Seashore: A Brief Timeline

Seashore Trolley Museum Business Partners1939 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

Fairview Carbarn early on in its construction.

Fairview Carbarn early on in its construction.

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


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

Aerial view of Talbott Park

Aerial view of Talbott Park

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


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 – Began in 2017 and Phase 2 was completed at the close of 2018.

Leaders focus on preserving, protecting, and presenting collections and buildings.  In 2016, the Town House Restoration Shop was improved. Improvements at Fairview Carbarn began in 2017 with Phase 2 completed in late 2018.


2020s A New Direction

The museum underwent a comprehensive process to develop a 5-year Strategic Plan, selecting nine restoration projects and eleven capital projects to focus on over the next five years. Capital projects include building a new year-round Exhibit Hall and Library & Archives building, a new bus exhibit space, renovating Tower C, a new exhibit space for our rapid transit collection called “Coney Island” and a new family picnic and play area. The pandemic didn’t slow us down; museum staff and volunteers took advantage of the “down time” from only being able to open four days a week to the general public and instead made great progress on the New Direction projects, positioning the museum well for the future!

For more, check out the Archive of all available Seashore Trolley Museum Annual Reports