Around Town

Antique tool chest, books galore find new homes

WESTFIELD-A handmade carpenter’s tool chest – dating back to the early 1900’s – found a new home on Saturday afternoon.

As the annual Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum spring book sale was wrapping up its four-day major fundraiser, Bob Goyette was hopeful he would be the highest bidder for one of the more unusual items up for sale – a tool chest that clearly had been passed down through the generations. 

Bob Goyette was the highest bidder for an antique tool chest that was featured at the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum’s annual spring book sale. Goyette is seen with Robert Hullivan, on right, who helped him carry the tool chest to Goyette’s car.

Robert Hullivan, co-chair of the book sale, said a longtime member of the Friends group had donated the tool chest. The only background that was passed on is that the individual who had created the tool chest immigrated from Sweden and was a carpenter by trade in the Northampton area.

“I have been in construction all my life,” said Goyette, now retired from Heritage Homes at 456 Southampton Road. “I had read about the tool chest in the newspaper and placed a bid first on Thursday.”

Goyette said his family has a similar tool chest (three times the size) – dating back four generations – which was preserved with all of the original tools and now is displayed at Heritage Homes.

“I was anxiously awaiting the outcome of who would be the highest bidder,” said Goyette.

When the call came Saturday afternoon by Hullivan, Goyette said he was surprised and elated.

“While we would like to know more about the original owner, we will refinish this tool chest and it will be a treasure for our family,” said Goyette, adding “we will take care of it.”

With hundreds of books still to choose from, a steady stream of area residents continued to peruse the 40 tables in search of last-minute finds since all books were “by donation” on Saturday.

Gianna Bradley and Korena Bradley sort through boxes of children’s books on Saturday during the last day of the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum’s spring book sale.

Two sisters, Korena Bradley, 7, and Gianna Bradley, 11, were with their mother enjoying the last-minute scavenger hunt.

“I have been looking for cookbooks and mystery books,” said Gianna Bradley. “I like to read and reading keeps me busy when I’m bored.”

Korena Bradley, who sought out books on animals, echoed her sister’s sentiments.

“Reading is fun and I can do it when there is nothing to do,” she said.

Hullivan noted that as the final tallies were still coming in, overall, the book sale “went beyond expectations.”

“By noontime we had exceeded by a little the goal we had set,” said Hullivan.

The Friends group is active throughout the year with fundraisers which allows them to fund several Westfield Athenaeum programs and services. Programs that are supported by the Friends group include the Museum Pass Program, the fall and spring lecture series, and the children and adult summer reading club programs. 

Leslie LaBranche and Claire Rogers were among the volunteers on Saturday keeping books in order as the last day of the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum spring book sale wrapped up. LaBranche is a member of the Friends group and Rogers serves on its board.

The Friends group meets the first Tuesday of the month starting at 6:30 p.m. All members are welcome to attend regular board meetings to share ideas. For more information, visit

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