Monday, February 18, 2019

1901 Tower C Boston Elevated Railway to STM in 1975

Is that a 1901 switch tower from the Boston Elevated Railway
seeming floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?  
Yes, but not in the middle of the Atlantic, but cruising 
along the New England coastline making its way from
Boston, MA to Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport,
Maine - November 1975. Richard Brilliante Photo

     Seashore Trolley Museum is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year! So, to commemorate this milestone, from time to time I'll release posts that focus on a particular event or timeframe or acquisition during the Museum's 80 years. This post will delve into the details of the 1975 acquisition of 1901 Boston Elevated Tower C. Text and photos for this post are from the Museum's 1975 annual report, several issues of the Museum's newsletter, The Dispatch, personal photos courtesy of Mark Forman and Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins:), other sources will be tagged accordingly...enjoy:) 

Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year - The Birth of Seashore Trolley Museum
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year - Seashore Trolley Museum 1939-2019
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the 50s -Seashore Trolley Museum
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year - A Look Back at the 60s  -Seashore Trolley Museum
Click Here for the post - 80th Anniversary Year -A Look Back at the '70s -Seashore Trolley Museum

Tower C at Seashore Trolley Museum - July 19, 2018 - PWM
1901 - Tower C Boston Elevated Railway Boston, MA
Switching Tower (copper clad) - Designed by the
 architect was Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr., Maine
native and nephew of Maine's famous poet,
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Here is the complete story as told in the 1975 Annual Report of the New England Electric Railway Historical Society (NEERHS) (the 501c3 Maine non-profit education organization that owns and operates, Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine).

Tower C - The Preservation and Moving of a Transit Landmark

In its original location at Keany Square curve Boston
looking south toward Tower C Photo circa 1960
Courtesy of Sharon Cummins via Boston City Archives.

     With Boston's new Haymarket North rapid transit extension nearing completion, time was running out on the old Boston Elevated's once famed Charlestown El. Our Museum's normal reaction to such an abandonment would have resulted in the preservation of one or two pieces of rolling stock or in certain instances, the reproduction of sections of catenary typifying and making use of materials from a once famous line - a section of the Liberty Bell route or of the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern. Rolling stock was out of the question here - the 1100s would simply move over to the new "Orange" line and the surviving old timers, from Sullivan Square carhouse to Forest Hills, and eventually, to Wellington. Tackling the removal of any of the desirable track layouts was considered inadvisable because of the hazards involved in working on the elevated structure.
     Always of interest and yet in an entirely different category were the few surviving wayside stations and structures that typified the original section of the line. Built to endure and to embellish in their ornate Victorian way this daring new form of Rapid Transit, no expense was spared to make them pleasing to the eye and in conformity with the tastes of the day. This policy was extended even to the two-story interlocking or signal towers. By chance, a photograph had come to light of such a signal tower being lowered to the street in the Roxbury area for dismantling. Of special note was the fact that although it was not too carefully rigged, it was coming down almost intact and in one piece! An even more handsome one, designated as Tower "C", at the Boston approach to the Charlestown Draw Bridge would soon be phased out. Perhaps it could be taken to Maine and serve as a fitting memento of the line!
     The Tower's location at Keany Square had been a significant one in the early days of the Boston Elevated Railway, as it was one of the two junction points of the Main Line and what was originally the Atlantic Avenue Loop. Alert tower-men aligned switches from this vantage point according to one of three market light designations displayed by approaching trains and controlled crossovers for turning back trains for frequent delays caused by the then numerous openings of the drawbridge. Surface rail transportation beneath the tower was equally heavy and diverse with Charlestown, Chelsea, Revere, Lynn, and Salem trolleys operating in continuous succession to say nothing of Bay State, Boston & Worcester, and Springfield Street Railways' trolley freight cars shuttling in and out of the nearby Copp's Hill Wharf terminal. Boston El tank cars pulled by work cars hauled loads from the ill-fated molasses tank until its demise. To top this off, Union Freight R.R.'s Climax engines hauled boxcars to and from adjacent market and waterfront areas.
     The (Museum) Public Trustee, Edward Dana, former Boston El President, recalling his cadet-trainee days at Tower "C" and its once strategic role, wholeheartedly threw his support into the project. Conferences with MBTA General Manager, Joseph C. Kelly and Director of Planning & Construction, R, G, Davidson held in June of '74 assured our Society of the Authority's willingness to cooperate with us in our attempt to preserve this structure. The building would be donated on a provisional basis, provided that it could be reasonably ahead of the demolition schedule for that area, to be established at some later date. At this point, the project-to-be received a valuable ally in the person of Eugene Victory, an experienced and highly competent rigger from Salem, MA, who from his first visit to the Tower enthusiastically volunteered his services. Feasibility studies were made as to how the building might be lifted off intact and the project outlined to the (Museum) Trustees. Approval to pursue the plan further was given contingent on sufficient outside financial aid or assistance being obtained as Museum funds for capital outlay were already allocated elsewhere.
     The most promising route lay in gaining support from the manufacturers of railway signaling who might be willing to set up Tower "C" as a permanent display of their equipment, similar to exhibits that used to appear at annual Electric Railway conventions. One manufacturer immediately declined, but the other showed interest. More intense and detailed planning of the project followed, the pace accelerating after the final trains to Everett ran on April 1, 1975, and late June when all power was shut off. Firstly, the building had to be cleared out especially as the lower floor had been used as a storage area for years and material lowered to the street after traffic has subsided. Then interlocking equipment for the future display had to be procured - Tower "C's" having been removed at some earlier date by the Authority. Equipment from the also abandoned Tower "M" at Everett Station, donated for the purpose was promptly removed and put into storage. Demolition of the elevated was awarded to Cleveland Wrecking in late June and shortly thereafter a timetable set up with the Keany Square structure scheduled to "go" the week following Labor Day.

