Monday, March 2, 2020

Maine Bicentennial Series - Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway 1895-1905

Open car No. 3, one of eight original open cars of the Bangor,
Orono & Old Town Railway in 1895.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     Here is the newest release in the Maine Bicentennial series of electric railways in Maine. This blog post features the Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway summary/images from the book, "Bangor Street Railway" by Charles D. Heseltine, published as Transportation Bulletin No. 81 January -December 1974 through Connecticut Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society copyright 1976 Roger Borrup and Charles D. Heseltine. Some text/images may be from the NEERHS 2015 publication, "The Illustrated Atlas of Maine's Street & Electric Railways 1863-1946. Additional images will be credited.

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
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Biddeford and Saco Railroad Co. 1888-1939
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Mousam River Railroad - 1892-1899
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Sanford & Cape Porpoise Railway 1899-1904
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portsmouth, Kittery & York St Rwy 1897-1903
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor Street Railway 1889-1905
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor Railway & Electric Company 1905-1925
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor, Hampden & Winterport Rwy 1896-1905
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Penobscot Central Railway 1898-1906
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor Hydro-Electric Company 1925-1945
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath St Rwy 1898-1907
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville St Rwy 1907-19
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Androscoggin & Kennebec Railway 1919-1941
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portland & Brunswick Street Railway 1902-1911
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Auburn & Turner Railroad 1905-1928
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Auburn, Mechanic Falls & NorwayStRwy1902-7
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portsmouth, Dover & York St Rwy 1903-1906
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Atlantic Shore Line Railway 1900-1910
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Atlantic Shore Railway 1911-1923
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - York Utilities Company 1923-1949
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portland-Lewiston Interurban - It Begins 1914
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Portland-Lewiston Interurban - The End 1933

Another of the early open cars of the Bangor, Orono &
Old Town Street Railway (BO&OT) seen here as No. 53 of
the Bangor Street Railway. Like several other railways, the
BO&OT merged with the Bangor Street Railway in 1905.
As BSR No. 53, was used on the Hampden line.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway
     First, some background information describing the creation of railways that led up to the formation of the Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway.

     About two years after Bangor Street Railway was chartered, the Old Town Street Railway was incorporated by the state legislature on March 9, 1889, and was authorized to build a line from the center of Old Town to Upper Stillwater Villiage and to Great Works Villiage. 

Covered bridge over the Stillwater River at Orono through
which the trolley cars on the Old Town line ran.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     $100,000 of capital stock was issued. The line was empowered to suspend operations during winter months or at any time when the wants of the public did not require its operation. The company was authorized to operate omnibuses in place of streetcars and for a short time prior to the opening of the line, a horse-drawn omnibus line served outer State Street, but whether it was affiliated with the proposed electric line or not research could not determine.

     An amendment to the Old Town Street Railway's charter provided that it might also build from Old Town through Milford and Bradley. This was approved by the legislature on February 27, 1891, but the line was never built through these places. The corporate life of the company was extended until February 9, 1895.

     The Old Town, Orono & Veazie Railway (OTOV) was chartered by the legislature on February 26, 1891, with permission to build from a connection with the Old Town Street Railway, through Orono to Main and Olive Streets in the town of Veazie. Here is was to connect with a proposed extension of the Bangor Street Railway. Capitalization was set at $500,000, and, like the Old Town Street Railway, it could suspend operations during the winter months if it saw fit.

    The company was permitted to lease all of its property and franchises to another company if it so desired, or it might acquire by lease or purchase the property and franchises of any other street railway whose line was constructed or chartered so as to form a connecting or continuing line with it.

     Acting upon this proviso, the (OTOV) took the Old Town Street Railway under a lease on June 15, 1892. Neither line, at that time, had started construction. OTOV then received permission to change its name to the Bangor, Orono & Old Town Street Railway, with permission to build from Veazie into Bangor with stipulations of streets determined.

    Nothing was done toward the construction of this railway until the entrance of Amos F. Gerald into the picture in late 1894. Amos F. Gerald was one of the foremost street railway promoters in Maine, was the backer of the Portsmouth, Kittery & York Street Railway, the Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Street Railway, the Skowhegan & Norregwock Railway, the Bath Street Railway, and the Waterville system and several others.

     A resident of Fairfield, Maine, Gerald in association with Isaac C. Libby secured control of the Bangor, Orono & Old Town Street Railway charter and arranged for financing. As similar financial exchange with Thomson-Houston-General Electric was made as had been made with Bangor Street Railway, with a block of securities exchange as a major payment for power source equipment services. 

     Construction began and on July 9, 1895, a certificate of safety was granted. Cars began operating on the line on July 17, 1895, though some service had commenced earlier to Veazie. Trackage rights in downtown Bangor through state and Otis Streets. The new line was 13.25 miles in length.

Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway
Map by Charles D. Heseltine in the NEERHS
2015 publication, "The Illustrated Atlas of
Maine's Street & Electric Railways 1863-1946.

     The line opened with six closed cars with enclosed vestibules, eight single-truck, 10-bench, open cars, and one single-truck snowplow. A second plow was added a short time later.

The early snow-fighting equipment struggled with keeping
the Old Town line open during heavy snow events. The
addition of a rotary plow in 1901 helped.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

Early snow-fighting equipment for the Old Town line
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     The main carbarn was a State and Otis Streets in Bangor and a small, one-stall barn on Stillwater Avenue near the hospital in Old Town. Power was provided from the Veazie hydro-station. A storage battery bank was provided at Old Town to help maintain power in that area, fed from a small generating station across the river in Milford.

Rotary plow purchased in 1901 to cope with heavy snow on
the Old Town line. Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

      The track was extended into Bangor during 1897 making the total length of 16.7 miles of line in operation with rights to use an additional 1.2 miles of the Bangor Street Railway tracks.

Express car "A" was purchased in 1897 from the West End
Street Railway of Boston for freight service use
on the Bangor, Orono, & Old Town Railway.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     There were many complaints over the years from Great Works Village of the original single-truck closed cars being behind schedule or not arriving at all. The continued use of these cars culminated in a midnight visit to the one-car storage barn at Old Town by nocturnal callers - students from the State College, legend has it - loaded with combustibles of all kinds, along with a few sticks of dynamite. The resulting conflagration obliterated both car and carhouse! The carbarn was not rebuilt, although the company retained the land until 1920.

     Apparently, the company "got the message." In 1902, six new, double-truck, semi-convertible cars built by the J. G. Brill Company, Philadelphia, PA, arrived and started providing service to Old Town and Great Works Villiage with regularity. 

No. 76, one of the double-truck, Brill semi-convertibles
bought for the Old Town line in 1902 at the end of the line.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     Many of the bodies of the replaced cars were hauled to various sites along the Penobscot River for use by company officials as summer camps and, indeed, several may be found (1973) there today.

     At the time of consolidation with the Bangor Railway & Electric Company on June 30, 1905, the Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway was operating a total of 17.6 miles of mainline track. The highwater mark for passengers carried in one year and passenger revenues was 1897, with 1,268,642 passengers carried, generating $64,474 in revenues.
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.

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 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
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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