Saturday, November 3, 2018

Train Door Questions and Restoration Update - Narcissus - 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban 11-2-2018

Here is Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI) No. 10, Arbutus
in Lewiston in June 1914 with PLI staff. Take note of the
train door seen on the No. 2 end. It has an interesting
window set up. The upper window is able to slide down
in order for the conductor to reach out to access the trolley
pole rope without opening the door. On the lower half of the
door is a metal plate for the arc headlight to attach to.
Photo from the O.R. Cummings Collection

Here is a close-up. We need to build
one train door from scratch. We have
one original train door from the 
Narcissus, with an incomplete set
of the window sash and no hardware.
From the O.R. Cummings Collection
Seashore Trolley Museum Library.

The Arbutus with a clear view of the No. 1 end
train door with the arc headlight attached.
Photo from the O.R. Cummings Collection
Seashore Trolley Museum Library.

The Narcissus is currently being restored at the Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. The Narcissus, along with nine other historic Maine railway vehicles, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. The Narcissus was built in 1912 at the Laconia Car Company Works in Laconia, NH. The original order was placed in April, the same month the Titanic set sail and sank, and when Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, first opened. Portland-Lewiston Interurban passenger service commenced on July 2, 1914. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914.

     The Portland-Lewiston Interurban ended electric railway service, eighty-five years ago on June 28, 1933. J. Henri Vallee purchased the body of the Narcissus, minus all the mechanical and electrical components, in the later 30s for use as the family summer camp in Sabattus, Maine. The Narcissus arrived at Seashore Trolley Museum on October 31, 1969. Forty-nine years later, we are making major progress in the restoration of this historic Maine transportation icon.

We have an arc headlight available for use with the
Narcissus. See the rear of the light where the brackets
are that attach to the metal plate on the train door.
Ernie Eaton image.

Here is the exterior of the lower portion of
the original train door from the Narcissus. You
can see the two bolt holes on each side where
the metal plate attaches. Notice the wire
extending from the bolt hole on the right.
This is a ground wire that travels through
the wood to the lower hinge. See image
below. PWM image

Ground wire protruding from the where the lower
hinge attaches to the door. We haven't found
where the headlight wire plugs into its source.
Usually, the outlet is on the exterior. If you
have an idea of where the outlet may be 
placed, please let me know. PWM image

The inside of the Narcissus train door.
There are two window sash. The lower
sash is designed to have a sheet of
glass and to have screws secure the
window sash to the door frame.
Notice in the top right corner is a
hole and the outline of a component
that would be used to manually 
allow the outer window of the door
to slide down or to lock the
upper window in a closed position.
We are in need of the mechanical
component to operate the window
properly. The
upper inside sash is designed to not
have a sheet of glass. The door
and sash of the three windows
are mahogany. PWM image

Close-up of the hole and outline of the
missing mechanical component that
allows the conductor to lock the 
outside train door window in the upper
(closed) position, or when activated, releases
so that the upper window may slide down 
(open) so that the conductor might reach
through the top of the train door to access
the trolley pole rope from inside the
car. We are in need of the mechanical
component to operate the window
properly. PWM image

The hole as seen on the left corner of the inside lower
sash of the train door. 
We are in need of the mechanical component to operate the
exterior upper train door window properly. PWM image

We will need to build a replacement
exterior upper train door sash from
mahogany that will slide up and down
PWM image

This is what we have of
an interior upper sash for
the train door. This can be
repaired and will be used to
replicate a new one. It will
also, be used as a guide to
replicate two longer versions
that will also be modified
to accept a plate of glass.
PWM image

The No. 2 end of the right
side steel channel. The steel
channels on both sides will be
replaced. PWM image

     Click here to see the post of the removal of the right side sill - includes a short video.
     Click here to see the post of removal of the left side sill.

The two new 37-foot steel
channels each weigh 550-
pounds. Waiting to be moved
into the shop. PWM image

The two new 37-foot steel
channel waiting to be moved
into the shop to have the
holes drilled prior to being
positioned for installation
as structural support for the
side sills of the Narcissus.
PWM image

A number of the vertical
posts that are the wall studs
for the passenger
compartment need repairs or
need to be replaced.