     A real crisis developed when the signal company, prompted for a definite commitment, replied in the negative. Had not Mr. Charles Richardson of Perini Corporation been contacted at the suggestion of friends in the Authority, the entire project might have collapsed. One of the major contractors in the area and of past help to the Society, Perini Corporation also has a marine division and terminal in nearby East Boston. Although no longer operating tugs, they did, nonetheless, offer the use of their barge which proved to be quite adequate for the 13'8" x 16'8" building. From that point on, the operation not only became a possibility but, at least in its initial phase became an over the water move. The nearby Old North Church was a reminder that just 200 years earlier a signal from the Tower was to tell whether the British Army was leaving for Lexington and Concord by land or by sea! As attention then turned toward the problem of lifting the Tower down from its perch in one piece, a further suggestion was made to the Planning Committee that the J. F. White Contracting Company be contracted who are building the new Charles River dam alongside the Charlestown draw bridge - their President, Mr. Philip Bonnano, intrigued with the idea, volunteered the use of their heavy duty crane and its operator - pieces were falling into place.
     Shortly afterward Newsome & Company, the Boston public relations company, so instrumental in helping out Society acquire the Montreal observation car, contacted Eastern Gas & Fuel, owner of Boston Tow Boat Company and in due course we were assured the service of a tug from the loading point to, at this point, a yet to be determined destination. One important link remained to be forged - the transportation of the Tower the short distance from Keany Square to the water's edge, which would be resolved by using a low-bed trailer rig.
     Although there was no question as to the final destination of the Tower - the Society's property at Kennebunk(port), Maine, it soon became apparent that attempts to line up any further assistance in getting the Tower beyond Boston harbor would be of little or no avail - one basic thing had been achieved however. A workable plan had been devised to remove the building to another area without having to resort to extensive dismantling while it was up on the elevated structure.
     Two more obstacles remained to be hurdled before proceeding with Phase 1. The first and most obvious was what to do with the Tower in the interim period and to avoid unloading and reloading it again if possible. Several more conference with Mr. Richardson and others of Perini Corporation eventually produced an "OK" to store it "temporarily" at their East Boston Yeard, whether on the barge or removed to dry land in the yard to be determined later. Then there was the more difficult than the normal task of securing the permit to partially obstruct traffic in the area. City Hall balked at the prospect of such a project tieing up Keany Square even on a Sunday - with a possibility of it spilling over into a Monday morning rush hour. The day was saved by the guaranty volunteered by the J. F. White Company that they were involved and judged the operation feasible. By now Museum Trustees, impressed with the corporate help being offered and growing members' interest as the El was beginning to disappear, agreed to underwrite part of the costs.
     Work resumed in earnest to get the Tower ready for the lift off a Cleveland Wrecking moved ever nearer. Access to the area, once along the structure, was now denied as catwalks had been torn up by workers to permit salvage of feeder cables. Instead, Eugene Victory's ladder was raised evening after evening just at the tail end of the rush hour. All extra weight was jettisoned, and upper windows removed to permit emplacement of the spreader beams to protect the ornamental roof overhang. A passing MBTA "Cherry Picker" crane paused long enough to hoist the tow I-beams up. Evey possible timber, bolt, cable, and pipe in any way securing the Tower to the El structure was cut away - or so it was thought. the slings of 3/4" wire rope were made up and huge quantities of Crosby clamps - not so easy to find in a hurry - were used. The LIFT-OFF was now scheduled for Labor Day Weekend - and none too soon as Cleveland Wrecking was scheduled to start there shortly. Activity reached fever pitch as the count down began - only two left to go. The police precinct, now thoroughly aware of what was going on, was most cooperative. Public interest was growing - all who had volunteered individual and corporate help were alerted for Sunday, September 7.
     Prayers were answered with the sun rising on the most beautiful of all possible days that Sunday morning. Eugene Victory's Mack truck and Gifford's tractor and low-bed trailer, also from Salem, were positioned before traffic began to build up. Both the MBTA and the Police Department were alerted - their reactions a mixture of relief and disbelief that the Tower would finally be removed. Not only was the operation drawing a fair number of sidewalk superintendents ane enough Seashore personnel to have passed for an Annual Meeting but there were other activities afoot that day, too. Protest marchers were crossing the Charlestown High Bridge en route to City hall taking all possible press and TV coverage with them. On the good side, a considerable expense was saved as the police detail to have covered our project was unavailable. All was in readiness. The Perini barge moored near the bridge, the tug to be available by simply a phone call, and the crane to start moving from across the bridge at 12:00 noon.

