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Maine History Online
MHS (Maine Historical Society)
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Trolleys Master Maine's Landscape

This Exhibit Contains 7 Items
1
Long Beach, York, ca. 1920

Long Beach, York, ca. 1920

Item 25236 info
Seashore Trolley Museum

With more than 40 inches of precipitation a year, almost 3,500 miles of coastline, and some 30,000 square miles of territory, Maine's rugged climate and abundant waterways have always presented challenges – and opportunities – for public transportation.

Each technological innovation – whether from horse-drawn streetcar to electric streetcar or sailing ship to steam ship -- offered unique strengths and limitations.

No one form of public transportation could serve all needs by itself. The key to success was integration.


2
Million Dollar Bridge, Portland, ca. 1916

Million Dollar Bridge, Portland, ca. 1916

Item 25156 info
Seashore Trolley Museum

Beginning in the colonial era, countless small "flats" or ferries shuttled people and carriages from shore to shore across Maine's numerous waterways.

The invention of trolleys and other rail transportation required the construction of sturdy bridges and trestles across streams and estuaries.

This 1916 postcard image shows two Portland Railroad Company trolley cars crossing what was then the new Million Dollar Bridge that connected Portland and South Portland.

Although electric railway service eliminated the need for ferries in some locations, the interface with schooners, such as the one docked at left, still enabled the efficient transfer of freight.


3
Cape Porpoise Trestle and Terminal, ca. 1900-1914

Cape Porpoise Trestle and Terminal, ca. 1900-1914

Item 29155 info
Kennebunkport Historical Society

Cape Porpoise was one location where freight was transferred from barges and schooners onto cars pulled by an electric locomotive.

Atlantic Shore Line Railway locomotive #100, for example, pulled cars loaded with coal from Cape Porpoise.

To enable ships to reach the docks, the outer harbor of Cape Porpoise was dredged in 1899 using $125,000 in funds appropriated by Congress.

Eventually the harbor silted in once again.


4
Trolley car in Scarboro, ca. 1908

Trolley car in Scarboro, ca. 1908

Item 25143 info
Seashore Trolley Museum

Electric railway companies invested in trestles to cross coastal waterways.

In 1897 alone the Portsmouth, Kittery and York Street Railway constructed 10 trestles. Call's Trestle, between Kittery Point and Cutts Island, stretched for 512 feet.

Many of the trestles were used for decades before they fell into disrepair.


5
Trolley Crew Clearing Snow, Cape Porpoise, ca. 1910

Trolley Crew Clearing Snow, Cape Porpoise, ca. 1910

Item 29149 info
Kennebunkport Historical Society

Heavy Maine snowfalls historically have challenged all forms of transportation. At times, horse-drawn sleigh traffic was limited to those roads where deep snows had been compacted by horse-drawn rollers.

In order to keep rails clear, locomotive-powered snowplows and sweepers removed snow for trolleys.

In the worst blizzards, even trolleys foundered. The 1932 Easter blizzard, for example, caused more than 20 trolley cars to derail in York County.


6
Portland, Gray and Lewiston Electric Railroad Station, ca. 1910

Portland, Gray and Lewiston Electric Railroad Station, ca. 1910

Item 28759 info
Seashore Trolley Museum

Between 1903 and 1910, intraurban trolleys were joined by interurbans, which ran between New England population centers at relatively high speeds.

Interurbans provided farmers, fish distributors, and logging companies with another way to ship crops, hay, and timber more quickly and directly.


7
President Roosevelt at Gray, ca. 1912

President Roosevelt at Gray, ca. 1912

Item 28739 info
Seashore Trolley Museum

The 31-mile long Portland-Lewiston Interurban Railroad, which began operation in 1914, boasted one of the most progressive interurban technologies in its day. It could reach speeds exceeding 70 mph.

The interior of this well-appointed passenger car, named #14 or the "Narcissus," was furnished in mahogany with ebony and holly inlay.


This Exhibit Contains 7 Items
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