Thursday, January 28, 2016

Vallee Family Pictures of the Narcissus - 1960s

J. Henri Vallee with the Narcissus in the background on March 5, 1969.
In the background, to the right, you can see the roof trusses for the
replacement summer camp that Seashore Trolley Museum would build later
that year. The new three-room structure was to replace the Vallee's summer
camp. In 1934, Mr. Vallee purchased the "body" of the Narcissus for $100
from the Portland-Lewiston Interurban in Lewiston, Maine and then moved
it to Sabattus, Maine, to become his family's summer camp. In this image,
the Narcissus was moved from its original position which was behind the
tree seen here in the center of the image.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

Late last week, I received a package from Mr. Daniel Vallee. The package contained eighteen photographs of the Narcissus. Now for many railway/railroad enthusiasts, this would signify images of the Narcissus in its glory days of being a magnificent representative of the high-speed, wooden electric interurbans of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. The PLI operated between Portland, Maine, and Lewiston, Maine from 1914 until 1933. The Narcissus is the lone surviving piece of rolling stock from the forward-thinking visionary, W. S. Libbey. The businessman that built, what became known as the  "Finest Electric Railroad in All-New England". This elegant, iconic piece of railway history,  Narcissus, listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. Some may think an image of Theodore Roosevelt aboard during his ride on Narcissus on August 18, 1914, may have been included in the collection?

But no. The pictures of the Narcissus in this package are not of this gem as it sits on rails in any one of the many communities it traveled through during its operating heyday. The images contained in this package are just as important though for helping us tell the full life-story of the Narcissus. A story that is now more than 100 years old! The twenty years the Narcissus spent on the PLI rails helping to carry the 7.3 million passengers that traveled between Portland and Lewiston during that time is a very important chapter in its life, but not the only chapter. 

After the PLI ended operations, it sold many of the "bodies" of its rolling stock, including the interurbans. Mr. J. Henri Vallee purchased the body of the Narcissus in 1934. For $100! He moved it from Lewiston, Maine to Sabattus, Maine, where it became the Vallee summer camp until 1969. Seashore Trolley Museum, in Kennebunkport, Maine acquired the Narcissus from Mr. Vallee late in 1969. 

This past summer (2015), Mr. Vallee's son, Daniel Vallee, read his local Lewiston-area newspaper and its story about his former summer camp residence under restoration at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. He made a phone call to Seashore Trolley Museum and made arrangements to visit the Narcissus. Daniel spent the first eighteen summers of is life using the Narcissus as his summer home in Sabattus! During his visit, he mentioned he would look through his family "archives" :) for photos of the Narcissus. 

Presented here, are many of those Vallee family photos that include the Narcissus. On behalf of the Museum and the Narcissus, I want to say Thank You! We owe the Vallee family a tremendous debt of gratitude for bringing the Narcissus into their family and keeping the Narcissus safe for thirty-five years. If not for Daniel's father purchasing the Narcissus in 1934, who knows what the future would have had in store for the Narcissus? We do know the fate of its sister interurbans, Arbutus, Gladiolus, Clematis, Azalea, Magnolia, and Maine. But for a few clerestory stained glass windows from the Arbutus, abandoned sections of the right-of-way repurposed power stations and carbarns, and assorted ephemera here and there, all other remnants of the "Grand Old Interurban" are gone. 

Please consider making a donation to the Narcissus Project. Funds are still needed to complete the restoration of the National Register of Historic Places member, Narcissus.  Scroll to the end of this post to find all donation options. Thank You :)

Narcissus, snowbound on March 5, 1969. It would still be several months
before the Narcissus would make its way to Seashore Trolley Museum
in Kennebunkport. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee

Narcissus was the Vallee family summer camp from 1934 until
1969. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

To see a short movie clip of the Narcissus taken during a railroad fan trip in the late 1930s/early 40s

J. Henri Vallee (left) with his son, Daniel Vallee relaxing inside their
summer cottage, Narcissus. The image is dated June 1965. In the
background, you see into the room that was attached to the body of the
Narcissus. A kitchen/dining room is seen in the background.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

