Westfield: The Westfield Athenaeum

The origins of the Westfield Athenaeum date back to around 1830 and the formation of the Westfield Social Library, which was housed in various locations until an act of Massachusetts Legislature incorporated the Westfield Athenaeum in 1864. Self-made Westfield businessman Hiram H. Harrison, President of the American Whip Company, financed the brick building on Main Street that opened in 1868 and became free to all residents over the age of fourteen in 1895. The continued growth of the collections and use at the Athenaeum led to the relocation and opening of a new library in 1927, followed shortly thereafter by the Jasper Rand Art Museum and the Edwin Smith Historical Museum, integrated facilities of the Athenaeum showcasing Westfield area history and art. Highlights of the collections include original documents from General George Washington and John Hancock, buggy whips made in Westfield, and a forty-four foot mural painted in 2010 depicting “The Story of Westfield.” A phased-in construction and remodeling project is currently underway to update and improve the already impressive resources at the Westfield Athenaeum. For more information, visit http://www.westath.org/.