Sunday, March 1, 2020

Maine Bicentennial Series - Bangor Street Railway - 1889-1905

No. 12 Bangor Street Railway with its original type trolley
pole. This car was the first electric in Maine. Crew members
are O'Brien and Coombs. The ends were open to the men
standing are called the vestibule. The motorman would
operate the car from the vestibule with no protection
from the elements. It would be 1906 before Maine
laws were enacted to enclose the vestibules
on all trolley cars. Image from C. D. Heseltine Coll.

     Here is the newest release in the Maine Bicentennial series of electric railways in Maine. This blog post features the Bangor Street 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 Railway & Electric Company 1905-1925
Click Here for the post: Maine Bicentennial series - Bangor, Orono & Old Town Railway 1895-1905
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 & NorwayStRwy1902-3
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

Bangor Street Railway
     Bangor, with a total population of about 20,000, was the first community in the state of Maine to have an electric railway service. The first trial trip took place in the very early hours of April 29, 1889. Two closed cars provided the first public passenger trips on May 21, 1889. On this original 3-mile section of track, from May 21, 1889, through September 30, 1889, four closed cars and four open cars carried 215,547 passengersDuring a single day of the State Fair in September that fall, 8,200 passengers were transported on these trolley cars! 
Downtown Bangor, December 1889 with cars Nos. 12 and 18
in their original paint schemes with names of the contractors
painted on the dashers. Here the two cars are passing on the
Main Street turnout in Market Square. Both cars have their
original wood trolley poles.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     A company known as the Goff Electric Company had been organized in the early 1880s for the manufacture of electric current and was the forerunner of the power and transportation system which served Bangor over the years.

     Goff was shortly joined by Frederick M. Laughton and George N. Ross and the company was reorganized as the Bangor Electric Light & Power Company on May 2, 1885. The first powerhouse, a steam generating station, opened in a three-story building at Cross and Columbia Streets in the fall of 1885.

     To aid in providing for the establishment of power companies, Thomas-Houston furnished the equipment partially for cash and partly in return for blocks of securities in the various projects. In this fashion, the Bangor Street Railway and the local power interests came under the domination of the Thomson-Houston Company which became part of the Edison-General Electric Company. General Electric held a sizable interest in the Bangor properties for many years.

Veazie hydro station for Bangor Light & Power Company
on the Penobscot River was first developed in 1889 to supply
power for Bangor's trolley cars. It was one of Maine's first
hydroelectric plants. Car No. 52 seen in the photo was placed
on the site as a workman's shelter.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     The building of the new hydro station required additional financial arrangements and the Public Works Company was chartered on October 19, 1889, to provide for the management and closer relationship among various water power, electric light and street railway lines in operation or planned in the Bangor area. Securities of the Public Works Company were passed, in return for the new electrical equipment, to the supplier Thompson-Houston Company.

     The Bangor city council approved the electric railway project on January 18, 1887, and endorsed the proposed charter. The new company, to be known as the Bangor Street Railway, was duly incorporated by the state legislature on February 11, 1888, and the act, included was signed by the governor four days later. Capital stock was limited to $300,000.

     The route chosen for commenced at a point near the "Tin Bridge" close to the East Hampden town line, and extended northeasterly along Main Street to West Market Square and the municipal bridge over the Kenduskeag Stream, through State Street to Exchange Street to Washington, along Washington street to Oak, up Oak Street to State and along State Street to Pearl Street. This route was selected to avoid the steep grade of State Street Hill.

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

     A wooden carbarn was built on outer Main Street near Dillington Street, on land purchased from the Katahdin Ice Company. The carbarn originally had only one entrance door, with a transfer table inside to direct cars to different tracks within the barn. It wasn't long before this design required that the barn be rebuilt with a separate door for each track into the barn.

