NEDCC would be happy to provide the service for the map and referred me to Mary Brogan, Director of Book Conservation at NEDCC, for arrangements to have the Scrapbook assessed. We were able to coordinate a day and time for the two NEDCC departments to meet with me, Amber Tatnall, and Randy Leclair for the team members at NEDCC to have an initial view of the two artifacts. We traveled to Andover, MA to NEDCC on May 7.

I knew immediately that I was going to enjoy visiting the
NEDCC during my first trip there, when I saw this station at
the end of the parking lot at the Andover Landing facility :)
PM photo

NEDCC - Andover, MA
PWM photo

The various NEDCC department leaders and staff were very excited to examine the two historic railway artifacts. Many questions were asked. In regards to the map, very few answers were known. With the condition of the outer layers and having only anecdotal comments pertaining to the provenance concerning the map, we were left with many questions unanswered. We left the two precious items with the team for them to conduct their assessments and to generate estimates.

  A couple weeks later, I returned to Andover to retrieve the items and the estimates. The NEDCC team were able to successfully unroll the map, assesses, and carefully reroll the map using a protective layer of archival material that would allow for safe short-term storage and would allow for a safe unrolling when the time came for it to have conservation work.

NEDCC "Condition on Receipt"
The map was received rolled and partially flattened, resulting in regular, almost pleated planar distortions. The distortion was so pronounced and strong that the exact length of the map could not be precisely measured. The left side of the map was outermost when rolled and was the most damaged: a large loss 9" x 16" at the lower left corner, other smaller breaks, and losses along the bottom edge that extended for another 40" and numerous large and small breaks and losses in the paper. The bottom edge of the paper was generally tattered with many small tears, losses, and folds. Three very small edge sections were detached. There was also a 54" wide tear 2" up from the bottom edge of the paper that began approximately145" from the left edge of the map. The map had been exposed to moisture, resulting in water stains, numerous mold stains of various colors, and areas where the paper adhered to itself and resulted in some skinning or small losses. There was also surface dirt and embedded mud that was especially heavy at the ends of the map but also appeared as small heavy deposits scattered throughout the map. Testing revealed that none of the media were sensitive to water or a mixture of water and alcohol.

The assessment included that the map is approximately28.5 feet long and one continuous roll of paper. Seriously! The outer section of the rolled up extraordinary map was clearly torn and missing some amount of material and was sorely in need of conservation. An appraisal of its condition and an estimate totaling $11,000 to professionally clean, repair, conserve, and photograph the map was provided by NEDCC. Having high-resolution digital files available would allow for further research of the line to be conducted as well as having the files for use in creating displays, exhibits, and online education programs. Very exciting possibilities. Fundraising to help cover these costs became a high priority. Through the generosity of many donors during the following months, we had the necessary funds to have all the work on the map completed. Thank you :)

Later in April 2019, work began in Andover to clean, repair, conserve, and photograph the map. During the first week in May, I received an email from Luana Maekawa, Senior Conservator at NEDCC, letting me know that the map project was nearing completion. She believed we would be very pleased with the results, and asked where the original would be stored? She went on to ask if we had considered having a facsimile made from the original 28.5-foot map? She referred me to NEDCC's Director of Imaging Services, Terrance D'Ambrosio, to discuss the details of having full-size facsimile created.

I had met Terrance during the first trip to NEDCC in May 2018 to have the map and the Scrapbook of the Employees of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban assessed initially. Terrance had overseen the photography of the map undergoing its conservation. He was thrilled with the photographs and the based on the exceptional results of the conservation of the map, expressed his confidence that the results of having a life-size facsimile created would be incredible. He went on to say that quality, clarity, color, and details of the facsimile would be amazing for research and for public display purposes. Terrance had me at life-size facsimile :) I authorized the additional cost for having the facsimile made.

I made the trek to Andover on June 5, 2019, to retrieve the conserved map, facsimile, and digital files.
Me, Narcissus Project manager, Phil
Morse, June 5, 2019, reacting when I
first-see a title and date on the newly
cleaned, conserved map of the
Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad
(on the right). The full-size facsimile
of the map is on the left. Photo -
Tim Gurczak - NEDCC
Collections Photographer

Title and date of the historic map were written on the back
of the map on the "Auburn" end. The print can be seen
through the protective backing that the NEDCC team
applied. "Profile of the Portland Gray & Lewiston RR
January 1910" - PWM photo

Left-right, Phil Morse, Narcissus Project manager,
Luana Maekawa, NEDCC Senior Conservator, and 
Terrance D'Ambrosio, NEDCC Director of Imaging
Services study the facsimile map of the PG&LRR
that was created from the original conserved map. 
Photo - Tim Gurczak - NEDCC Collections Photographer

