Frank Jones's Hotels
Frank Jones (1832-1902) was a Barrington-born farmboy who came to Portsmouth as a teenager and literally rose from rags to riches in a remarkable short time. A man of boundless energy and daring, he parlayed the fortune he amassed as a brewer of ale into vastly greater wealth through investments in a myriad of enterprises, including banking, insurance, and shoe manufacturing. Among his most successful ventures were his Rockingham and Wentworth hotels.
"King of the Alemakers"
This, the only known portrait of Jones, was probably painted during one of his terms as a member of the U.S. Congress (1875-1879)
Oil painting by Nellie Mathes Horn in 1901, after a photograph of Frank Jones from the mid-1870s. Courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum.
Woodbury Langdon Mansion
Woodbury Langdon, a distinguished member of Portsmouth's prominent Langdon family built a mansion on this site in 1795. In 1830 it was converted to an inn called the Rockingham House
Cabinet card, Old Rockingham House, circa 1860.
Courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum
In 1870 Jones purchased the Rockingham House. He leveled the inn and constructed an elegant, 130-room hotel on the site (shown above), retaining only some of the fine walnut paneling from the original Langdon mansion. The paneling is still
Color Lithograph, The 1870 Rockingham Hotel, ca 1872, Private Collection.
A Hotel Rebuilt
Jones's 1870 hotel was heavily damaged by fire in 1884. Ever-resilient, he promptly rebuilt it in essentially the same form as it was before the fire (and as it now stands). High up on his reconstructed hotel Jones added terra cotta bas reliefs of Woodbury Langdon (on the left) and himself (on the right); below them are stylized renditions of the four seasons, all designed by Massachusetts artist F. Mortimer Lamb.
In 1905 newspapermen from all over the world filled the Rockingham Hotel during the Russo-Japanese negotiations leading up to the Treaty of Portsmouth.
The Original Wentworth
Jones bought the 1874 Wentworth Hotel in New Castle in 1879, shown here as it looked shortly before his purchase. He greatly enlarged and improved it over the next two decades, adding features that were then novel to this region, such as electric lighting, flush toilets, steam elevators, and golf and tennis facilities.
Davis Brothers, Early View of the Wentworth Hotel, 1870s-80s, Stereograph. Courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum.
Jones's Wentworth at its Peak
By the time of his death Jones's opulent Wentworth Hotel had become one of the premier resort hotels in the country. Many of its guests were wealthy patrons who booked accommodations for the entire summer season, seeking to escape the heat of cities like New York and Philadelphia.
In 1905 delegates from Japan and Russia lodged at the Wentworth while negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War.
Postcard, Aerial view of the Wentworth Hotel. Courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum.
Erected 2012 by The City of Portsmouth.
Location. 43° 4.516′ N, 70° 45.573′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in Rockingham County. Marker is on State Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Portsmouth NH 03801, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Paul Jones House (within shouting distance of this marker); The South Church (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); 18 Congress (about 600 feet away); Negro Pews (about 700 feet away); The Original New Hampshire State House (about 800 feet away); Treaty of Portsmouth 1905 (about 800 feet away); Nation's Oldest Bank (approx. 0.2 miles away); New Hampshire's First Black Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Portsmouth.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 320 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.