Monday, June 19, 2017

No. 14 - Seashore Trolley Museum's Laconia Car Company-built Collection

The hands of Seashore Trolley Museum member-volunteers,
Ed Dooks and his granddaughter Chelsey Pino, carefully
peel away the paper from the newly applied Laconia Car
Company decal on the side sill of the Laconia Car
Company-built, and then newly restored, 1906
electric locomotive from the Atlantic Shore Line Railway,
No. 100. Image by PWM 6-30-2009

The Laconia Car Company was located in the center of
Laconia (NH). O
ver the years, it expanded and
took up 7 acres of land. There were woodworking
shops, foundries, set-up shops, storehouses and paint
shops. The extensive four-story brick building was
dedicated to the iron foundry, which was connected with
the car fabrication business.

Laconia Car Company was one of the important electric railway streetcar manufacturing companies at the turn of the 20th century. This builder was the only industry in the New Hampshire town of the same name. The community problems faced by the townspeople following the company's collapse in 1928 have been the subject of several important economic studies. (1) Seashore Trolley Museum has ten accessioned electric railway representatives from the Laconia Car Company among its collections. The Laconia collection at Seashore Trolley Museum is diverse. Starting with two early single-truck models from 1895, with monitor roofs and a seating capacity of 26 passengers, up to a 1918 semi-convertible, with a seating capacity of 44. The collection includes 1904, double-truck, 15-bench, open car with a railroad roof, wooden interurbans, a postal service car, and a wooden steeple cab locomotive.

Three of these Laconia vehicles in Seashore's collection are listed in the National Register of Historic Places1904 Portsmouth Dover & York Street Railway, No. 108, wooden Railway Post Office/Express, 1906 Atlantic Shore Line, No. 100, wooden Steeple Cab Locomotive, and 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 14 - Narcissus, wooden Interurban Coach.

(1) p. 6, 1954 "Historic Cars of the Seashore Electric Railway, 1st edition

1912 - No. 14, Narcissus - Portland-Lewiston Interurban
Wooden Interurban Coach - Double/Air
Laconia Car Company - Seats: 52   L: 46' 0"   W: 8' 7"   H: 12' 11"  Wt: 68,000
Acquired the car body in October 1969

Theodore Roosevelt on the No. 2 end of the Narcissus as he addresses the
gathered folks in Gray, Maine on August 18, 1914.
Maine's finest and fastest electric railway, the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, commenced regular operation on Thursday, July 2, 1914, its 29.8 miles of main track extending almost due north from a connection with the Cumberland County Power & Light Company-leased Portland Railroad Company in Portland through West Falmouth, West Cumberland, Gray and the town of New Gloucester to Auburn and a connection with the Mechanic Falls line of the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville Street Railway. The cars operated between Monument Square, Portland and Union Square, Lewiston, 34.37 miles, and the initial two-hour headway soon was replaced by hourly service which was maintained until the line was abandoned in mid-1933. The connections in Portland and Auburn were known as Deering Junction and Fairview Junction, respectively and from register stations, at both points, conductors called the dispatcher in Lewiston for orders.

From the Laconia Historical and Museum Society archives,
in Laconia, NH 
a list showing that in April 1912,
the Laconia Car Company Works received the order (661)
to build four interurbans for the
Portland, Gray, and Lewiston Railroad.
This is the same month that Titanic set sail on its maiden
and final voyage, as well as the month the Red Sox new home,
Fenway Park opened. The
PGLRR became the 
Portland-Lewiston Interurban in 1914.

Six passenger cars on hand on opening day consisted of six 36-foot double truck coach "smokers," Nos. 10, 12, 14, & 16 were built by the Laconia Car Company and Nos. 18 & 20 were built by Wason Company. The car bodies arrived in Portland in January 1913, being placed in storage in a temporary wood frame carhouse until the late spring of 1914 when they were towed to Lewiston to be equipped with trucks, motors, controllers and air brake systems and otherwise made ready for operation.
Because of interurban promoter W. Scott Libbey's desire that each car have a distinct personality and not be identified just by number, all six were named after flowers. No. 10 was the Arbutus; No. 12, the Gladiolus; No. 14, the Narcissus; No. 16, the Clematis; No. 18, the Azalea; and No. 20, the Magnolia. A seventh coach-smoker, No. 22, acquired from Wason in 1920, became the Maine.
Each of the original cars was 46 feet long overall and 8 ft. 3/4 in. wide and had steam coach roofs and straight vertically sheathed sides. There were seven arched windows - six double sashes and one single sash - on each side, the sashes being arranged to lift. The arches above the sashes and the windows in the roof clerestory were glazed with ornamental leaded glass. The exterior livery was Pullman green with gray roofs and dark red doors and trim and gold leaf numbers and lettering.

