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Wentworth Hotel
The Bostonians Take Over
Harvey & Wood Brochure, circa 1902

Gloss After millionaire owner Frank Jones died in 1902, Hotel Wentworth was owned by his estate. A series of companies managed the property beginning with the Boston firm Harvey & Wood. The images in this gallery are from their brochure, likely from 1902. At the time the brochure was issued, the owners listed their offices as Hotel Bellevue, on prestigious Beacon Street in Boston, about an hour away by car today and the same at the turn of the 20th century by rail. The American Hotel Company also noted its corporate mailing address as Fifth Avenue in New York City. Other Harvey & Wood holdings included the Passaconnaway Hotel nearby (York, Maine), The Sippewissett (Falmouth, Mass), Hotel Pemberton (Hull, Mass) and the other Jones Estate hotel, the Rockingham in Portsmouth, NH.

There is surprisingly little advertising copy in this 1902 photo brochure and much of that is given over to promoting the hotel's new sanitary sewage system. In the photos, the hotel interior appears much as it does in the detailed brochure by the Henry Beckwith company when it took control in 1923, though less ornate. The earlier photographs here are more evocative, less detailed, many printed in a hazy oval frame. We see the ocean bathing area before the addition of "The Ship". The tennis courts and golf course were popular, but in an era before fast motorized pleasure boats, the emphasis was on quiet New Castle walks, historic rambling and gentle canoe, rowboat or sailing trips. As always, the scenic Isles of Shoals, with its own famous hotel, was not emphasized in the promotional literature. Instead the brochure suggests a hike to the historic Fort Constitution just down the road in New Castle.

It was under Harvey & Wood that the region's most notable event occurred. The hotel agreed to host Russian and Japanese delegates for the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905. The first face-to-face negotiations between these military superpowers and the treaty signing in Portsmouth under President Teddy Roosevelt put Portsmouth, particularly the Wentworth and Rockingham hotels on the world map. They remain, for many Japanese visitors, historic shrines to this day.

After Harvey & Wood, the hotel was managed consecutively by Henry Priest (1906), Frank Hall (1907) and Priest & Shaw (1908). Management changed repeatedly in the next few years, it appears. There was an attempt to sell stock in the hotel but little is known about that era before major owners Henry Beckwith took over in 1923 and the Smiths purchased the Wentworth Hotel in 1946.

By J. Dennis Robinson
Research assistance by Maryellen Burke
© 1999

Photo of delegates to the Treaty of Portsmouth from "There are No Victors Here" by Peter E Randall.

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Boston Era Gallery, 1902-5

Click on thumbnails for larger images
All photos courtesy of Friends of the Wentworth
and the Portsmouth Athenaeum collection.

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3
Image 4 Image 5 Image 6
Image 7 Image 8 Image 9

For more EARLY IMAGES click here.
Sample photo galleries include:

  • U-boats Surrender in Portsmouth, 1945
  • "Illustrated Memories" of Seacoast NH, 1890s
  • "Illustrated Memories" of York and Kittery, Maine
  • Portsmouth Train Wrecks
  • Portsmouth Photos: "An Old Town by the Sea"
  • Old Dover Scrapbook
  • Memorial Bridge Dedication, August 17, 1923 Newsreel
  • Newly Discovered Ironsides Photo
  • Victorian Portsmouth
  • Attractive Bits Along the Shore, 1890s
  • Early Hampton Beach
  • Gosport Harbor, 1860s
  • The Ice Storm of 1886
  • "Old Ironsides" in Portsmouth

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    Copy from 1902 Wentworth Brochure


    An island town containing about one square mile lying between the Piscataqua River and Little Harbor, and is reached by tally-ho coaches from Portsmouth station on the Boston & Maine R.R.

    Railroad Station PORTSMOUTH N.H.

    Was moderninzed throughout prior to formal opening July 1, 1899. No expense has been spared in decorating, finishing and furnishing, and the one great aim has been to make the house in all respects as nearly as possible similar to an ideal home.


    THE HOTEL accommodates 500 people and is without question one of the finest equipped Summer resort hotels in America, modern and up-to-date in every respect, with an unequalled location, fronting 400 feet on the ocean. The suites with bath are carefully arranged to meet every possible demand, and all bath rooms and sleeping apartments have windows opening directly to the outer air. Finest of drinking water, electric lights and elevators. The sewage of The Wentworth is carried away a distance of 2,000 feet, beyond all possibility of infection, and the system is one of the most complete and perfect sanitary arrangements in the country.

    THE WENTWORTH Golf Links and Tennis Courts have become famous, owing to the big tournaments held here every season. Attractive Club House fully equipped with lockers for the use of guests. Swimming Pool, 150 x 300 feet, with a depth of water varying from one to seven feet, with swimming instructor in constant attendance. The long pier extending into the ocean makes a convenient landing place for steam yachts, sailing, boating and fishing parties. Probably at no other seaside resort in the world are there so many beautiful views, so many points of historical and artistic interest, so many good roads for riding, driving, bicycling and automobiling.

    Under the management of
    Harvey & Wood

    Original content on this page is:
    © 1999 All rights reserved.
    Please attribute all use.

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