Wednesday, June 14, 2017

No. 4387 - 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 a 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

1918 - No. 4387 - Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway
Semi-Convertible - Double/Air
Laconia Car Company - Seats: 44   L: 43' 3"   W: 8' 10"    H: 12' "  Wt: 44,880
Acquired on August 29, 1946
No. 4387 in the Talbott Park loop at Seashore Trolley Museum
August 28, 2004. PWM

No. 4387, a somewhat improved version of Bay State Street Railway semi-convertible No. 4175, is one of 200 cars built for the Bay State Street Railway by the Laconia Car Co. in 1918. It has large platforms and extremely large three sash windows, of which the lowermost drop into pockets in the sides. The frame is of composite steel and wood construction and the car is equipped with both transverse and longitudinal seats, having been designed for operation on both city and suburban lines. They were widely used throughout the vast Bay State system.
No. 4387 at Franklin Square, Melrose, MA 1925.
From the 1946 annual report of the N.E.E.R.H.S.

Including those sold to the Boston Elevated in 1936, along with the Chelsea and Revere car lines, many of this fleet survived until the late 1940s. Car 4387 last was used on an Eastern Mass. line running between the Sullivan Square elevated terminal in Charlestown and the town of Stoneham. It was acquired by the museum in 1946. Although No. 4387 was in fairly good condition when acquired, a poorly executed roof repair of the 1938 Hurricane damage had failed to hold up. There were numerous electrical problems, and general fraying over the years, but a total restoration has made 4387 another particular jewel of the Seashore fleet. Historic Cars: The National Collection at the Seashore Trolley Museum by Ben Minnich

The video below has No. 4387 in operation during the July 5, 2014, Seashore Trolley Museum 75th Anniversary Trolley Parade. Thanks go to Andy Dolph for giving his permission to draw the 4387 clip from his full video.

Edward Dooks, a long-time Seashore Trolley Museum member/volunteer, conducted, recorded, and transcribed, recollections of  Seashore Trolley Museum members' experiences involving the Museum. In addition, Ed recorded, collected, and transcribed recollections of local neighbors to Seashore Trolley Museum. Here are some of those transcriptions, as they relate to 4387.

Transcripts from 1988 interviews conducted by Ed Dooks. Interviewees:
A = John Amlaw, one of Seashore's original members
B = Henry Brainerd, one of Seashore's earliest members

Eastern Mass Cars

A: They quit in August 1946. The last car ran then, so what they told me in Boston was that the reason for it was that the cars were getting old and that they had wanted to modernize the line and put the seven-thousands up there instead of selling them but people up there objected to it and they wanted buses. So they said, "All right if you want buses, we'll give them to you." And that's what they did.

B: They had a farewell ride about midnight the night before (abandonment) and then sort of a ceremony where the Selectmen rode a car up to Stoneham Square and then rode back again to the town line in a bus. The car that did the farewell with the Selectmen  was 4387 and the motorman was Les Stephenson (Sr.) Is that right?

A: Right. They had the 4387 all fixed up. It was taken into the shops and they checked all the mechanical portions of it. They gave it a good wash job and inside they cleaned it all up and it looked as though it had just come out of the builder's shops. 

B: I believe Les commented he picked that because it was the one that was in the best condition of the surviving Eastern Massachusetts 4300's.

Mr. and Mrs. Lester Stephenson, Sr., on July 28, 1946, with
Les's favorite car, No. 4387. Les was the individual that brokered the
deal to have 4387 become the property of the fledgling
Seashore Trolley Museum the very next month.
From the 1946 annual report of the N.E.E.R.H.S.

A: I know that the 4300 was originally a much faster car than it is today. It had a 17:61 gear ratio with 31-inch wheels and they were later changed over to 15:63 gear ratio, still 31-inch wheel and slowed them down from 42 mph to 35.

A: 4387 is another car I ran off the property. I ran it at Salem Street Carhouse (Medford, MA ed.). Wally Goddard and I went out there one day to take some pictures and, at the time, I had a Chrysler. So, we pulled into the yard and there's the office building out front. It was in the summer time. The windows were open so I stopped and blew the horn in the car and a fellow came to the window. Wally said, "Uh-oh, that was a bad mistake you just made." I said, "No, no, Wally." So, the fellow looked out and I waved to him, didn't say anything, started up again, so then I got in the yard, went over to the yard office and there were two cars in the way. We wanted to take one of the 4300's.

We wanted a nice picture of 4387 for use for the heading of the publicity we were putting out to raise funds to move it. But it was in the yard that day and there were two type 5's in front of it so we couldn't get the picture of it. I went to the yard office and asked, "Is the head shifter on duty?" He said, "Yes, Mike Shea." So, he came out and I said, "Mike, I'm here with a photographer to take pictures of 4387. We came out from Boston." I didn't say we were sent out. I said, "so, I wonder if you could move the Type 5's out of the way?" "Oh, sure." so, he pulled them up and I said, " That's fine. I'll let you know when we're through so you can move them back again." so, Wally took the pictures and I went back to the office and said, "Will you tell Mike Shea that we're all set now?" And he said, "Yes, he's right here." So, he came out and I said, "Mike, we got the pictures. We're all set. Thanks a lot now, and if you want to move the 5's back, go ahead." So, I got up to the front office, blew the horn again and the fellow came to the window again and waved. "Okay?" I said, "Yes. everything is fine. Thanks for your cooperation." and off we went. Wally said, "Boy, what nerve you've got." I said, "Look, if I had driven in there without stopping to call that fellow in the office, they would have sent out someone to know who I was and what I was doing. that's why they didn't dare ask me who I was because I was driving a big car like all their executives and they don't want to admit they don't know me." That's exactly right.

A: Another place where they had a lot of fun was when they first bought the 7000's. Five of them were assigned to Fall River for use on the Taunton run and the track was pretty rough down there. The 7000's have swing-link bolsters, which means that the car body jus sways back and forth and the motormen were afraid to run them at full speed because they were jumping around so much. So they used to joke about it that when they got up to Taunton, some of the passengers would get out and lie on the grass to recover their balance again, which is a story. I don't know how much truth there is to it but the 7000's were only on that run for a couple of weeks. The 4100's went back. The 41's, of course, had Bay State trucks under them (as does 4387, ed) so they used to bang over those ends of the rail joints and such things, but they'd bang over them but they didn't sway. So, nobody got sick riding them. 

July 1, 2004. PWM

September 13, 2003. PWM
Video below is the full video of Andy Dolph's recording of the July 5, 2014, Seashore Trolley Museum 75th Anniversary Trolley Parade

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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