Hotel Online  Special Report


National Trust for Historic Preservation Presents
President's Award to Wentworth By The Sea
Marriott Hotel & Spa; 
A Large Group Effort to Save and Restore the Hotel


New Castle, NH (July 8, 2005) -- Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, today awarded his prestigious President's Award to those who saved the historic Wentworth By the Sea Hotel from destruction: Ocean Properties, Ltd. and the Walsh Family, and the Friends of Wentworth. Etoile Holzaepfel, president of the now-disbanded Friends of Wentworth, and hotel general manager Ron Rockelein accepted the awards from Mr. Moe at a reception in the hotel's Solarium attended by fifty guests of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

Wentworth by the Sea, A Marriott Hotel & Spa
588 Wentworth Rd.
New Castle, New Hampshire
The award recognizes the efforts of Ocean Properties and the Friends of Wentworth in saving and restoring Wentworth By the Sea: a 'poster child' for preservation efforts. The 1874 grand hotel on the New Hampshire seacoast closed in 1982 and was threatened with demolition on numerous occasions. The Friends of the Wentworth, a citizens/advocacy group, fought for fifteen years to prevent demolition by successive owners and to find a preservation-minded buyer. The National Trust placed the hotel on its 1996 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Alerted to the opportunity to save the hotel, Ocean Properties committed to a $27 million reconstruction program in 1997 and reopened the hotel in June 2003 -- in time for the celebration this year of the hotel's most historic moment: when it hosted the Russian and Japanese delegations to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Conference in 1905. The hotel is now a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America program.

“The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Wentworth By the Sea Hotel as a 'Preservation Success Story' at their annual conference in 2003 and we are honored to receive the President's Award, especially because Richard Moe has been so personally involved in the fate of the hotel,” said Julie Cousins, CFO for Ocean Properties, Ltd. “As a preserved heritage tourism destination, Wentworth By the Sea gives 21st century tourists from around the globe the chance, again, to experience the luxury for which American 'grand hotels' were known in the 19th and 20th century, while preserving a place that is historically important in its own right.”

“The story of Wentworth By the Sea serves as an inspiration for all preservationists. It demonstrates that with dedication and perseverance we can ensure that important pieces of our heritage remain for future generations to experience and learn from,” said Moe. “I am very pleased to be here today to honor the determination of the Friends of the Wentworth and the legacy of this magnificent hotel.”

It took a large group effort, led by a small group of passionate citizens -- Friends of the Wentworth -- to save and restore Wentworth By the Sea. The Friends not only succeeded in saving the historic hotel -- an important historic icon to generations of New Englanders who worked, dined, danced and were wed there -- from the wrecking ball and capturing the imagination of an international hotel company capable of realizing their dream, they have inspired countless people across the country to take action in their own communities to ensure that America’s heritage is preserved.

Led by Friends' President Etoile Holzapfel, who rallied the community to the task of saving Wentworth when a plan to raze the structure was presented to her as a member of the New Castle Planning Board, the Friends enlisted the help of State Senator Burt Cohen, former state legislator and preservation advocate Martha Fuller Clark, local historian and Boston University American Studies professor Richard Candee and more than 300 international members. They developed a nomination that succeeded in the listing of the Wentworth By the Sea on the National Trust's list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1996, and then convinced Ocean Properties (which includes more than 100 hotels across the United States and Canada), to tackle the reconstruction. Ocean hired TMS Architects of Portsmouth to preserve what they could and reconstruct the grand resort as a twenty-first century hotel with 161 rooms, 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and a spa suited to the leisure, business and social clientele of a modern luxury resort.

More than a thousand workmen labored to complete the task so that on opening day in 2003, Wendy Nicholas, director of the Northeast Office of the National Trust declared, “We are pleased, today, to take Wentworth off the list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places!”

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America’s diverse historic places and revitalize communities.  Its Washington, DC headquarters staff, six regional offices and 26 historic sites work with the Trust’s 270,000 members and thousands of local community groups in all 50 states.  For more information, visit the Trust’s web site at

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic buildings, communities and landscapes through leadership, education and advocacy.  Helping community groups advance local preservation projects, and promoting barn preservation and the use of easements are its current priorities. For more information, contact the Alliance at (603) 224-2281 or

One of the largest hotel management companies in the United States, Ocean Properties owns and/or operates hotels in North America's most popular travel destinations. Properties operate under the flags of Amerisuites, Courtyard by Marriott, Crowne Plaza, Days Inn, Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott Residence Inn, Sheraton and Springhill Suites. Along with numerous other prestigious awards, Ocean Properties has received Holiday Inn's and Marriott's coveted hotel awards for outstanding customer satisfaction and product.  At Ocean Properties we continue to distinguish ourselves with a level of service and a standard of excellence that extends to all properties in North America.

Wentworth By the Sea Hotel & Spa, a AAA Four Diamond Award-winning member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America, reopened in June 2003, following a extensive reconstruction of the 1874 grand seaside resort.  The Wentworth Dining Room, with its frescoed ceiling dome, is the main restaurant, serving guests of Wentworth By the Sea. It is open to the public, as well, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily. For reservations or information, please call 603-422-7322.


Stephanie Seacord
Leading Edge

Jeannie McPherson
National Trust Communications Office

Also See: Ocean Properties Ltd. Receives Nod to Build a 400-room Hotel and Condo Next to Palm Beach County Convention Center; Taxpayers to Front Subsidy of Approximately $14.5 million / June 2004
Ocean Properties, Ltd Opens the Wentworth by the Sea, A Marriott Hotel & Spa / May 2003

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