|Your Visit||The Museum||News & Events||Exhibits||Collection||Education||Museum Store||Get Involved|
Portland-Lewiston Interurban 14, Narcissus
from Portland, Maine
About the Project
Maine's finest and fastest electric railway, the Portland-Lewiston Interurban (PLI), commenced operation on Thursday, July 2, 1914, its 34.6 miles of track extending almost north from a connection at Monument Square in Portland, to a connection at Union Station in Lewiston. Operations concluded on June 28, 1933, after carrying nearly 7 million, 302 thousand passengers.
The body of the lone surviving representative of the PLI interurbans, No. 14 Narcissus, was acquired in 1969 by Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Beginning in 1965, and over the ensuing years, components and other pertinent materials to the restoration of the historic PLI icon have been obtained, and in some instances, preliminary restoration work has begun. The Museum is now prepared to have the Narcissus enter the restoration shop to implement the plan of work to restore this historic treasure to operating condition for public demonstration.
You can follow this project at: Narcissus 1912 Renovation Project
With its direct connection to the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, its trucks being donated as a gesture of international goodwill, and its stature as the sole surviving representative of one of New England's most elegant interurban lines, the Narcissus stands tall as an historically significant representative of Maine's electric railway network.
|Please consider supporting the Narcissus...|
The goal is to have the Narcissus completely restored, to operating condition, in the spring or summer of 2019 and have it participate in a dedication ceremony event in conjunction with the recognition of the 100th anniversary of Colo. Roosevelt's death.
We have broken the restoration into three areas of focus/phases, the exterior, the interior, and the trucks/electrical/brakes (trucks is the term for the wheels, axles, and motors assembly). The Narcissus is scheduled to enter the Museum's restoration shop in January 2015. The first of the three phases is to complete the restoration of the exterior of the Narcissus in 2015/early 2016, with an estimated budget of $120,000. We are actively fundraising for the Narcissus Project and are happy to report having raised $10,000 in the fall and in December was awarded a $10,000 matching grant by the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation in La Canada, CA. In addition, On Sunday, January 25, the Narcissus received a Heritage Grant for $2,000 from the Amherst Railway Society at their annual Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, MA.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be providing information about the progress of the Narcissus project with pictures, videos, and with written updates. We will be adding additional historical research data and interesting tidbits of information.
The Museum will also be host to a special fundraising event for the Narcissus project on the weekend of July 31 through August 2, 2015.
History of the Narcissus
|Poem to the PLI - 1939|
Maine's finest and fastest electric railway, the Portland-Lewiston Interurban, commenced regular operation on Thursday, July 2, 1914, its 29.8 miles of main track extending almost due north from a connection with the Cumberland County Power & Light Company-leased Portland Railroad Company in Portland through West Falmouth, West Cumberland, Gray and the town of New Gloucester to Auburn and a connection with the Mechanic Falls line of the Lewiston, Augusta & Waterville Street Railway. The cars operated between Monument Square, Portland and Union Square, Lewiston, 34.37 miles, and the initial two-hour headway soon was replaced by hourly service which was maintained until the line was abandoned. The connections in Portland and Auburn were known as Deering Junction and Fairview Junction, respectively and from register stations at both points conductors called the dispatcher in Lewiston for orders.
Six passenger cars on hand on the opening day consisted of six 36-foot double truck coach "smokers." The car bodies arrived in Portland in January 1913, being placed in storage in a temporary wood frame carhouse until the late spring of 1914 when they were towed to Lewiston to be equipped with trucks, motors, controllers and air brake systems and otherwise made ready for operation.
Because of interurban promoter W. Scott Libbey's desire that each car have a distinct personality and not be identified just by number, all six were named after flowers. No. 10 was the Arbutus; No. 12, the Gladiolus; No. 14, the Narcissus; No. 16, the Clematis; No. 18, the Azalea; and No. 20, the Magnolia. A seventh coach-smoker, No. 22, acquired from Wason in 1920, became the Maine.
Each of the original cars was 46 feet long overall and 8 ft. 3/4 in. wide and had steam coach roofs and straight vertically sheathed sides. There were seven arched windows - six double sashes and one single sash - on each side, the sashes being arranged to lift. The arches above the sashes and the windows in the roof clerestory were glazed with ornamental leaded glass. The exterior livery was Pullman green with gray roofs and dark red doors and trim and gold leaf numbers and lettering.
On Tuesday, August 18, the Narcissus carried what probably was the most distinguished passenger in the Portland-Lewiston Interurban's history. Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, while in Boston, set out on a day trip to northern Maine, campaigning for the Progressive Party. He was invited by the interurban management to inspect the still new railway, riding from Lewiston to Portland with brief stops in New Gloucester and Gray. The former chief executive addressed gatherings of townspeople at each stop. Upon arrival in the Forest City, "Teddy" voiced his pleasure over the "bully" ride he had enjoyed and gave motorman Charles H. Mitchell and conductor Joseph N L'Heureux, best known as "Joe Happy," each a tip of $10, a not inconsiderable amount in those days.
The Narcissus still was active when the Portland-Lewiston Interurban was abandoned on June 28, 1933. Three months later, on September 27, the railway properties, including all rolling stock, had been sold to H. E. Salzburg Inc. of New York City, a railroad salvage concern, and dismantling of the property began shortly thereafter. A number of car bodies were sold to private parties and among them was the Narcissus, which eventually became the summer home of J. Henry Vallee near Sabattus Lake in the present town of Sabattus. Mr. Vallee agreed to part with the Narcissus, if the Museum would have the shell of a replacement cottage constructed; after a major fundraising effort the deal was consummated. The Narcissus arrived at the Museum in June of that year and while some efforts at restoration have been made, completion of the task requires major funding.
In Search of...
During the restoration and development of educational materials, we will be on the hunt for evidence, artifacts, pictures and personal stories of Theodore Roosevelt and his visits to Maine. We're specifically looking for...
|Please consider supporting the Narcissus...|