     So well rehearsed was the entire operation that all went as planned, the only delay being caused at the most dramatic moment when, after several tugs of the crane, the Tower failed to budge. Upon closer examination, a steel clip still securing the building to the structure had managed to escape notice. It was promptly dealt with, hitting the paving with a loud clang. Moments later the crane's diesel groaned again this time followed by creaks from the Tower. The spontaneous cheering of the crowd now assembled indicated that indeed at 3:45 p.m., Tower C was free from the structure, complete in one piece and not disintegrating as predicted by some of the experts.
     From then on, everything seemed to fall into line like so much clockwork. As the Tower was being lifted onto Giffy Russells' low-bed, a quick call to Boston Tow Boat was placed to come and position the barge beneath the Charlestown High Bridge just before the draw span. 

Loaded on a flatbed trailer is Tower C, after having been 
removed from the El structure at Boston's Keany Square.
At lower right, are Brad Clarke and George Sanborn.
(Brainerd Photo)

     In the meantime, the J. F. White crane was repositioning itself so that the crane boom could pluck the Tower from the low-bed and place it onto the barge now being pulled away from the carwash wharf and being positioned. Again, one could never have asked for a better chain of events. Everything went all OK. Many on the scene will never forget MBTA employees "Doc. Sweezey," who volunteered his efforts to unshackle the Tower from the crane as it was being positioned onto the barge. Both he and J. F. White crane operator displayed the best of their professions. Within a matter of twenty minutes, the Tower was placed on the barge and unshackled from the crane.

Tower "C" is about to be lowered onto the waiting barge for its
Phase 1 trip to Perini's yard in East Boston.  Brilliante photo.

Easy does it! Tower C is lowered from the Charlestown Bridge
onto the barge which eventually carried the historic structure
all the way to Kennebunkport. (Brainerd Photo)

     The crane returned to its homesite nearby at the Mystic Dam site and the Tug Cabot chugged across the harbor with Tower Cin tow, a sight never to be forgotten. Thus ended Phase 1 of the Tower C sage.

