Here is a drawing of Wentworth-by-the-Sea, the large old hotel that many refer to as being in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but is actually of course in the town next door, New Castle.

I did this drawing first, without the lobster, in the early 1980s. The hotel was then still the size that you see in this drawing, and still open for business. Some friends of mine worked there and lived in the worker’s rooms which were located way down at the end.

(The original black and white drawing of mine is still available for sale as a limited edition print. I did a very limited run of hand-colored versions of that print that sold out long ago. They sold well, but I got really sick of coloring the same print over and over, so I just ended the series at about 30 or so.)

In the late 1980s, when the Wentworth was closed down and most of us thought it would never reopen, I added the lobster to the original drawing and did another series of prints. (These are still available for sale. See this print and the others in the Famous Monsters of Portsmouth series on my website. [You can also see them all hanging in Ceres Bakery [in the bathrooms!] where they have been since the late 1980s, at least.] I also did a SAVE THE WENTWORTH t-shirt and there are a few of those still available, too.) The hotel is now up and running again as a Marriott, but only about a third of the building in the drawing was saved for this new incarnation.

When I was a kid in the 1960s, growing up in Hampton, New Hampshire, I had a friend down the street, and her mom used to take us to the Wentworth to swim. They had the hugest pool in the world, with a really high diving board and smaller diving boards on each side of it. Across the street at the main building was the snack bar, where we would get sandwiches with the crust cut off. There was a grass tennis court, with people dressed all in white playing tennis. And there was a practice putting green with many holes, each with its own flag.

The pool was next door to The Ship, a ship shaped building that was used for functions. Between The Ship and the marina was an old saltwater swimming pool that I never saw used. The Ship and saltwater pool have now been replaced with a building that looks like it is condominium residences. We had my high school senior prom at The Ship. Just uphill from the swimming pool was a funny little miniature golf course, built like a real golf course set in a garden with very short holes. At the prom my date and I went out there in the dark and rolled around on the grass and made out. That garden golf course is now the site of a great many residences all crammed in close together, as is most of the old grounds of the hotel. They are apparently quite sought after and expensive.

Here you’ll find a photo of how the Wentworth used to look, and a novel by Sue Melanson, who knows the place a whole lot better than I do. And on publisher Peter Randall’s site, you’ll find Wentworth By The Sea, Life and Times of a Grand Hotel by Dennis Robinson which I believe is the best source for overall history of the place.

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