Original carbarn on Main Street was a wood stable-type 
building with a one-track entrance and a transfer table inside.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

Within two years, modifications were made to the carbarn to
include multiple-doors and track entrances.
Image from Charles D. Heseltine Collection

     One car was on the property by early December 1888, and it is apparent that some tests had been made within the carbarn, as a news item reassured citizens that "no serious damages to pocket watches have been experienced in the testing of the electric car." Electricity, it must be remembered, was still a somewhat mysterious force at that time. Even by 1910, only about ten-percent of Maine homes had electricity, and those were mostly in the cities or close urban areas.

     As the final touches were being applied to the line and the electrical equipment checked out, the Bangor Street Railway on March 12, 1889, received legislative approval to build a line in neighboring Brewer which had just been incorporated as a city. The line would operate as a separate division until the opening of a substantial municipal bridge in 1914.

     May 21, 1889, is when regular service really was able to be consistent with two of the four original closed cars in operation. A waiting room was opened on Main Street in West Market Square.
When in front of the station, cars for the Main Street trips clanged their foot gongs once before starting, and the cars loading for the State Street trips clanged their gongs twice.

     Initially, the cars operated at night with no headlights. Starting on June 22, 1889, headlights of the kerosene-type were first used and were highly acclaimed. Additional cars were added to the fleet, including 8-bench open cars and a snowplow.

     The Brewer division extended from a point near the exit from the toll bridge in Penobscot Square, through Center Street and along North and South Main Streets to a point near Stone Street, close to the Brewer-Orrington municipal line. A wooden carbarn, 60' by 20' was constructed at the end of the route. Rails ran along the side of the highway the entire route.

Brewer-South Brewer car No. 13 is shown here in the late fall
of 1890, waiting at the toll bridge terminus - the bridge is in the
background. The crewmen in the photo are Mann and O'Brien.
The Brewer line operated without track connections to Bangor
until 1914. Image from Charles  D. Heseltine Collection

     In late August 1890, two cars were carried over the Maine Central Railroad bridge to Brewer and placed on the streetcar tracks. The service started on September 1st. During 1890, ten additional closed cars and eleven open cars were added to the growing fleet.

Open car No. 32 at the carbarn in South Brewer was
purchased in 1890 and was one of the first two assigned to 
the Brewer-South Brewer line when it first opened in 1890.
Image from Charles  D. Heseltine Collection

     With the opening of these routes, the Bangor Street Railway (BSR) had 7.25 miles of track. During the fiscal year ending September 30, 1890, the company reported a total of 616,258 passengers for a total of $30,189 in receipts and a net profit of $8,632. Car tickets were issued on several lines.

     In the following years, some track was extended to improve service in town and during 1895, while the new Bangor, Orono, & Old Town Railway was being constructed, having in mind its eventual route into downtown Bangor, BSR revised its track plans. In addition, the Main Street line was double-tracked as a result of plans of another new railway line projected, the Bangor, Hampden & Winterport Railway.

No. 20, built in 1890, ready for a run via State and Main
Streets to the Highlands.
Image from Charles  D. Heseltine Collection

     In August 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt was a visitor to Bangor. So popular was this Great American in the Queen City, that the street railway was hard-pressed to handle the crowds which turned out to see him.

     In 1902, the final construction work of the Bangor Street Railway took place.  Under Public Works Company management, BSR extended the Center Street line from the junction of Center and Congress Streets through Center Street to the corner of Poplar Street. This line was further extended through Poplar, Leighton, Congress, Fountain, and Jefferson Streets back to a connection at Center Street to form a loop operation that opened on August 13, 1904. The BSR, other than the Brewer Division, had no suburban lines of its own. It remained for consolidation in 1905 to place the suburban lines, together with the city routes, into one integrated system.

     The highwater mark for passengers carried and gross revenues earned was during 1904.
1,656,293 passengers were carried on the 9.069 miles of Bangor Street Railway main track, generating passenger revenue of $82,852.

     June 30, 1905, was the date of the consolidation at which time the various water power, electric light and street railway properties were reorganized in a merger creating the Bangor Railway & Electric Company.
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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