          Having the date of the map be January 1910 is an important clue for us to use in tracing the provenance of the map. The details are now clearly visible on the map indicate that the surveyors of the land for the approximately, thirty-mile right-of-way for the proposed construction of a new high-speed electric railroad between Auburn and North Deering in Portland created this map using their data of town lines, elevation, grade, existing roads, waterways, etc. We know from the local newspaper reports that on October 30, 1907, the initial survey of the land for the proposed line was completed as far as Gray. The brief statement in the paper does not indicate specifically from which approach to Gray was completed. Based on the starting point and key placement on the map being at the Auburn end, for now, we will consider the surveyors completed the section from Auburn to Gray first. 
The "key" to the map is at the "Auburn" end of the map.
Image is of the facsimile map. Quality of this "copy"
is incredible...seriously. "Surface Line" is black in color,
"Banks by road" is a light gray in color, and the "Grade Line"
is red in color. PWM photo.

"0" on the map is where the survey data begins. 
The text denoting the starting point reads:
"McFalls Div LA&W RR Track 337.50"
Mechanic Falls Division of the Lewiston, Augusta &
Waterville Railway was the electric railway system
that would be used by the interurbans to travel through
Auburn to the Interurban station that would be built
on Middle Street in Lewiston. "Track 337.50" refers
to the elevation of the track at this point - PWM photo

A 1944 Army Corp of Engineers map
titled "Portland West-Maine" shows the
former roadbed of the PLI. The red line
shows the approximate loss of paper
from the outer portion of the original
PG&LRR map conserved by NEDCC.
The loss is from about Blackstrap
Road to the end of the right-of-way
at Deering Junction. PWM photo.

     Here is the NEDCC "Treatment Performed" -
A written record of treatment was provided. Surface soil was reduced using dry cleaning techniques as possible. After confirming that the media would permit aqueous treatment, the object was humidified and washed with filtered water/alcohol to clean the paper and reduce staining, discoloration, and acidity. The object was lined to mend tears, fill losses and for additional support, with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste and methyl cellulose. It was flattened by stretch-drying on a board and rolled onto an archival tube for storage purposes. The rolled map was covered with a Melinex sheet and fastened with two cotton-twilled tapes. The object was housed in an archival Tube Box.

Here is the pictorial of the conservation process and early next steps. Please don't mistake that the steps seen in the pictorial happened, in short-order because you are able to easily and quickly scroll down through the steps and process. The degree of difficulty working through each of the steps to process this delicate, yet physically challenging to handle, due to its length, paper map, cannot be properly expressed or detailed by these stunning images that capture a single moment of what must be at times, very, very, challenging work taking place over many long days. The staff at NEDCC did an absolutely incredible job conserving this historic, one-of-a-kind, electric railway artifact! NEDCC shared with me that this was one of the longest documents they had ever conserved! And that it was an honor for all the staff members to work with this precious resource. How very exciting for us to experience their skilled results!
* Note from Phil - after releasing this post, if I should find I have misnamed someone in the captions, or I have the steps out of sequence or need to make other corrections in my wording of the steps/process...I will make the needed corrections as they are brought to my attention - PWM

The preparation for washing begins with Luana Maekawa,
Senior Conservator starting to unroll the map between strips of
polyester film for support. The map will be immersed in a
water/alcohol bath while rolled. Suzanne Gramly, Senior
Conservator is seen in the background preparing materials
that will be used during the process. All NEDCC photos
are by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Luana and Terra during the first phase of preparing the lining.
Japanese paper is brushed onto a polyester fabric that has been
pasted onto supporting melamine boards
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Terra Huber (l), Conservator, working with Suzanne Gramly,
Senior Conservator (with Luana Maekawa, Senior
Conservator in the background) as they paste the lining paper.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Then the newly washed map is rolled out onto the lining
using a stable, temporary protective liner. (l-r) Monique,
Luana, Audrey, Kathyrn "Katie" Boodle, Associate
Conservator, Suzanne, and Amanda. Photo by Tim Gurczak,
Collections Photographer.

Then the map is laid on the pasted lining of Japanese paper.
In the foreground is Katie Boodle making final adjustments.
(l-r)-In the background, Amanda, Suzanne, Monique, Luana,
and Audrey all prepping for the lining.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Audrey smoothing out the map on the Japanese paper lining.
This step helps to mend tears, fills loses and provides
additional support to the fragile railway artifact. In the
background, l-r, Amanda, Suzanne, (then unsure, barely
see the back of someone's head ...Katie?), Monique, & Luana. 
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Luana replacing a segment of the edge with Audrey Jawando,
Assistant Conservator, providing a stabilizing pair of hands
to the main document during the reunification.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Suzanne Gramly, Senior Conservator spraying various
segments of the map that were not attached to the main
document prior to laying on the lining paper.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Natalia, Suzanne, and Monique Fischer-Senior Photograph
Conservator working to align tears or segments to the
main document. Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections
Photographer.

