Sunday, February 10, 2019

2018 - Narcissus Work Year End Report

The Narcissus in early November 2018. The 37-foot long
left side-sill and attached steel channel have been removed and
separated from each other. Both will be replaced. The 550 lb.
steel channel on each side was easier to find then the two
37-foot old-growth southern yellow pine sills. Both will
be time-consuming and physically demanding to prepare,
position, and reinstall. PWM

     The Narcissus was built in 1912 in Laconia, NH and operated on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI) between the two cities from 1914 to 1933. This luxury, high-speed, wooden electric interurban with its exquisite interior was appointed by the intrepid builder of the PLI, W. S. Libbey. Libbey also personally named each of the original six coaches after his favorite flowers. Theodore Roosevelt was a passenger on the Narcissus during a trip from Lewiston to Portland on August 18, 1914.  

Click Here to go to the year-end summary of outreach activities for the Narcissus 2018

Theodore Roosevelt from the train doorway on the No. 2 end
of the Narcissus, addresses the gathered crowd in Gray, Maine
on August 18, 1914. Photo courtesy Gray Historical Society

     The Narcissus retired from public operations on the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI) eighty-six years ago. Following its life in public service, the body of the Narcissus was moved to Sabattus, Maine and became the family summer camp of J. Henri Vallee for about thirty-five years.

Far right - J. Henri Vallee and family members inside the
Narcissus circa 1964. Photo courtesy of Daniel Vallee

     Fifty years ago, the Narcissus body arrived on campus at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, on October 31, 1969.

The crew stops at Allen's Farm Store in West
Cumberland as they are on their way to the
Museum from Sabattus October 31, 1969.
Photos courtesy of Kathy Allen Merrill

     The Narcissus is currently under restoration at the Museum and is on track to be completed in the fall of 2021.  Once the restoration is completed, the Narcissus will serve as an operating testimonial to Maine"s Finest and Fastest Electric Interurban Railroad.

Morrison Hill Station was built in 1915 for use by passengers
using the Portland-Lewiston Interurban in West Cumberland.
Used mostly for the local schedule, the Narcissus would have
stopped at this station from time to time til 1933. What a
fitting venue to stage the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating
the completed restoration of the Narcissus. PWM

Narcissus Updates & News

     The Narcissus 1912 Project Blog celebrated its third full calendar year as 2018 cames to a close. Total page views passed 190,000 at the end of December (2018). This is an increase of 75,000 views since the end of 2017. The blog was created for the purpose of reaching out to a large number of folks, through the power of social media, to introduce them to the Narcissus Restoration Project. 

     The Narcissus Project blog posts include updates on the restoration of the Narcissus, which is currently taking place at Seashore Trolley Museum's Donald G. Curry Town House Restoration Shop in Kennebunkport, Maine. Posts also include topics; on the connections that Theodore Roosevelt has here in Maine, the PLI and its connections to the communities it served (Portland, FalmouthCumberland, Gray, New Gloucester, Auburn, and Lewiston), the builder of the PLI; W. S. Libbeyother electric railway systems in Mainepeople of Maine that had an impact on electric railway development here in Maine, and the Seashore Trolley Museum.

     Hopefully, as the restoration continues over the next three years, these posts generate interest from readers to become engaged in the Narcissus project and spread the word of the project and perhaps support the Narcissus financially. For information on donations options, scroll down the page until you come to that section. We are currently fundraising for the interpretation programs that will be created to tell this fascinating 100+-year-old story of the Narcissus. Please help by making a donation Today:)

2018- Another Year of Progress

Narcissus Project Manager, Phil Morse (L) holding the
matching grant check of $40,000 from 20th  Century Electric
Railway Foundation with Donald Curry (R) and the
Narcissus in the background. Photo PWM - January 2018

Left to right - Bryan Conley, Mary Libbey
Conley, with Arthur Jones. Mary Libbey
Conley is a great-granddaughter to W. S.
Libbey. Thank you to Arthur Jones and Joe
Brogan, Founders of the 20th Century Electric
Railway Foundation for believing in the
Museum as we continue the work on the
Narcissus. So many donors, like the Conleys,
made the Foundation match possible through
their generous donations to the Narcissus
Project. Thank you, to all the donors,
grantors, and businesses that continue
to help the Narcissus ❤❤
Photo courtesy of Mary Libbey Conley

     First, we'll take a brief look back at one of the earliest blog posts featuring the beautiful leaded stained glass window restoration work done in 2014 & 2015. Deb Caron Plourde, at Sundancer Stained Glass in Saco, Maine did the restoration work on the forty ornate leaded stained glass windows for the Narcissus.  Then we'll share progress made and plans developed in 2018.

