Wentworth-Gardner House

The Wentworth-Gardner House

The Wentworth-Gardner House is newly available for wedding photography. If you are interested in having your wedding photos taken at this lovely historic house, please visit our wedding page for more information.

Built in 1760, the Wentworth-Gardner house is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in this country. The house was built by the Wentworth family for their son Thomas as a wedding gift. The Wentworth clan was a powerful force in colonial New Hampshire. The family’s wealth is demonstrated in the heavy carving and exquisite detail of the formal parlor, parlor chamber and, traditional hallway which runs the entire length of the house.

In 1793, Major William Gardner, bought the house and moved in with his second wife Elizabeth. Major Gardner lived in the house for forty years until his death at age 83, although his third wife, Sarah Purcell Gardner, remained in the house until 1854. Later owners converted the mansion into a tenant house in the time when the waterfront neighborhood had become somewhat disreputable. Pubs and brothels clustered along Mechanic Street and the surrounding streets.

In 1915, the house was purchased by Wallace Nutting, a photographer and antiquarian. He restored the home in the Colonial Revival manner and photographed models in almost all of the rooms. In 1918, during World War I, Nutting offered the house for sale and it was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The Met prized the house for its detailed carving and nearly perfect Georgian architecture.

After the Stock Market crash of 1929, the Depression put to rest any ideas of moving the house to New York City. The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England) furnished the house and briefly operated it as a house museum. In 1940, the house was purchased by a group of preservation minded local citizens who established the Wentworth-Gardner and Tobias Lear Houses Association.