Saturday, February 8, 2020

Mahogany, Mahogany, & More Mahogany - Narcissus Restoration Update 2-8-2020

April 1992, No. 1 end of the 1912 Narcissus is showing its age
and its white-painted mahogany components; the interior of
doors, bulkhead and vestibule ceiling. Tom Hughes Collection

No date on this interior image of the Narcissus. Mid-80s image?
One of the items we can pick out from this image is which panel
has the gold leaf "14" attached. This image has us looking at the
number 2 end bulkhead. The doors are still attached to their
hinges and all mahogany panels on the window posts are still
in place. This image helps us in part as a "before" image.
Image Donald Curry slide collection 

Handling the existing mahogany panels today that are from the 
Narcissus when it received cleaning and had various materials
applied to the cleaned exterior face of the panels in the 90s, 
the "14" was not to be found on any panels. Fortunately,
the Gray Historical Society has the original mahogany
panel from the Arbutus, sister to Narcissus, with the "10"
clearly visible. We will be able to use this "10" to create
the gold leaf "14" for the Narcissus panel when it comes
time to have that work done. PWM image.

This image has the "14" barely visible probably after the
mahogany was cleaned in preparation for applying a coating
of varnish or shellac composition. You can see that the sliding
doors in the bulkhead are still attached and operable. You can
see one of the window frames still in place in the vestibule
with some white paint still visible from when the coach
was the Vallee summer camp. As a camp, the lights were
rewired for 120v AC use. Notice the dangling on/off-chain.
 May 1992 image from Tom Hughes Collection

Closeup of the "14" from the previous image

Early in 2019, the various mahogany pieces were brought
upstairs in the woodworking shop for assessment and
to then be inventoried. This image shows but a very small
portion of the hundreds of original mahogany components
removed from the interior of the Narcissus. PWM image

We were so fortunate to have Seth Reed start working in the
shop on the Narcissus during the first week of February 2019.
Seth's woodworking experience on historic preservation
projects is just what the Narcissus was in need of. Seth is seen
here doing the painstaking task of removing coating materials
from existing mahogany components. PWM image

An interior image of one of the
Four of these original coaches built in 1912
were identical. This image is believed to be
of No. 10, the Arbutus.  It looking at the
No. 1 end of the coach. Through that
single door is the smoking compartment.
Literally, all the wood in this image is
mahogany. The seat handle assemblies,
all the trim, panels, arches, ceiling
panel strip dividers, on and on...

These are panels from the Narcissus that are the same as the
ones that can be seen in the Arbutus image above. The
panel on the left with the hole in the center is the panel
seen above where the rope for the bell travels through
for use in communicating signals to the motorman
and conductor. The "lines" seen along the borders
of the panels are three lines of inlay. The centerline
of inlay is "black" Ebony (wood) which is then
bordered on both sides with "white" Holly (wood).

The door on the right is 
the bulkhead door from the
number 2 end that separates
the passenger compartment
from the vestibule. You can
the similar door in place in
the Arbutus interior image
a few slides above.
The door on the left is one
of the sliding doors for
the bulkhead between the
passenger compartment and
the smoking compartment.
PWM image

Seth is seen here removing the coating from one of the sliding
doors for the bulkhead between the passenger compartment
and the smoking compartment. PWM image

Original brass handles from several of the doors in the
Narcissus. PWM image

Seth working on one of the
sliding doors. See the mahogany
in the background that Seth has
previously removed materials
to reveal the original wood
and inlay. PWM

These doors had received
attention in the mid-90s or
very early 2000s. They are
in need of repairs. PWM

Seth has this door set up and is making repairs. PWM

Closeup of one area of repair. PWM

An interior image from September 1995 of the bulkhead
separating the passenger compartment from the number 2
end vestibule. Some mahogany panels were removed. The
large arched panel with inlay is still in place.
The remaining smaller center panel with its hole for the signal
bell-rope is still in place. Sliding doors were removed.
Image from Tom Hughes Collection

Seth with the large arched panel pointing to the inlay.
PWM image

Seth's finger is pointing at the section of inlay in need of
repair. The center inlay of "black" Ebony (wood) is
bordered on both sides with "white" Holly (wood).
PWM image

There are dozens and dozens of mahogany trim boards. Many
of these trim boards are also decorated with the same inlay
pattern. Here Seth shows us where a repair has been made
to one piece after the coating of varnish/shellac materials
were removed. PWM image

The left side corner of the passenger compartment/bulkhead
on the number 2 end in May 1992. You can see the sliding
door in the bulkhead in place. The window in the bulkhead in
place. The interior of the vestibule and door has white paint.
Look to the left at the arched single sash window. This is
another clue that this is the number 2 end of the Narcissus. 
The number 1 end has the smoking compartment and there
are a pair of passenger windows together with one large
ornate leaded stained glass window "Eyebrow" above the
pair.  In this image, please notice the upper portion of
the vertical trim board to the left of the arch/passenger
window. These are made up of two pieces of mahogany.
See more below. Tom Hughes Collection.