The restoration work on the stained glass was completed in
2015. I didn't want you to forget just how wonderful they are!
All 26 clerestory stained glass windows were temporarily in
A glimpse of the wondrous experience in store for us upon
completion of the restoration of the Narcissus. PWM

An Original Book, featuring the Narcissus, to be published in 2019 

     A new pursuit in 2018 included expanding our efforts to generate interest combined with revenues for projects, through publishing original books that have a storyline that may feature a collection item and or the Museum. With financial support from an outside source, and working through Maine Authors Publishing in Thomaston (ME), a contract was signed early in 2018 with award-winning Maine author, Jean Flahive, to write a young reader (grades 3-7) historical fiction chapter book. The storyline features a young girl in Gray (ME) during the years 1911-1919 when the Portland-Lewiston Interurban came through town and her encounter with Theodore Roosevelt while he was a passenger on the Narcissus. By the end of 2018, the manuscript draft was completed. The book is expected to be published later in 2019. Our hope is that this book will be appealing to a broad audience, but in particular, to schools in Maine during Maine’s upcoming Bicentennial celebration year (2020).

Award-Winning Maine author, Jean
Flahive has completed the draft of the
manuscript of her new young readers,
historical fiction chapter book, which
features a young girl from Gray and her
encounter with Theodore Roosevelt when
he was a passenger on the Narcissus.
Image courtesy of Jean Flahive

Maine DMV is selling a Bicentennial commemorative license
plate for use over the front plate of registered vehicles in
Maine. The new young readers' historical fiction
chapter book featuring the Narcissus is expected to be
published in time for release in 2020. PWM

These charming ladies all rode on the interurbans of
Portland-Lewiston Interurban when they were young girls
growing up in Gray, Maine. Two nonagenarians and one
centenarian. The interview took place on Saturday
morning, June 23, 2018, at the Gray Historical
Society. PWM photo.

     With the ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completed restoration of the 1912 Portland-Lewiston Interurban, No. 14, Narcissus set for the fall of 2021 at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, plans for creating the interpretation portion of the Narcissus project are a high priority. And no planning is more important than working to identify individuals that may be available to tell us, first-hand, what their experiences were growing up in a community that had the services of the interurbans of the PLI. 

     On Saturday, June 23, 2018,  at the Gray Historical Society, it was an honor to interview, collect, and record accountings from three residents of Gray who were young girls during PLI operations. Organized by the Gray Historical Society's President, Donald Whitney, Don was able to make arrangements to have his Aunt Elizabeth, and two peers to be interviewed. Pictured in the image above, L-R, is Miriam Bisbee, Charlotte Verrill Frost, and Elizabeth Whitney Megguier. The ladies had family members and some family friends in attendance during the interview. An audio version of the interview was recorded and later professionally transcribed for the collection of the Gray Historical Society and for Seashore Trolley Museum. All three ladies had ridden in PLI interurbans and perhaps had ridden in the Narcissus. From this gathering, through Elizabeth's niece, Aubie Dingwell, we learned the name of the young girl in Gray that tossed the bouquet of sweet peas into the Narcissus for Theodore Roosevelt on August 18, 1914! Marguerite Morrill Duplisea (1903-1986) tossed the bouquet and the accounting of her action, as reported in the newspaper on August 19, 1914, was the inspiration for creating the book that is now scheduled to be published in 2019.

     During 2018, we began looking ahead towards developing interpretation offerings that include engaging exhibits, displays, and educational programs pertaining to the Narcissus and the numerous PLI-related storylines. The first step is to identify where and what artifacts, photographs, and other ephemera might be available to us. During the summer of 2018, we first identified more than 30 different organizations that have or may have collections which could be helpful to us in developing these various interpretation offerings. Nearly half of the organizations have been contacted and have replied to our request. A special thank you goes to dear new friends Kathy Allen Merrill and Nancy Wilson Latham for their commitment of time in researching archives and their sense of humor :) One of the organizations is the Maine Historical Society (MHS). MHS has a number of collections that have PLI-related files. Their CMP Collection (Central Maine Power Company owned a number of electric railways in Maine, including the Portland-Lewiston Interurban) includes 200 linear feet of archival materials listed in a 300-page bibliography. In late December (2018), we received a preliminary report from the MHS researcher on contents pertaining to specific PLI-related files in their CMP Collection. Review of the pertinent files will be made in 2019.

