Sunday, August 18, 2019

1911 Nagasaki Tram No. 134 Renovation & Arts Integration Experience - Intensive Week Summary

Donated to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1960, by the
Nagasaki Electric Tramway Co. Ltd. of Japan to
commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of
trade between the United States and Japan. Built in 1911,
No. 134 originally operated in Osaka, being transferred to
Fukuoka in 1929 and to Nagasaki in 1953.

Text and photos for this blog post came from Facebook posts on Seashore Trolley Museum's page, Seashore Trolley Museum archival sources, and this blogger.

     In August (2019), Seashore Trolley Museum hosted a week-long Nagasaki Tram Renovation & Arts Integration Experience.  Led by local artist and new museum member, Ann Thompson of Friends of Aomori. With a grant from the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Arts Commission, the idea to transform Nagasaki tram No. 134 was off and running. Fine Paints of Europe was a generous donor to the project with their donation of nine gallons of paint for the makeover.

     Several Seashore Trolley Museum members and volunteers were inspired by the energy around this project and donated their time to work alongside the six youth artists from the community who applied to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Together these young minds - Thalia Tucker, Metis Tucker, Blake Pennington, Carlie Hutchins, Amy Bradford, and Nia Farago-Dumsch - took the lead and transformed the tram outside and in. Outside by applying a new coat of paint and inside by creating woodblock printmaking to tell the story of one of the tram's operators, Wada Koichi, who lived in Nagasaki pre- and post-World War II, that would be on display inside No. 134 after a fresh coat of paint was applied.

Inside No. 134, left, seated, museum volunteers and staff,
standing, Ann Thomson, and seated right, the six students
that participated in the intensive week-long Arts Integration
Experience at Seashore Trolley Museum.

     A little background on No. 134 and its travels to Kennebunkport, Maine from Nagasaki, Japan.

No. 134 spec sheet with description.

Nagasaki (Japan) Street Car No. 134 was being
demonstrated to some of the many guests that
attended the presentation ceremony when the photo
was taken in 1960. The scene is just north of Clough
Crossing on the mainline. Note the bow trolley. The
car was shipped via the United States aboard the
Pioneer Minx. Shelvey photo

     No. 134, which was built with vestibules, has straight, vertically sheathed sides (instead of the convex-concave panels) and a railroad roof, the last so-called because it was traditionally used on steam railroad coaches before being applied to streetcars. The monitor, instead of ending abruptly with the flat board or window that was a vestige of the horsecar eyebrow, continues over the vestibule, tapering down to the roofline at the end of the car.
     No. 134 has longitudinal seats but these are very short to permit a maximum standing capacity. The truck on the car was built in the United States and it is equipped with General Electric motors. 
     When shipped to the United States from Japan aboard the SS Pioneer Minx, it was protected by a giant, wood-slatted crate to prevent its being damaged in transport.

     Letter Below:
New England Electric Railway Historical Society        25 April 1960 
Biddeford Road
Kennebunkport, Maine

Dear Sir :
     It is a pleasure for me and my company to be able to favorably consider your request and to present to you free of charge our streetcar #134.

     The streetcar concerned must be happy to join her friends from all over the world in your museum.

     At the time we saw her off, our local newspaper reported the event as a wedding with the headline, "Nagasaki Streetcar Becomes a bride in the United States".

     I hope personally and in behalf of all the employees who have loved her that she will be happy and well forever under your kind and thoughtful care.

Kansuke Wakiyama
Nagasaki Electric Tramway Co. Ltd.
43 Dekidaiku-machi
Nagasaki, City, Japan

     Photos with descriptions that explain the project.

Day 1
Standing, Lyell Castonguay, guest woodblock printing expert,
with the six students participating in the project, in the
museum's upstairs meeting room in the visitor center.

Day 2 - included students priming the exterior of Nagasaki tram No. 134 in the morning, a midday Skype interview with Janice Nimura, author of Daughters of the Samurai, followed by an afternoon continuing to refine their drawings for the woodblock narrative installation that will later be displayed in No. 134.

Day 3 - Morning painting continues, followed by classwork as they begin carving their woodblock prints and watch the movie, The Cats of Mirikitani for additional inspiration.

Day 4 & 5 - More painting and carving.

Day 6 - Painting was wrapped up in the morning followed by a midday Skype with Susan Southard, author of Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, then they continued their woodblock work and refinements of the work in the afternoon. 

Day 7 -The Celebration - Students and museum volunteers and staff prepare No. 134 for the 4 pm celebration and install the woodblock prints with captions inside 1911 No. 134 from Nagasaki, Japan. Taiko Maine Dojo performed at the celebration. Scroll down these next few pages and see the incredible work these young artists were inspired to create. Stunning!

Ann Thomson may be reached through

     Work on exterior components of Nagasaki tram No. 134, not included in this amazing project, still require your help. You can help with needed repairs to replace the canvas on the roof and apply a fresh coat of paint, repairs to one end of a vestibule and recreating roll signs.
     Please consider a donation to help complete these exterior repairs. Visit and designate your gift to the Nagasaki Tram, fund #773.

Special thanks go out to Restoration Shop Technician Heidi Schweizer for taking the lead on the restoration half of the tram project and to volunteers Jim Mackell, John Mercurio, Karen & Ed Dooks, and Tom Tello for working alongside the students. Thanks to Restoration Shop Team, led by Randy Leclair and Brian Tenaglia, and the Yard Department Crew, led by Dan Vardaro and Ricj Pascucci, for helping relocate No. 134. 

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.


  1. Hi All,

    That is great, and what a great concept to have it painted as an art project. Wonderful.

    I helped paint that same car back in the late 1970's, it was not an art project !! It was a project. We only painted the exterior. Another shop person was Cliff. We both worked on the car. Maybe others, I don't recall that part.

    What you all have done is truly wonderful. It will be a wonderful exhibit car.

    I always wondered what effects remained from being so near the atom bombing. Interesting to see the art interpretations that came out of this. Will they stay as a part of the exhibit ? I may have missed that answer.

    Well Done !! Nice looking car !! Yah Team.

    Karl johnson

  2. Karl,
    Roof repairs and new canvas is being installed currently. If donations continue to arrive, other needed repairs will also take place. The woodblocks are currently on display at Saco Middle School...future plans are open, but having the woodblocks be displayed in the car have been part of the discussion. No final decisions yet.