Tower C is cruising down the river on a Sunday afternoon,
shown on the Charles River as it heads for temporary storage
in East Boston prior to being moved to Maine.
(Brainerd Photo)

     The next question was how to get it to Kennebunkport and to the Trolley Museum property. One thing was clear from the start. At some point, the load would have to be divided. even if part, if not all of the rest of the trip would be made over land, thirty foot overhead clearance would be unobtainable. A longer delay in route than was anticipated, held the Tower at the East Boston yard and on the barge. The Society must be doubly grateful for the extreme patience of the Perini Corporation and their personnel who watched over it during this several month periods. A feasibility study was made of moving the building in two sections entirely over land. Permits simply couldn't be lined up for such a three-state move, to say nothing of costs involved. The only alternative, the trip by water posed three problems. First, it had to be a round trip as the barge, once free of its load, would have to return to Boston. Secondly, the tug must be of a sufficiently shallow draft to negotiate the channel from the breakwater to the port, only 14' deep at low tide - and finally, the Tower would have to be moved in two sections from the dock to our railway museum property. Insurance restrictions and marine laws prevented this from being done while the Tower remained waterborne. Instead, with the move by sea now firmed up, Perini's yardman tied the Tower down with three large cables run through the second-floor window openings, with large steamboat jacks to hold the cables tight during the trip. Right from the start Seashore member, Steve Margolis, operator of the Arundel Wharf Restaurant, had obtained permission for the use of the parking  lot at Williamson's Wharf in Kennebunkport as a staging area for unloading of the Tower and the reloading of it in two sections for the short but vital final lap of the journey overland.
     Time and good weather for a sea move were passing rapidly while details were being worked out and the tow boat both right for the job and being available, were found. Services of a shallow-draft tug boat were offered to bring the barge the last part of the way through the channel to the dock by the contractor dredging the Kennebunk River, but litigation arose over the contract performance, putting them out of the picture, with their equipment impounded. At this juncture, another company with a suitable towboat was located. They had been doing subcontract work for the Cleveland Wrecking in demolishing the elevated where it crossed the Mystic River. All seemed to be set with permits and crane service and Seashore members' time lined up to move the Tower the last leg of the journey - then without warning the towing company backed out. Discouraging as the delays were becoming there was one redeeming factor - available funds for the project were building up and enthusiasm within the Society mounting.
     The operation was finally bailed out by a suggestion from the idled dredging company at Kennebunkport to contact Dixon Towboat Company of Weymouth, MA. As in Phase 1, from this point on everything fell in line. The Dixon Company said that they would do it at a very favorable price and the biggest selling point was that their tug, Sanita, only drew 9' of water, consequently, it could come up the river in one move. Weather permitting, Mr. Dixon planned the move on October 30th. Again, the crane service in Maine was turned on along with lining up the necessary police escorts and highway permits. But the weather kept delaying the moving 24 hours at a time due to rough seas. Finally, Sunday, November 2 was to be the day.
     The tug, Sanita, arrived at the Perini East Boston Yard at 4:50 p.m. on Sunday evening, November 2nd, 1975, taking just twenty minutes to pick up the barge and with Museum official photographer, Richard Brilliante, aboard to record this historic event. The barge and Tower were taken alongside tow to facilitate going beneath Chelsea Bridge and through the narrow inner harbor. Shortly past Deer Island, Captain Robert Dixon took the barge and Tower C as a stern tow. Once the sun had set, Tower C took on the appearance of a haunted house following the tug. Throughout the night, the Sanita's powerful searchlight kept tabs on its tow, 300-feet astern. The barge rode the ocean with only a gentle roll and steadier than had been anticipated. Tower C being 30-feet tall and weighing 18 tons was thought to be topheavy. to everyone's surprise, it towed very gracefully. The shoreline lights of the New England coast could be seen throughout the 15-hour trip to Kennebunkport. Navigation was done by a combination of charts, radar, compass, and buoys with three compass bearings for the voyage.
     The Kennebunkport breakwater was reached by 7:30 a.m., the trip taking approximately 15 hours with an average speed of 5.3 knots. The barge with Tower C was again side towed to have more control going into the narrow breakwater of the harbor and into the narrow channel of the Kennebunk River. After passing the breakwater, the inner channel became visible but turned out to be narrower and the tidewater running more swiftly that the charts had indicated. To make matters worse, the channel was also lined with a great variety of pleasure boats. At this point, Captain Dixon tied the tug and the barge to the Captain Mudd dredge, moored at the breakwater to await the harbormaster. About 9:30 a.m. Harbormaster Reid came out in a lobster boat and gave directions to Captain Dixon.
     Captain Travers, skipper of the tug attached to the Captain Mudd dredge, well acquainted with the narrow channel and the many obstacles that would be encountered, and taking into account emergencies that could easily arise, offered his assistance that proved to be most invaluable. The start upriver began at slack water (10:45 a.m.) to afford the most control so as not to damage any small pleasure craft moored along the channel. The trip upriver, although the shortest portion of Tower C's journey, proved to be the most hazardous requiring careful and exacting navigation and seamanship.
     Unloading time would be the most critical factor as the tug, due to the shallow depth, would have to leave the river no later than the beginning of ebb tide. This left about an hour and twenty minutes for the crane to lift off the Tower and the tug's departure. After tying up to the Williamson's Wharf, it was found that the crane was not tall enough to lift the Tower clear of the dock. Quick thinking on the part of Seashore members on the wharf, the Merrill Crane rigger, and Captain Dixon saved the day by directing that the wooden floats in front of the wharf be dismantled and moved aside to allow the barge to come three feet closer, giving the crane the added necessary height.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins

     At approximately 12:05 p.m., Tower C was lifted off and was gently placed onto one of the two, low-bed trailers waiting nearby. This left Captain Dixon only 1-15 minutes to clear the harbor.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

In Kennebunkport.
Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

Newspaper clipping of the arrival in Kennebunkport.
Caption reads: The right combination of sun and calm seas finally opened up to allow time for the old MBTA elevated railway tower to make its voyage from Boston. The 30-foot high copper structure arrived safe and dry in Kennebunkport on Monday morning. There is was cut in half and trucked overland in two pieces to be reconstructed at the Trolley Museum to which it was donated by the MBTA.  Courtesy of Frank Handlen, via Sharon Cummins.

     The instant the Tower was unloaded, Museum members sprang into action to prepare it for the last leg of the journey - some 3.2 miles over local streets and highways from the wharf to the Museum property. For the rest of the afternoon, incessant buzzing of power saws indicated that Tower "C" literally was being cut in half. Such a step was necessary so that the Tower could be transported over the highway with sufficient clearance for the many low wires and utility cables. The separation was made at a point below the second-floor window sills, the upper section, ornate roof and all being swung over by crane to the second trailer. Barely completed by dusk, the first low-bed, with the lower section aboard threaded its way to the Museum property, where the operation had to be "secured" for the night.

Tower C at Williamson's Wharf 
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

Tower C at Williamson's Wharf 
Making the cuts to separate the top
so the two sections are able to be 
trailered to the Museum.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

Tower C at Williamson's Wharf preparing to separate the top.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

Tower C at Williamson's Wharf preparing to separate the top.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

Tower C at Williamson's Wharf preparing to separate the top.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

Tower C at Williamson's Wharf preparing to separate the top.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

And we have "lift off" - Tower C at Williamson's Wharf.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

The lower section of Tower C makes its way to the Museum.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman

View of Tower C as it's being lifted.
Photo courtesy of Mark Forman.

     Early the next morning the second trailer left Williamson's Wharf and proceeded via the same route to the Museum property. By now another crane had arrived at the Museum and set about placing the lower section of the building on its interim resting place - the second section, having arrived, was reunited again in less than 24-hours. All of this transpired before noontime, November 4, 1975.

Windows and doors on the second floor of Tower C are
reinstalled by Seashore grebes on Sunday, November 9, as the
temperature soared into the 70s. (ORC Photo)
(ORC is O. R. Cummings...PWM)

Comptroller Tom Ford surveys the Seashore and Jack Wallace
domains from Tower C, shown in its temporary location.
(ORC Photo)

     To out Society, well versed in moving rolling stock and material, this epic move of a building had presented a real challenge. A landmark significant in Boston's transit history had been preserved - and moved - and the Seashore Trolley Museum had gained a priceless treasure, its first authentic structure that will be put to good use in the years to come. We are much indebted not only for not only the help received from the MBTA and the many others outside of our Society as heretofore mentioned but to Public Trustee Richard Berenson for his valuable guidance and to the Museum trustees, George Sanborn who masterminded much of the project and Mike Lennon who supervises the technical aspects of it.

From the May/June 1975 Dispatch
Tower C, on the now-abandoned North Station-Everett
Station "El", as photographed by member Mike Shavelson.
This tower has been of particular interest to Seashore as
a possible operating display. (Of course, we'd really
like to have Sullivan Square Station - but!)