There are two major artifacts from the Portland-Lewiston Interurban that will be crucial resources to have available as we create the interpretation programs for the Narcissus Project. Both artifacts require professional conservation and repairs prior to being professionally photographed. We will then have the high-quality digital files in the Museum Library archives for use in creating exhibits/displays and education programs for the Narcissus Project. The two artifacts are:

    Original Elevation & Grade Map of the PLI. On November 15, 2017, I had the honor and pleasure to meet with Mr. Paul Libbey. Mr. Libbey, a nonagenarian, is the grandson of W. S. Libbey, Sr., the builder of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. Mr. Libbey was very generous and made a donation to the Museum of the original map of the elevation and grade of the right-of-way of the  Portland, Gray & Lewiston Railroad (became Portland-Lewiston Interurban in 1914). The map is 28.5 feet long and one continuous roll of paper. The map is extraordinary and sorely in need of conservation. An appraisal of its condition and an estimate totaling $11,000 to professionally conserve, repair, and photograph the map was provided by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover (MA).

    A photo showing a portion of the original hand-drawn map
    of the elevation and grade of the Portland, Gray and
    Lewiston Railroad (which became the Portland-Lewiston
    Interurban in 1914). PWM photo

    The Employees of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban Scrapbook. Starting in 1938, for four consecutive years prior to the U.S. entering WW ll, the former PLI employees and their families attended an annual reunion in Gray (ME). All were encouraged to submit PLI-related items to share with the gathered attendees. A scrapbook was made to hold these submitted items. This scrapbook is about 28-inches by 23-inches with 112 pages. More than 200 photographs, numerous newspaper clippings, hand-written notes, poems, PLI-related ephemera, etc., are attached to pages in the scrapbook. The contents are incredible. Flipping through the pages, looking at the photos, reading the poems, news clippings, personal notes, and cards, one can’t help but become sentimental, nostalgic, and grateful. Grateful to Charles Heseltine and those PLI employees and their family members that provided these personal keepsakes for inclusion in this amazing scrapbook. Charles Heseltine then entrusted the scrapbook to O. R. Cummings, who in turn entrusted the scrapbook to the Library at Seashore Trolley Museum. All items in the scrapbook have condition issues and need conservation. An appraisal of its contents condition and an estimate totaling $26,000 to professionally conserve, repair, and photograph the contents was provided by the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover (MA).

    Cover-page of the large scrapbook created by Charles D. Heseltine, using photos,
    newspaper clippings, original ephemera from the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI);
    including poetry, personal cards, notes, and notations from employees and their families.
    My understanding is that Heseltine passed the scrapbook on to O. R. Cummings, who in
    turn, passed it on to the New England Electric Railway Historical Society's (NEERHS)
    LibrarySeashore Trolley Museum is owned and operated by the NEERHS in
    Kennebunkport, ME

    The scrapbook has several pages dedicated to reunions of the former PLI
    employees and their families. There are four reunions specifically
    cataloged; June 29, 1938, June 29, 1939, June 30, 1940, and
    June 28, 1941. All four of the reunions were held in Gray, ME. 1938
    and 1941 reunions were held at the Newbegin Hall (seen above). The
    1939 and the 1940 reunions were held at the Pennell Institute Gymnasium.
    It is noted in newspaper articles of the times, that combined, the total of
    former PLI employees and their family members that attended each of the
    reunions in 1939 and 1940, well exceeded 100 in attendance.
    The image above is from the final annual reunion, 1941.

     Restoration work
         In January, we received an updated draft of the Preliminary Paint Analysis Report that includes several painted finishes on the exterior as well as the interior of Narcissus and also from the Arbutus clerestory sash. This is a working document that will continue to be updated until the report is finalized. There are several new pieces of information in this January 18, 2018, report updated from the initial draft dated November 15, 2017.

