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Wentworth by the Sea:
The Life and Times of a Grand Hotel
by J. Dennis Robinson

ADVANCE BOOK ORDER NOW
Arriving mid-April 2004

Wentowrth by the Sea history book

You have waited patiently all year. Now it's time to pre-order your copy signed by the author. The first edition will be in limited supply, so order now via PayPal directly from SeacoastNH.com.

260 b&w illustrations
130 years of history and more
hardcover with dustjacket
230 pps with intro & full index
8 pp color insert
glossy stock, large format
includes New Caste *& Wentworth family history
the untold story of the Campbell Family owners
Treaty of Portsmouth details
Smith Family Era
the Limbo Years

$35 + $4.50 shipping/handling
(Continental USA only)


 

COMING IN APRIL: Once listed among the nation's most endangered historic properties, Wentworth by the Sea is back. Today New Hampshire's most famous seaside hotel is a touchstone to the past. This carefully researched and highly readable volume traces the hotel's first 130 years. Included are over 250 photographs and illustrations, with early never-before published images

VIEW: Sample Chapter 7  Online
 


We almost lost the Wentworth !

For two decades, as the twentieth century faded, Wentworth by the Sea hotel teetered on the edge of extinction. New Hampshire’s oldest seaside resort, built in 1874, was listed among the nation’s most endangered historic properties. The aging Victorian loomed empty and silent on a rocky bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Only a few staunch preservationists dared hope for its survival. Then suddenly the hammers rang out. Starting with the original wooden shell, a thousand workers rebuilt the Wentworth into a modern luxury hotel and spa. It reopened just in time for its 130 th birthday.

This is much more than the tale of an old wooden hotel. Wentworth by the Sea is a survivor, intimately linked to the history of the Portsmouth area and its people. "Wentworth House" is the largest structure in the smallest town in the state. Formerly "Great Island", New Castle was once the colonial capital of New Hampshire. Locals say that Fort Constitution, just down the road, is the site of the first battle of the American Revolution. Across Little Harbor, New Hampshire’s first settlers landed in 1623. Today New Castle retains the character of the ancient fishing village it once was.

This too is the story of the proud Wentworth dynasty of royal governors who loaned their name to the hotel. It takes shape in the dreams of Sarah and Charles Campbell, the original owners, whose hopes were dashed in bankruptcy in 1877. It takes form in the hands of "robber baron" Frank Jones, Portsmouth’s ale tycoon. He spared no expense to reshape this Colonial Revival treasure, adding steam-powered elevators, the first electric lights and luxurious water closets. Here in 1905 the Treaty of Portsmouth delegates stayed, both Japanese and Russian, while negotiating a successful peace to a distant war as the world watched.

This volume traces the hotel’s fascinating history under a dozen managers -- including James and Margaret Smith who owned the Wentworth for 34 years. It follows the lives of guests and staff from the Gay Nineties to the Roaring Twenties, through wars, the Great Depression, the Space Age – and into the Internet Era. Once New England’s exclusive summer paradise for the wealthy, Wentworth by the Sea attracted presidents, famed performers, even a prince. Today it thrives again and remains a touchstone to New Hampshire’s past.

Carefully researched, illustrated with over 250 images and written in lively prose, this fast-paced volume reads like historic fiction. But every word is true.

AUTHOR BIO
J. Dennis Robinson is owner and editor of SeacoastNH.com, one of  New England’s most popular regional Web portals. A teacher, columnist, lecturer and video producer, he has published over a thousand articles about Maine and New Hampshire history and culture. He lives in Portsmouth with his wife Maryellen.

VISIT: Our Wentworth by the Sea section

Copyright  ©2004 SeacoastNH.com .

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