Guests on the Porch of the Original Wentworth Hotel
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Guests at Wentworth Hotel / Presents
Historic Portsmouth #253 

Although ale tycoon Frank Jones did own this New Castle summer resort for over two decades, he did not build it. The original Wentworth Hotel, seen here, was built by Sarah and Charles Campbell. They had long operated a seasonal inn at their large house on Campbell's island just across the channel from Rye. (Continued below)


The tourist boom of 1873 convinced them to borrow heavily, nearly $50,000, and secure land rights to the bluff nearby. Their hotel opened in 1874 and was a simple boxy structure surrounded by a porch and topped with an observation tower. A large dining room projected toward the back cove. But the Campbell's had not prepared for the high cost of running the Wentworth, named for the aristocratic family that had once ruled colonial New Hampshire. When tough economic times followed, the Campbell couple was forced to sell out to Frank Jones who immediately poured in $100,000 worth of improvements. Jones added the distinctive towers and mansard roof, steam powered elevators and advertised his hotel as the most luxurious on the Atlantic coast. Restored in 2003, the modern Wentworth by the Sea still contains this early structure within its walls. (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum from Wentworth by the Sea: The Life and Times of a Grand Hotel by J. Dennis Robinson)

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Wentworth Hotel Newcastle in 1870s (c) Portsmouth Athenaeum


Detail 01/ Portsmouth Athenaeum

 Detail 02 / Portsmouth Athenaeum

Detail 03 / Portsmouth Athenaeum

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