         Above - One of several pages of analysis details of the samples analyzed
    for use in determining final choices for Narcissus finishes. Image from
    Amy Cole Ives, President, Sutherland Conservation & Consulting -
    Augusta, ME

    A test sample of the dark Pullman green that will be the
    exterior color on the Narcissus. The above are of the same
    sample in a different light. During their operating years
    on the PLI, the interurbans were sometimes called the "black"
    cars.  The color is definitely shiny. Depending on the light,
    the color changes from nearly black to an olive green. PWM

         On February 27th we received an email from 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation which included an RFP invite to submit an estimate; for the total costs associated with all aspects of work, materials, etc. with a timeline, to complete the restoration of the Narcissus. We had thirty days to submit the request. The thirty day-window to generate specifics estimates of time, labor and costs for all components and tasks remaining related to completing the restoration was a formidable task. Below are general accountings of the many, but by no means, all of the details that were researched, assessed, and then assembled into a spreadsheet that included estimates of costs and time to complete, which in turn then was summarized in a proposal that was submitted on time for the principals and board members of the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation to review. 

    Undaunted by the Challenge 
          Here is the general accounting of a number of the tasks ahead in order to complete the narcissus restoration. This general explanation will help to give readers a better sense of the enormity of this complex restoration project; 

         The body of the Narcissus arrived on the campus of Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport on October 31, 1969. The body of the Narcissus had been purchased by J. Henri Vallee for $100 thirty-five years earlier for use as his family summer camp in Sabattus. 

    Narcissus next to Shop 1 at  Seashore Trolley Museum
    during its removal from the "Highway Monster" trailer.
    Next, it would be placed on trucks acquired from Canada. 

         By 1934, the Narcissus had been stripped of all mechanical components to make it "go" and to "stop". Both original trucks were scrapped and virtually all metal components/accessories/piping, whether formerly attached to the exterior of the coach body or within its interior, had been removed including; all seats and mechanical accessories and overhead luggage racks. Mr. Vallee did retain a few seat bottom cushions and back seat cushions, some of the ornate leaded glass and passenger windows and sash, also brass door handles, light sockets, hinges, window and door latches, screws, etc. Wiring for 120-volt (AC) household use was inserted throughout the inside the body.
         In 1965 (four years before the Narcissus arrived on campus), the Museum did acquire a set of trucks from Canada, though not a match for the original trucks, they were considered strong candidates for use by the Narcissus. Two additional sets of trucks have been acquired over the years that were also considered to be possible candidates for use by the Narcissus. Other major electrical and mechanical components would be salvaged/acquired in the later 60s and over many years.

         Photographs play an important role in helping us identify components, placement of components, and in establishing a timeline based on changes made with respect to components. 
         Above left, inside the Laconia Car Co.-built, Arbutus. Right, Narcissus 2015 - sister to Arbutus.

         Based on the two images above, we are able to identify many things that are helpful in our search. Example - on the left, we can see the specific brass handles on the reversible seat backs. From that, we can then locate one from our parts department or a match with one that can be removed from a seat in one of the other electric railway vehicles in the Museum's collection, then use the match as a sample for having replicas cast at a foundry. This process of identifying individual parts, searching for samples or replacements, locating companies to provide estimates of costs and turnaround time, is incredibly time-consuming. On the right, we can clearly see the outlines on the floor where the oval-shaped bases of each seat pedestal were.  

    Each of the passenger compartment windows has a curtain.
    We have a number of the originals, but not all of them.
    Availability and estimates of cost for the materials to make
    replacements, and for any mechanical components needed
    is one of the many very time-consuming tasks that are 
    necessary for dozens and dozens....and dozens of
    components to complete the project.

    Above left, number 1 end of the Gladiolus.                 Right, the Narcissus. 

         The above exterior images are two of the several we have of the four Laconia Car Company-built interurbans that have been used to help identify Narcissus components and proper placement of components. We will need to locate or replicate many components; two retrievers (the round unit that holds and releases the rope for the trolley pole), brass/iron foot pegs (used for conductor/motorman to place foot to ascend to the roof of the coach), brass ends and wood handles at all doorways, metal steps, all accessories for the doors, metal trap doors need major repairs or replacement (and trap door accessories), and all components attached to the roof (and their accessories).
    The above-left image of the Clematis is helpful in preparing a spec-sheet to build a replica fender (fender in this image is the V-shaped iron component that clear debris that may be on the track). We have couplers for each end, one anti-climber (ribbed-iron piece attached to the bumper), and one bumper that is in very good condition and one bumper that needs major work or needs to be replaced. We have one original train door (seen in both images) with two of the three window sash. The above-right image is of a correct headlight for the Narcissus that was recently donated to the Museum.