Another May 1992 image of the interior of the Narcissus.
The vertical center window post that seems to be separating
the arch down to the lower wall has a mahogany trim
face-board covering. These boards have no inlay decorations.
The window post between each pair of windows extends up
towards the upper, wider, horizontal trim board. The
mahogany trim face-board covering these vertical window
posts, do have the decorative inlay.
Tom Hughes Collection

June 20, 1995, black and white image with a closeup of the
two-piece vertical window post mahogany trim face-board.
You can see the trim board that has the decorative inlay
extends up beyond the stained glass window arches. This trim
board with inlay is attached to the mahogany board that you
can see in this image where the bottom of each arch ends at
the top of the board the inlay trim board extends from. 
See the image below for clarity. Tom Hughes Collection

These are all from the Narcissus interior and the pairing of
boards in the background are ones that are for the facing of the
interior window posts between each pairing of passenger
windows. PWM image

Here is a closeup of the joined pieces.
The delicacy of the inlay and how
beautifully the inlay compliments the
mahogany is a work of art.
Thank you, Seth, for your dedication to
bringing out the beauty of this woodwork
PWM image 

Window post facing that has no inlay for the posts "separating"
the stained glass window arches. PWM image

1969. Here is the  Narcissus at the Museum in March 1970.
The number 2 end shows only one window sash on the left
side of the vestibule. The vertical tongue and groove dasher
boards are missing under the window opening on the right.
This left the inner mahogany panel exposed to the weather.
Paul Kehoe Collection at STM Library
Narcissus (on the left) at the Museum in November 1971.
The number 1 end vestibule window sash and train doorway
exposed to the weather.
Paul Kehoe Collection at STM Library

Number 1 end of Narcissus today. To either side of the train
doorway (center opening) in the lower section of the
interior of the vestibule, are two mahogany panels. The pattern
of these panels is the same as the pattern you see here on
the lower panels of the bulkhead. PWM image

A closeup of the pattern of the mahogany
panels in the vestibules. PWM image

The panels had been painted white when the Narcissus
was the Vallee summer camp. PWM image

Once stripped, the condition
of each panel was assessed.
PWM image

Repairs by Mr. Vallee varied. Repairs will be made where
practical. Replacement of sections or complete panels may be
necessary. PWM image

This panel was missing an end section. PWM image

It cleaned up pretty well. PWM image

There were a couple of the vestibule window sash
that survived. On initial inspection, it was thought
there was one that was completely original. Upon
a more detailed inspection, which included
dismantling, the sash, it became clear, that there
were repairs made to varying degrees to both.
Repairs and replacements will be in order.

This is not the Narcissus. It is its sister
PLI coach Gladiolus. However,
the Narcissus was involved in several
accidents over its 19 years of service
operating on the Portland-Lewiston
Interurban line. The likelihood that
vestibule windows were in need of
repair following any of those accidents
is a very strong possibility. Image
from Seashore Trolley Museum Library

Vestibule window sash inspection up close. PWM image

Here is an image of the lower right side of the Narcissus.
Closest is the smoking compartment on the number 1 end,
with the passenger compartment trailing off to the left. Each
of the openings seen below the beltline (the horizontal
length of wood running the entire length of the body attached
to the vertical window posts), above the side sill, is where
a panel is attached with a mahogany veneer facing towards
the interior (see image below). PWM image

One of the mahogany veneer panels seen from the interior
of the Narcissus. The outline seen is that made from the metal
plate frame assembly that holds the passenger seat cushion.
February 2001 Tom Hughes Collection

Not all, but a number of these mahogany veneer panels
survived and are in various degrees of condition. Like many
components in the Narcissus, the repair or replacement of
these panels is complicated and time-consuming. PWM image

Above is seen the outer veneer of one panel that clearly
attaches where metal supports are located.  To the right is
a panel that its mahogany veneer faces towards the interior of
the car and you can see the holes where the seat bracket attaches.
PWM image

Each panel starts with an inner layer of boards that are
tongue and groove. Each side then has a veneer layer of 
either poplar or perhaps birch, then the side facing the
interior of the passenger compartment has a veneer layer of
mahogany, while the side facing the exterior of the
coach has an additional veneer layer of poplar or birch.
PWM image

Museum of Mass Transit is celebrating its 81st Birthday year in 2020! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 2, 2020. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 

Check out the new book that features the Narcissus!
Look below to read the many great reviews!

Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride

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

"An eye-opening and entertaining ride - you won't want the train to stop!
Highly recommended.
Andrew Vietze, award-winning author of Becoming Teddy Roosevelt.

Books are available at these local bookstores in Maine:
The Book Review, Falmouth
Letterpress Books, Portland
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland
Nubble Books, Biddeford
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

A resource for teachers. 
     We are working with the Maine Historical Society to create State-standard-based lesson plans for classroom use in grades 4, 5, 6, and 7. We hope to have the vocabulary for the various grades released soon and to unveil the full lesson plans early in 2020. In the meantime, the teacher resource post has a listing of online references for people, places, and events that are referred to throughout the book, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - written with a focus on using vocabulary words and sentence structure that might be useful in classroom studies for students and teachers in grades 4 to 7. Though, there are numerous words, sentences, topics, and references that students and teachers in a variety of grades, as well as readers of all ages, will find useful and of interest. 

Click Here for the announcement of the award-winning narrator for the audiobook :) 

     Millie Thayer is a headstrong farmer's daughter who chases her dreams in a way you would expect a little girl nicknamed "Spitfire would-running full tilt and with her eyes on the stars. Dreaming of leaving the farm life, working in the city, and fighting for women's right to vote, Millie imagines flying away on a magic carpet. One day, that flying carpet shows up in the form of an electric trolley that cuts across her farm. A fortune-teller predicts that Millie's path will cross that of someone famous. Suddenly, she finds herself caught up in events that shake the nation, Maine, and her family. Despairing that her dreams may be shattered, Millie learns, in an unexpected way, that dreams can be shared.

The paperback edition of Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride can be purchased online through the Seashore Trolley Museum's store website. Books purchased through the Museum's website directly benefit the Museum and the Narcissus project. Amazon book purchases also benefit the Museum and the Narcissus.

Click Here to go to the Museum Store webpage to order online

Click Here to go to the Amazon page to order the book online

Click Here to go to the ebook Kindle page through Amazon

Click Here for the post on the ebook release video with a guided tour of the Narcissus

Book, ebook, and (soon) audiobook available through Amazon.

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

Click Here to read January 20, 2020 - Coveted Starred Blueink Review

Click Here to read January 19, 2020 - Theodore Roosevelt Center Blog Post Review

Click Here to read the December 25, 2019 4-Stars out of 4-Stars Review through OnlineBookClub

     In June of 2018, I was very happy to release a blog post announcing that award-winning Maine author, Jean M. Flahive, had agreed to write a young reader historical fiction chapter book that would benefit the Narcissus Project. In October of 2019, I was happy to report, that the book, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride, had been printed and was available to purchase! Below are some blurbs/reviews from a few individuals who read the manuscript after being professionally edited by Maine Authors Publishing in Thomaston, Maine. 

MUST-READ! - Click Here
Here is an example of how donations to the Narcissus Project now will help with the interpretation portion of the project. The interpretation programming will include exhibits, displays, education programming. During 2019, through generous donations to the Narcissus Project, we were able to conserve, replicate, and have high resolutions digital image files made of the original, 1910, 25.5-foot long, surveyor map of the elevation and grade of the 30-mile private right-of-way of the Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad (Portland-Lewiston Interurban)
MUST-READ! - Click Here  (In case you hadn't "clicked" and read it above :)

Please Consider a Donation to the Narcissus Project
to help us tell the incredible story of the Narcissus through the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project.
Thank You

   Inside the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop, the Narcissus is in the midst of major work as we strive to complete its restoration. With our estimate to have the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Narcissus in the fall of 2021, we are now planning the interpretation portion of the Narcissus Project. Donations to the Narcissus Project may be used in the future to help tell the incredible 100-plus-year-old story of the Narcissus. Your donation to the Narcissus is helping to make the dream of the project's success, a reality.

See below for Donation options -
It starts with YOU
Your Donation Matters
Make a Donation TODAY

Please Help the Narcissus. 
Donation Options to Help the Narcissus Project:

The New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
is the 501c3 organization that owns and operates the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, ME and the National Streetcar
The NEERHS is registered with the IRS (EIN# 01-0244457) and was incorporated in Maine in 1941.

Check or Money Order ***** should be made payable to:
New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS)
In the memo please write: Narcissus Fund 816-A
Mail to: Seashore Trolley Museum
              P. O. Box A
              Kennebunkport, ME 04046

Credit Card ***** donations can be a one-time donation or you
may choose to have a specific amount charged to your card
automatically on a monthly basis. Please contact the Museum bookkeeper, Connie, via email at or by phone, 207-967-2712 ext. 5.

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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