Narcissus

Welcome to the Narcissus page


The Narcissus

Click Here: for the newest restoration update on the Narcissus.

Click Here: for Narcissus National Register of Historic Places info.

     The Narcissus was built in 1912 in Laconia, New Hampshire, at the Laconia Car Company Works, for the Portland, Gray & Lewiston Railroad (PG&L), based in Lewiston, Maine.  This high-speed, luxury, wooden interurban with its exquisite mahogany interior, resplendent in copious ornamental brass components, including forty ornate leaded stained glass windows, its center ceiling panels embellished with gold leaf fleur-de-lis, with alternating red and green interlocking rubber tile on the floor and it was all appointed by the intrepid builder of the PG&L, W. Scott Libbey.

     Libbey also personally named each of the original six coaches after his favorite flowers. The 46-foot coaches had green plush Mohair upholstered, reversible seats, and a smoking compartment with two, six-foot-long, leather-covered bench seats, making the seating capacity 52 passengers. With its four-90hp Westinghouse motors, speeds in excess of 70-mph were reached from time to time.

     The most famous passenger to ride in the Narcissus was Theodore Roosevelt. The former President was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914, while campaigning for the Progressive Party candidates, during a trip from Lewiston to Portland.

     The Narcissus operated between Lewiston, Maine, and Portland, Maine on a thirty-mile, private right-of-way, interurban line that was built to steam railroad specifications. Construction of the line was seasonal from 1910 until finished in 1914. Operations commenced early in July 1914 and carried on until the line ceased operations late in June 1933. Just a few weeks prior to the opening of the line in 1914, the principal owner of the line, W. Scott Libbey, died. Within a couple of months, the management changed and so did the name of the line. It became the Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad; best known as the Portland-Lewiston Interurban or simple the PLI.

     After nineteen years of operating on the PLI, the Narcissus, along with the other equipment, was put up for sale, either as a fully operational electric railway vehicle or as a wooden-body only. Over the years, ultimately, the body of No. 14, Narcissus was the only surviving piece of the rail equipment.

     The body was initially sold in the mid-1930s for use in Sabattus, Maine, as a diner near Sabattus Pond. It is unclear what happened, but the diner-idea was abandoned. Later in the 30s, the body was resold to Mr. J. Henri Vallee. Mr. Vallee had the Narcissus moved a short distance to his property at Sabattus Pond, where he made the Narcissus his family summer camp. During the 1960s, members of the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, approached Mr. Vallee with the idea of the Museum acquiring the body of the Narcissus. The Museum wanted to restore the Narcissus
 to operating conditions for two purposes; first, in order to preserve the sole-surviving piece of Maine's electric interurban railway history; and to have the Museum visitors experience the splendor of its beauty when riding as passengers in the exquisitely appointed, majestic coach.

     A deal was struck with Mr. Vallee. The Museum, led by Museum member, Mr. William M. Dox, Jr., would arrange for a replacement home to be built for the Vallee family, and in exchange, the Narcissus would become the property of the Museum. The Narcissus arrived at Seashore Trolley Museum on October 31, 1969. Fifty years later; following years of financial support from generous Museum members, interested individuals, and organizations, and thousands of hours of work by skilled Museum volunteers and staff, a generous major gift from 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation was pledged in 2018.  This major gift became the financial catalyst to propel the restoration of this National Register of Historic Places electric railway icon, Narcissus, to completion. When the restoration is complete, the Narcissus will be the elegant operating representative of the finest and fastest electric railroad, not only in Maine but throughout all of New England.

     The ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completed restoration of the Narcissus will be next to Morrison Hill Station at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Morrison Hill station is the original Portland-Lewiston Interurban waiting station (1915) from West Cumberland, Maine.

     In the meantime, visitors to the Museum can see the work being done on the PLI icon when they walk into the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop at the Museum.

     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 this post and find the one that best fits your position.

Museum of Mass Transit is celebrating its 81st Birthday year in 2020! 

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
The Bookworm, Gorham
Letterpress Books, Portland
Nonesuch Books and More, South Portland
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

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 below

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 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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