This ash board was part of 
a major order of green ash
purchased for the Narcissus
and delivered on December
9, 2015. The ash has been
stored while it dried and has
been used periodically
over the past year for use
making various repairs or
for making replacement
components, like the
the vertical wall studs.
PWM image

On the inside of the passenger
compartment between each of
these vertical posts is a 
mahogany veneered covered
panel. The surviving panels
are now receiving attention.
PWM image

The surviving passenger panels from the
exterior walls are receiving attention.
Several panels will need to be made to
replace missing panels. The inside
mechanical seat end-plate of each
seat base bolts to one of these panels.
PWM image

Here is an image of one of the
 20"-wide mahogany boards
that were used make the
segments needed to make the
large arched sash that holds
the ornate leaded stained
glass windows for the
1912 Portland-Lewiston
Interurban, No. 14, Narcissus.
PWM image

Some of the rough-sawn mahogany arch-halves
were cut from the wide boards, then allowed to
set for several weeks to "settle". The sides would
then be planed flat prior to next steps. Below are
a series of short videos showing those steps.
LS image.

 Click Here to see the blog post on the first steps of the mahogany sash work.

Lary Shaffer in his woodworking shop marking rough-sawn
mahogany boards that he will then plane straight. These
boards will be finished to be the bottom sash to hold the
large arched ornate leaded stained  "eyebrow" windows
for the Narcissus. LS image.

Each of the rough-cut mahogany boards
are compared to a straight edge for 
curvature issues. Slight bows or curls
can be planed away while still leaving
the board with the adequate thickness
needed for the next steps in working
towards a finished bottom board for
the sash to receive the large ornate leaded
stained glass windows for the Narcissus.
LS Image

Lary running the mahogany boards through the planer.
LS image.

The bottom boards and the arch segments are each checked
for thickness after a run through the planer. Each must be
straight and flat and not below the minimum thickness in order
to be used. LS image.

Here the planed candidates are for the sash bottoms. LS image

First video with Lary explaining the next steps
for preparing the arch sash segments. PWM video

There are lefts and rights
awaiting the next steps.
PWM image

This mahogany is beautiful. The photo doesn't capture
the full luster this planed arch has. PWM image

Short video of Lary and next steps. PWM video

Once each rough-sawn arch segment and bottom board was
marked with an outline, each was cut along the outside of the
line, prior to the next steps. PWM image

Every step in making these sash segments is extremely
time consuming and takes focus and patience. PWM image

Short video of Lary and the next steps.
PWM video

Short video of Lary and the next step.
PWM video

Short video of Lary and the next step in preparing
segments. PWM video

Two jigs on one baseboard. There are several jigs that Lary
designed specifically for certain tasks in preparing the
mahogany sash segments. This set up is for one of the
arch segments to be run through the shaper to remove excess
wood. One jig is to remove wood on the inside of the arch
and one is for removing wood on the top side. A different
pair of jigs is used for a "left" arch segment and a "right"
arch segment. PWM image

Short video of Lary using one jig to remove
excess wood from the top side of an arch
segment. PWM video

Short video of Lary using one jig to remove
excess wood from the inside of one of the arch segments.
PWM image.

Museum of Mass Transit is celebrating its 81st Birthday year in 2020! 
Special Events are scheduled  - Public operations start on May 2, 2020. 
Click Here for the 2019 Events & Special Activities for the 80th Anniversary Season, with hot links

Click Here for 2019 Special Events 

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

A resource for teachers. 
     We are working with the Maine Historical Society to create State-standard-based lesson plans for classroom use in grades 4, 5, 6, and 7. We hope to have the vocabulary for the various grades released soon and to unveil the full lesson plans early in 2020. In the meantime, the teacher resource post has a listing of online references for people, places, and events that are referred to throughout the book, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride - written with a focus on using vocabulary words and sentence structure that might be useful in classroom studies for students and teachers in grades 4 to 7. Though, there are numerous words, sentences, topics, and references that students and teachers in a variety of grades, as well as readers of all ages, will find useful and of interest. 

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 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
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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