From the September/October 1975 Dispatch (the photos and descriptions from this issue will be included in the text of the annual report above...PWM).
     Tower C, at one time the busiest control and interlocking tower on Boston's rapid transit system, has completed the first leg of its journey from Hub's Keany Square to its home at the Seashore Trolley Museum.
     Donated to Seashore by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Tower C was lifted off the elevated structi]ure on Sunday, September 7 (1975), placed on a barge and towed to temporary storage in a contractor's storage yard (fully protected) in East Boston. It will remain there until the means are available to move it to Maine, hopefully soon.
     The move from Keany Square to the temporary storage area was accomplished largely through the efforts of Seashore trustee George M. Sanborn, who is also MBTA librarian. George obtained the donated services of a professional rigger and the free use of a crane and barge. Many other Seashore types also participated in the project or donated funds in order to help give the Museum an exhibit that can serve as communications, surveillance, and dispatching center.
     (Complete details on the moving of Tower C from Keany Square to East Boston will be presented in the November/December (1975) issue of the Dispatch.)
     However, funds are still needed to help defray the costs of the Keany Square-East Boston move and also to transport Tower C to Maine.
     Incidentally, according to the Elevated Division chronology, there have been two Towers Cs. The first, placed in service on August 22, 1901, when the Atlantic Avenue elevated was opened, was destroyed by fire on July 17, 1902. Speedily rebuilt, the tower was restored to service on August 18th and was active until October 1, 1938, when all Atlantic Avenue elevated service was permanently discontinued. Demolition of the Atlantic Avenue "EL" commenced in January 1942 and by June 10th of that year, all that remained was the section between Keany Square and North End Park on Commercial Street. This was left in place until 1955 when it was demolished. As all Seashore types know, the main line elevated between North Sation and Everett was abandoned on April 7, 1975, with the opening of the new Haymarket
North Extension to Sullivan Square and demolition of the structure through Charlestown already has started. And, if present plans are carried out, it may not be too many years before the main line elevated between Dover Street and Forest Hills also becomes a thing of the past.
     So, again, your help to bring Tower C the rest of the way to Seashore is earnestly solicited. 

From the November/December 1975 Dispatch
Stop The Press!
     Tower C left Boston in the late afternoon on Sunday, November 3, and arrived at Kennebunkport about 14 hours later. Speedily unloaded and separated into two parts, it was trucked to the Museum property the same day. Its temporary location (and perhaps its permanent one) is east of the hedgerow near the ticket booth and the visitor's parking lot. A complete report on the entire Tower C project is promised for the January/February 1976 issue of the DISPATCH.

From the January/February 1976 Dispatch
     (Cover Photo)
Towed by the tugboat SANITA, Tower C goes sailing over the bounding main as it heads from Boston to Kennebunkport en route to Seashore. Member Richard Brilliante, who rode on the tug, snapped this fine at sea view as well as all others on the cover and those appearing on Page 6.

Front Cover of the January/February 1976 - All Photos by Richard Brilliante

Photos by Richard Brilliante

Tower C on the right early evening June 15, 2018 - PWM

     In 1989, Northampton Station followed Tower C to Seashore Trolley Museum. Perhaps, the story of its trip will be in a future blog post release :)

May 1901 - Northampton Station
Courtesy of Sharon Cummins via Boston City Archives

Restoration work continues on the Narcissus. The Narcissus is more than 100 years old now and has so many incredible stories to share. The restoration is but one.

     The Narcissus is featured in the national Gold Award-winning novel, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride. The "Elegant Ride" is the Narcissus. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus on August 18, 1914, between Lewiston and Portland, Maine, during campaigning for the Progressive Party candidates. June 2020 update

Independent book publisher, Phil Morse, holding
the Gold Book Award Winner plaque for
 the Middle Reader category for The Eric
Hoffer Book Award. Congratulations to
award-winning Maine author,
Jean M. Flahive

     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 page

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
Sherman's Maine Coast Book Shops - All locations

Teddy Roosevelt, Millie, and the Elegant Ride
by Jean M. Flahive
Illustrations by Amy J. Gagnon

     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.
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 

Award-winning author, Jean M. Flahive


Click Here to read the post - Coveted Blueink Starred Review  - Notable Book - January 20, 2020

Click Here to read the post - Three 5-Star Reviews from Readers' Favorite posted on January 6, 2020

Click Here to read January 24, 2020 - Four-Star Clarion 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

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.

     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)
Thank You!

MUST-READ! - Click Here 

   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. 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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