    Identifying, locating, then creating estimates for components -

    The Narcissus will need two HL-15-B Westinghouse Multiple Control System controllers. Back in the late 60s, a trade of components was made with BAERA (Bay Area Electric Railroad Association) in Suisun, CA for two. These were recently located on campus and were extracted and will now be refurbished for use in the Narcissus. PWM

         It is difficult to narrow down specific estimates on items that haven't been located or ones that have been located but haven't been able to be extracted from its location as of yet in order to access its condition. An example is a reverser, as seen in the image above. We did locate one recently on campus in one of the very early storage buildings. The term "buried" comes to mind when thinking of making plans to move all the heavy components that have been placed strategically, surrounding and covering the reverser over the past fifty-plus years that must be removed prior to being able to extract the piece. 

    This Westinghouse Multiple Unit System - 8-unit switch box
    for use in the Narcissus was located early in the summer
    on campus, buried in a completely full of parts, BAR boxcar.
    The unit was acquired from Boston MTA Everett Shops as
    they were clearing out obsolete parts more than 50 years ago!

    1917 Westinghouse advertisement promoting
    the HL Control system

          We are grateful to donors like Boston's MTA, Gertrude Libbey Anthony, Paul Libbey, Forest Greenwood, Joseph Levigne, James & Robert Greenwood, Central Maine Power, Richard Budd, Charles Heseltine, and O. R. Cummings, who donated Portland-Lewiston Interurban-related materials to Gray Historical Society, Maine Historical Society, and the New England Electric Railway Historical Society (Seashore Trolley Museum). And to the many members of NEERHS, and other sister railway organizations around the country, over the nearly eighty years that have helped acquire, move, and store the many parts from destinations around the country to the Museum campus for use in restoring the mass transit vehicles at the Museum.

    The High Capacity Car Fuse Box on the left
    (Fig. 1804) is the type used in Narcissus. 
    The ones needed have been located within
    the inventory at STM.

         The Museum has had a very active parts department through nearly eighty years now. The Narcissus, like many previous restorations, benefits from the parts department by having many parts available for use in the restoration or for use as a template to make or cast replica parts. 

    Above left, an original destination sign from the Arbutus was donated to the Gray Historical Society by the late Mrs. Gertrude Libbey Anthony. Mrs. Anthony was the eldest daughter of W. S. Libbey, the builder of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban. Gray Historical Society allowed us to borrow the sign so that we could take measurements in order to create two replica signs for the Narcissus. Above right, a 3-D  drawing of the original sign brackets (that the four wooden panels attach to) was created and will be used to cast four new brackets to make the two new signs.

    There are two, six-foot, leather-upholstered bench seats in the smoking compartment and two, two-passenger, plush-upholstered bench seats attached to the bulkhead that separates the smoking compartment from the passenger compartment. No remnants of either of these seats or accessories survived. Vintage Electric Railway Journal articles or advertisements, and in some cases, looking at similar seating in other vehicles on campus, have been very helpful in learning about a variety of components, designs, patents, and in some cases, details of placements of components. 

    In July, we placed the order for the twenty
    brass seat handles for the Narcissus. Most,
    if not all the remaining brass components that
    need to be cast will be ordered in 2019.

        Preparation for the most challenging work to date on the Narcissus paid off in 2018 as the removal of the two thirty-seven foot long southern yellow pine side sills with their steel channel were removed. Replacement southern yellow pine timbers had not been secured by the end of the year.

    Above left has the left side sill and its steel channel separated from each other after their removal from the passenger compartment foundation. Above right has the right side sill and steel channel in the same position as the left side.

         New steel channel was positioned for preparation prior to its being installed. 

    Above left, the two new primed steel channel lengths awaiting their move into the shop. Above right, the new steel channel positioned next to the old channel on the left side and seen after the holes have been drilled. Click Here to see the post with the videos showing the holes being drilled using the
    magnetic drill.

     Gold leaf was used both on the exterior of the coach and on the interior. The interior gold leaf is on each center ceiling panel and each clerestory side ceiling panel. The exterior lettering and numbers were all gold leaf. Estimates were gathered for having the interior and exterior gold leaf done.

