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Special Collections: Guide to the Lion Locomotive Collection

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves
March 2008

Collection title: Lion Locomotive Collection
Collection number: MS 1461
Dates of collection:
Size of collection: 2 boxes
Restrictions on access and use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval


The locomotive Lion was built in 1846 by Isaac Hinkley in Boston. It operated on the Whitneyville & Machiasport Railroad, carrying lumber from 1846 to 1890. In 1897 it was sold to Thomas Towle of Portland, Maine, for scrap and was then purchased by the city of Portland where it appeared in the Fourth of July parade in 1898. It was accepted by the trustees of the University of Maine around 1905 and in 1928 was housed in the newly-constructed Crosby Hall on campus. Professor W.J. Sweetser of the Department of Mechanical Engineering took an interest in it and researched its history and construction. The locomotive remained in Crosby Hall until 1967 when it was removed during a renovation of the building. It was transported to the University of Maine at Machias in 1975 as part of a bicentennial celebration and in 1986 became part of the collection of the Maine State Museum in Augusta.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence about the locomotive, its history and its transfer from place to place. The earliest letters, from 1937 to the 1950s, are to and from Professor W.J. Sweetser, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine and H.D. Watson, head of the mechanical engineering department. Later letters are from Louis Ibbotson, librarian at the university, John R. Lyman, chair of the mechanical engineering department in the 1970s, and university presidents Arthur Hauck and Howard Neville.

The collection also includes information about the history of the locomotive, newspaper and journal articles and photographs.

Contents of Boxes

Box 1


1 Correspondence, 1937-1974
2 History
3 Glass plate negatives (Located physically in Box 2)
4 Prints from glass plate negatives
5 Photographs
6 Illustration of Holmes Hinkley
7 Newspaper articles
8 Articles, etc.
9 Lion commemorative medals, 1995

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/18/2015
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