May 27, 2021
As the years went on we made some serious strides at the museum.
I found I enjoyed connecting the community to the Museum through having the Museum host events. One event in particular that I started will be celebrating its 23rd year this fall: Pumpkin Patch Trolley.
In 1998, I started organizing a plan to bring the Museum's "mother" trolley car, Car 31 of the Biddeford & Saco Railroad, back home to the tri-town area during 1999 for a week-long home tour to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the saving of the trolley and starting the Museum. Car 31 traveled around Biddeford & Saco & OOB during the week, culminating in the La Kermesse Parade and being at the weekend event.
2001 was the first of seven years that the Museum hosted the Southern Maine Library Districts summer reading celebration. Former First Lady Barbara Bush was the guest reader for that first year. 2,300 visitors listened to her reading a children’s book that was created at the Trolley Museum: “Grandfather’s Trolley” by Bruce McMillan. That was an event I organized and was the emcee.
Before that though, I started working to move the Narcissus Project forward. The Narcissus is the name of the 109-year-old electric interurban trolley, No. 14, of the Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad (PLI). It had been a family's summer camp at Sabattus Lake for 35 years before it arrived at Seashore Trolley Museum on October 31, 1969. The restoration of the sole-surviving member of the PLI's high-speed, luxury interurbans began in 2015. Restoration of this majestic icon of Maine's electric railway history continues at Seashore Trolley Museum, along with many other historic electric railway vehicles from around the world.
The Narcissus Project has a connection here in Saco. One of its sister interurbans, Arbutus, was here in Saco at Bay View from late 1933 until 1946. It was scrapped in 1946. Some of the leaded stained glass windows from the clerestory roof were saved and amazingly found their way to Seashore Trolley Museum in 2002. Glass from many of the Arbutus windows were used to restore the stained glass windows of the Narcissus. The emotions I felt while handling the beautiful ornate leaded stained glass windows got me thinking about various strategies I could take that might produce an emotional response from others and perhaps then generate financial support for the project, so I got to work.
I found a local stained glass artist helped restore the ornate, beautiful windows of the Narcissus. I also worked with a Thornton Academy alum who created a major graphic arts design project for the Museum exhibit panel that promotes the book I independently published, Teddy Roosevelt, Millie and the Elegant Ride, to benefit the Museum and the Narcissus Project. Our skilled staff and volunteers continue the arduous tasks associated with analyzing acquired replacement components to provide options for the best steps to a successful outcome.
Through volunteering, I’ve been able to kick my comfort zone to the curb. I’ve loved interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds who see things from different perspectives and explore options we’d never consider otherwise. I’ve discovered I possess this drive to push things and uncover ways to create new projects or successes. The Seashore Trolley Museum has been my source for feeding that need in me to challenge myself and continue learning and pushing the limits. I've been an active volunteer for 25 years and have been honored to be a member of the Maine Volunteer Roll of Honor for several of those years, I'm really proud of that. I can only hope my boys are too and that I’ve set an example for them to do amazing things.