The History of Wentworth Home
Wentworth Home has a long history connected to the generous citizens of our local community. It was through a partnership between a local philanthropist-Mr. Arioch Wentworh- and the charitable citizens of Dover that allowed for the existence of a non-profit care facility that is dedicated to serving the aging citizens of Seacoast NH.
The history of the home begins in 1883 when Everett Foss first incorporated “The Dover Home for Aged Women.” A few years later on Christmas Day, members of the Bachelor’s Club each contributed one dollar and established the initial fund for the Home. In 1897, Arioch Wentworth- a successful Boston businessman-donated $10,000.00 allowing for the initial building construction to commence. Construction was completed at the foot of Garrison Hill in 1898 for a total cost of $9,811; there were a total of 25 “member” rooms.
The building was furnished with donations from the community of Dover. Upon completion, a celebration was held with Arioch Wentworth in attendance, at which he donated another $20,000 for the operation of the Home.
Despite the original name of the establishment, the first “members” were both men and women who moved into the Home in 1898. At this time, a twenty member Board of Trustees and an Executive Committee were also appointed.
In 1898, the first annual “Donation Day” was held, and proved to be a success. Dover citizens provided generous contributions of cash and provisions. “Donation Day” has been observed for many years, and is still recognized today with an annual Open House that demonstrates the continued generosity of the local community.
Mr. Wentworth bestowed a second gift of $70,000 in 1899, followed by an additional bequest of $100,000 upon his death in 1903. It was at this time the name was officially changed to “Wentworth Home for the Aged.” Arioch Wentworth was also a generous benefactor of Wentworth Hospital in Dover, NH, and the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA.
Mr. Wentworth’s posthumous donation allowed for additional construction to begin in 1904, when an annex was added to the North side of the building that included new laundry, drying, and “infirmary” rooms, as well as an extensive enlargement to the dining area. This expansion was critical as it allowed for the care of fifteen additional members.
The most recent addition to the Wentworth Home was completed in 1968, and was funded by Harry Gage, the nephew of former resident Lydia Gage Watson. Lydia was a member of the Home for 24 years, and Harry was so greatly impressed with the care of his Aunt that he left a generous bequest at his death that allowed for additional resident rooms and a large function room, named in his honor, to be completed. Today, the Gage Room is the center of social life here at Wentworth Home.
Wentworth Home was established through these generous donations from our community. We continue to operate as a non-profit retirement home and strive to manage our endowment fund carefully to offer the highest quality of assisted living at the most affordable value in the area.
Today we offer three levels of individualized care-independent, assisted and added care-in our beautifully renovated Victorian home. We also offer respite care and short-term stays upon request. Our continued advancements reflect a long tradition of meeting the needs of seniors in our community.