Amanda Maloney, Associate Photograph & Paper Conservator,
painstakingly locates and sets aside individual map pieces.
These pieces were washed and examined for
identifying marks that will lead the conservators to where
the piece may be rejoined to the main document. In the
background is Natalia Paskova, Assitant Conservator.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Amada and Natalia. Hmmm, probably the largest puzzle
they have ever worked with :)
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

After one week of drying, Suzanne and Luana are now rolling
the lined map so the removal of the fabric process can begin.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Luana and Suzanne unroll the fabric with the map still
adhered to the fabric is turned upside down so that the fabric
can be removed.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Luana removing the fabric once the stretch drying process 
was completed.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Fortunately, the handwritten title and date of the map that
is on the back side can be read through the lining :)
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Luana aligning a straight edge in preparation for cutting the
border of the lined map.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Luana removing the excess lining from the border of the lined
map. Nearing the final stage of the conservation where the
map will be rolled onto an archival tube.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

David Joyall, Senior Collections Photographer with Katelyn
Legacy, Collections Photographer, unroll the now
conserved original map in preparation for it to be
photographed in order to make a facsimile of the map.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

David watching the facsimile exiting the Epson printer.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

David at the far end starting to roll up the facsimile while
Amelia Murphy, Collections Photographer, and Katelyn hold
the reproduction map steady during the process.
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

Which brings us back to June 5, 2019, at NEDCC with Luana
and Terrance as I accept the finished products
generated by the collaboration by these wonderfully skilled
professional colleagues at NEDCC. 
Photo by Tim Gurczak, Collections Photographer.

     On Thursday, June 6, I delivered the rolled map, covered with a Melinex sheet and fastened with two cotton-twilled tapes, housed in an archival Tube Box, to Amber Tatnall at the Library of the York County Community College in Wells, Maine. There the original map will be temporarily kept in a safe controlled environment for the Museum Library, while work is being done at the Museum Library. The map will be permanently located at the Museum Library when the Library facilities are prepared to accept the piece.

On Friday, June 7, I visited with Paul R. Libbey. Paul is
a nonagenarian and is president of a fabric manufacturing
company in Lewiston. He still goes to work every day in the
mill building that his grandfather, W. S. Libbey (builder of the
Portland, Gray & Lewiston Railroad (which became the 
Portland-Lewiston Interurban in July 1914) bought in the
late 1800s. Paul donated the original PG&LRR map to 
Seashore Trolley Museum late in 2017. I wanted Paul to be
one of the first to see the beautiful facsimile of the map.
Paul was extremely pleased and very impressed with the
quality of work done by the staff at NEDCC in preserving
this amazing piece of electric railway history.

Saturday, June 8, the
held an open house.
They have many important
artifacts in their extensive
Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Collection. PWM

And it was at the open house at the Gray Historical Society
 that Tom Blake, archivist for the New Gloucester Historical
Society and I would meet yesterday (Saturday, June 8) so that
he could take a look at the wonderful facsimile map and so
I could hand over a memory stick to him which contained
copies of the fifteen, high-resolution files of the original map.
Tom is a surveyor with the Nadeau Land Surveys: Portland
Maine Land Surveyors. Tom will take a look at the files
of the map with a surveyor's eye toward deciphering the data
listed. With the technology available today, there may be
opportunities to use these map files to create some very
interesting outcomes that overlay today's landscape
and allow us some interesting perspectives in
comparing data from the very early 1900s with today? 
StayTuned :) In the background of this photo is
Kathy Allen Merrill, West Cumberland friend of mine
and of the Narcissus and a PLI researcher :)

     Well, there you have the story to date. What do you think? We are always looking for additional information on the Narcissus, or any aspect of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. We are looking to have a great exhibit with displays to tell this story and have it in place for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and related activities to celebrate the completion of the restoration of the Narcissus. We have time to make this interpretation programming be a spectacular educational resource. Having high-quality digital files of the PLI-related materials will be crucial for being able to provide quality programming. 

What's Next?
Based on the terrific outcome from being able to have the map conserved, I can only imagine the opportunities that await us in having the Scrapbook of the Employees of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban blessed with having the chance to be conserved by the staff at NEDCC.
Let's work together to make that happen? Together, we can do it!

     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. 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. 

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.

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