    Gold leaf fleur-de-lis in the corners of each of the
    center ceiling panels of the passenger compartment.
    Samples were taken and analyzed.

    Amy Cole Ives, president of Sutherland Conservation with
    gold leaf decorative artist, Tony Costa, examine the
    decorative gold leaf on one of the center ceiling panels from
    the Narcissus. PWM

    Measuring the original "N" in the gold leaf lettering. PWM

        During 2018, Lary Shaffer worked on making the replacement mahogany sash for the leaded stained glass windows in the passenger compartment. 

    Quality mahogany was acquired for use in making the sash
    for the large stained glass "eyebrows". One eyebrow is
    located over each pair of passenger windows. These boards
    are 20-inches wide and 19-inch wide and both are 4-quarters
    in thickness. PWM

    Lary Shaffer cutting one of the rough mahogany eyebrow
    "halves" closer to the measurement lines prior to shaping.

    Lary Shaffer also cut the long mahogany bottom rails
    of the large eyebrow sash.

    Various jigs for the shaper cuts.

    Lary Shaffer made this jig for being able to make
    precise cut on the end where the two "halves" join at the top.

    A trial joining of the various pieces is successful!

    Lary also repaired these exterior poplar arches that are on the
    number 2 end of the Narcissus. Each is above the single
    sash passenger window and hold the leaded stained glass
    mahogany sash.

    repair work started on the mahogany panels
    that were removed from the passenger
    compartment. One side of the seat bottom
    mechanism attaches to each panel.

    We have one nearly complete train door. The train door is the very narrow door at each end in the vestibule. The headlight hand on a bracket that attaches to the door. the lower window panel is secure and the upper window can be lowered. A new mahogany replacement will be built using the one original as a template.

    Twenty seat bottoms and backs will be built. Different springs are used in each. 

    Various components for the electric heater units
    will be cast and built from scratch.

    Luggage racks will be cast to mount along the length
    of the passenger compartment above the seats on each side.

    The proper headlight, in perfect condition, was
    donated to the Museum in 2018 and will be used
    on the Narcissus.


    Brake wheels and their components, and resistor grids were located on campus and extracted for use in the Narcissus after they have all been assessed, cleaned, rebuilt, etc. as necessary.

         The list goes on and on, seemingly never-ending. A lot of headway was made in 2018. To help guests that attended the 4th annual Teddy Roosevelt Days event to visualize where various larger components belong on the Narcissus, shop staff and volunteers placed photos and descriptions along the sills and other exterior components of the Narcissus.

    The photos were of the components and approximately where
    the component will be once the Narcissus is complete.

    There are a lot of components attached underneath the
    passenger compartment!

    The interlocking rubber tiles of green and red that are in
    the smoking compartment and down the center aisle of the
    passenger compartment was patented in the later 1800s.

    Typical brake layout

    The original trucks (wheels, motors, axle assembly) were
    scrapped in 1933/34. They were a very rare type of truck,
    with each containing two, 90-hp motors. The trucks shown
    above were acquired in 1965. There are two other sets of
    trucks that were also acquired and between them all,
    along with major engineering, a pair of trucks will
    be built for the Narcissus. Building trucks that have
    visual appearance, operational integrity, and
    adequate power and speed for use by the Narcissus
    will be the largest financial expense, with costs sure
    to exceed a quarter of a million dollars.

         In summary, a few weeks after we submitted our proposal to 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation for them to consider a major gift to the Museum in order to complete the restoration portion of the Narcissus project, we were notified that the Foundation approved the major gift. This major gift from the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation in California, to the Narcissus Project, will be the financial catalyst that will propel the restoration of this National Register of Historic Places electric railway icon to completion. Arthur Jones and Joseph Brogan, the principals and founders of the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation, have honored the Narcissus with their Foundation’s extraordinary gift. When fully implemented, the gift will fund the restoration to completion. The Foundation was created many years ago with its mission to benefit railway museums throughout the United States.

    Once its restoration is completed, the Narcissus, once a high-speed luxury interurban coach, its name and exquisite interior personally appointed by the intrepid builder of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, W. S. Libbey, will return to passenger service after being retired from the PLI in 1933. The revised timeline now has the Narcissus restoration scheduled for completion later in 2021.

    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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