Interiors of the Laconia Car-built PLI interurbans

On Tuesday, August 18, the Narcissus carried what probably was the most distinguished passenger in the Portland-Lewiston Interurban's history. Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, while in Boston, set out on a day trip to northern Maine, campaigning for the Progressive Party. He was invited by the interurban management to inspect the still new railway, riding from Lewiston to Portland with brief stops in New Gloucester and Gray. The former chief executive addressed gatherings of townspeople at each stop. Upon arrival in the Forest City, "Teddy" voiced his pleasure over the "bully" ride he had enjoyed and gave motorman Charles H. Mitchell and conductor Joseph N. L'Heureux, best known as "Joe Happy," each a tip of $10, a not inconsiderable amount in those days.
The Narcissus still was active when the Portland-Lewiston Interurban was abandoned on June 28, 1933. Three months later, on September 27, the railway properties, including all rolling stock, had been sold to H. E. Salzburg Inc. of New York City, a railroad salvage concern, and dismantling of the property began shortly thereafter. A number of car bodies were sold to private parties and among them was the Narcissus, which eventually became the summer home of J. Henry Vallee near Sabattus Lake in the present town of Sabattus. Mr. Vallee agreed to part with the Narcissus, if the Museum would have the shell of a replacement cottage constructed; after a major fundraising effort, the deal was consummated. The Narcissus arrived at Seashore Trolley Museum on October 31 of 1969. Currently, the Narcissus is undergoing restoration at Town House Restoration Shop at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. History by O. R. Cummings, Historian, New England Electric Railway Historical Society

Additional Details on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban and Narcissus - Click the Date to open a link
4.27.2015   - The PLI Bouquet is Ordered - April 1912
8.15.2015   - W. S. Libbey: The Man and His Mill
6.28.2016   - The End of a Classic Interurban - June 28, 1933
7.1.2016     - Sudden Death of Hon. W. Scott Libbey - Lewiston Evening Journal May 18, 1914
7.2.2016     - The Beginning of a Classic Interurban - July 2, 1914
9.30.2016   - Scrapbook Celebrates the People of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban
1.7.2017     - Narcissus Restoration Project Outreach-Research 2016
1.29.2017   - W. S. Libbey-Builder of the PLI: His Stanley Steamer Model K 30-hp Semi-Racer
4.2.2017     - May 1956 - Portland-Lewiston Interurban by O. R. Cummings - PLI History
4.16.2017   - September 1967 - Portland-Lewiston Interurban by O. R. Cummings-PLI History
5.12.2017  - Cell Phone for the Narcissus Arrived Today - 1903 Model ;)

Oscar S Adkins and John I Cluff with No. 14, Narcissus  in Gray @1914

Narcissus and an Augusta & Kennebec Railways in Union Square, Lewiston,
Maine - April 6, 1933. O.R .Cummings Collection 

Click Here: Video clip of 1930s/40s railway fan trip as it passes "Camp Narcissus" in Sabattus, ME

Narcissus is loaded on the trailer and ready to leave Sabattus and head
to its new home, Seashore Trolley Museum Oct. 1969
Photo courtesy of Daniel Vallee

The video below has Daniel Vallee describing what it was like growing up while living in the Narcissus. The Narcissus was the Vallee's summer camp for 30-+ years (and a year-round home for two years).

The video below has Clyde Walker Pierce, Jr. discussing what it was like to race the Portland-Lewiston Interurbans in the early 1930s.

Click Here: Video of Theodore Santarelli de Brasch explaining the "Birth" of Seashore Trolley - 1939

Additional blog posts on Seashore Trolley Museum's Laconia Car Company-built Collection:
Click Here: No. 14 - 1912 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 38 - 1907 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 60 - 1895 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 100 - 1906 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 108 - 1904 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 235, No. 50 & No. 9 - 1895, 1902, & 1904 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No 4175 - 1914 Laconia Car Company-built Collection
Click Here: No. 4387 - 1918 Laconia Car Company-built Collection

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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