Seashore Trolley Museum’s History

Seashore Trolley Museum’s History

Longer version: History of Seashore Trolley Museum & History of Vehicle Collection 

Brief Timeline

1939 black and white trolley ride The Beginning

Founders acquired Car 31 from the Biddeford & Saco Railroad, and brought it to Kennebunkport.


1940s   The Collection Grows

Collection now included both New England country trolleys and city cars.

trolley car by boat

Car 279 – a gift from the Mayor of Rome, Italy – on its way to Seashore


1950s  World-class Collections & Public Operations

Collection now included significant national and international cars.  Rides were offered to the public.  Regular restoration work began.


1960s  Now a Museum of Mass Transit

Buses and trackless trolleys are added.  Carbarn construction began in earnest.


1970s  Improved Visitor Experience

The main line was expanded.  Restorations become more significant.  The present Visitor Center was built.

Fairview Carbarn early on in its construction.

Fairview Carbarn early on in its construction.


1980s  Growing Expertise

The shop now took on major restoration projects.  There was a new focus on interpretation of the collection for the public. The Society became a resource to the transit industry.


1990s  Expanded Public Programs

New special public events were offered.  The Talbott Park loop was built.  A library department was formed.

Aerial view of Talbott Park

Aerial view of Talbott Park


2000s  New Outreach

The National Streetcar Museum at Lowell was established as a satellite operation.  Seashore began promoting and guiding the reintroduction of streetcars nationwide.  New educational programs and exhibits were developed.


2010s Strategic Management

Gleaming new roof on the Townhouse Restoration Shop.

Fairview Carbarn Expansion – Scheduled for construction in 2017.

Leaders focus on preserving, protecting, and presenting collections and buildings.  In 2016, the Town House Restoration Shop was improved. Improvements at Fairview Carbarn are planned to begin in 2017.