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Wentworth Institute of Technology Buildings

A brief history of Wentworth buildings.

Wentworth Hall

  • Built in 1914
  • Architects - Peabody and Stearns
  • Wentworth Hall is currently used for administrative offices, academic classrooms, and electrical/electronics labs.
  • Formerly, the building also housed applied physics laboratories, mechanical drawing rooms, the library, a motor laboratory, and a refrigeration laboratory.

Arioch Wentworth

Arioch Wentworth was born on June 13, 1813, in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Wentworth proved to be a successful businessman in his life, moving to Boston at age 20 and opened his own soapstone shop at the age of 24. He developed new methods and machinery to use soapstone to develop household necessities such as countertops, laundry tubs, and stoves. He eventually opened a large manufacturing facility at 19 Hawley Street. By 1850, Wentworth ventured into the marble business. At the time, Boston began to develop the Massachusetts Bay and its surrounding marshland into the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods, where marble was primarily used in many adornments to the thousands of houses, brownstones, schools, churches, and institutions built in those neighborhoods. From 1850 to 1886, Wentworth preeminently supplied marble to the city of Boston. After retiring in 1886, Wentworth ventured into real estate and owned 50 commercial properties. By the time of his death in 1903, Wentworth amassed a fortune of $6 million. He died on March 12, 1903, of pneumonia at 89 years old.

During his career, Arioch Wentworth took interest in his work force. Most of his laborers received little to no education. Wentworth believed that those who earned a living with their hands should have a more formal education in the trade that they chose to follow. He desired to build a trade school where people could go to learn about their trade of choice instead of taking on an apprenticeship to learn that trade. 

Wentworth Institute was constructed in 1904 following Arioch Wentworth's death. In his will, he wrote "As soon as may be after my death [the trustees] shall, unless I have already done so, organize a corporation to be known as the Wentworth Institute, for the purpose of furnishing education in the mechanical arts." After some legal disputes among Wentworth's family, $2.7 million of his fortune was used to build the Wentworth Institute, now known as the accredited university Wentworth Institute of Technology.