Looking at the narrow doorway of the Number 1 end of the Narcissus. The
smoking compartment area is through the doorway, then on to the vestibule
of the # 1 end. The entrance to the attached kitchen/dining area is to the left,
out of sight from the angle this photo was taken. Date wrote on the back
of this photo, July 8, 1961. Left to Right - Venerand Paquette,
Billy Paquette, Rose Marie Paquette, J. Henri Vallee.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

I am very happy to report that I have received a number of responses to the request to ID individuals that are helping with the Narcissus transition from Sabattus to the Seashore Trolley Museum campus from 1968 until late in 1969. Names will be inserted as they become available.

Donald G. Curry/STM image.
The image above: Seashore Trolley Museum staff and volunteers assess the Narcissus and best practices for separating the attached kitchen/dining room. they would then move the Narcissus from this location to a location nearer the road for a better loading position. Probably late fall 1968. Personal recollections from Jack Murray include; "I'm in the panoramic shot of the crew getting ready to separate the ell from the car body; the ell will be moved back and the car body toward the road (slid on blocking, pulled with Coffin hoists) so that the new cottage could go up in the same spot. My recollection is that this was done during school Christmas vacation (1968), with the crew being myself (Jack Murray), my cousin Paul, and Russell Bryant (all students at Cape Elizabeth High School (ME); Donald (Curry), John Coughlin, and Bill Dox (the driving force behind the project). Russell is side to the camera striding to the left, I'm (Jack) behind him with back to the camera." If you recognize any of these folks, please forward the name and their position in this photo to Phil Morse via e-mail at or call 207-985-9723.

Narcissus in the early spring of 1969. The attached kitchen/dining room
was removed. You can see the stack of wood materials that will be used
to construct the three-room replacement summer camp.
Donald G. Curry/STM image.

Narcissus is on the far left with the utility meter hanging down. Trusses in
the background leaning against the removed kitchen/dining room. You
can also see the remaining footings that the Narcissus had been removed
from in order to relocate it nearer the road for easier loading the trailer.
Probably later spring 1969. Donald G. Curry/STM image.

Seashore Trolley Museum volunteers work to position the Narcissus on
the trailer for the trip to Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Sept/Oct 1969. The number 1 end is to the right. If you recognize any of
these folks, please forward the name and their position in this photo to
Phil Morse via email at or call 207-985-9723.
Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

Narcissus is secured to the trailer. The tractor-trailer set up was affectionately
called the "Highway Monster" by Seashore Trolley Museum volunteers. The
Highway Monster was used by Museum volunteers to bring various streetcars,
interurbans, and related equipment from destinations
throughout the USA to the Kennebunkport campus. You can see the beautiful
three-room summer camp replacement for the Narcissus in the background.
October 1969. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee

Final farewell Photo opp. with Seashore Trolley Museum volunteers, Vallee
family members, and other interested individuals. If you recognize anyone
in this image, please forward the name and their position in this photo to
Phil Morse via email at or call 207-985-9723. Late
October 1969. Marie Vallee is third from the right. Image courtesy
of Daniel Vallee.

Seashore Trolley Museum's Highway Monster with the Narcissus receiving
final adjustments from Museum volunteers prior to making the trek to the
Museum campus in Kennebunkport, Maine late in October 1969. From this
angle, you can see where the kitchen/dining room was attached. Number 1
end is facing the tractor. The large arch window that the top of the ladder is
placed over-identifies where the smoking compartment is located. The 
Narcissus would later make its way to Lewiston and have banners placed on
each side. These banners would advertise the need for funds to restore the
Narcissus and also serve as a way to thank all the businesses that donated
materials, money, and contributions-in-kind, such as skilled labor to build
the three-room replacement summer camp. Image courtesy of Daniel Vallee.

Daniel Vallee at Seashore Trolley Museum on July 31, 2015.
Image courtesy of Patricia Pierce Erikson

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 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
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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