WEST NEWBURY — Looking for the perfect conversation piece to spiff up that porch or mudroom? Or maybe just a reminder of the days when voters sat on hard seats to make hard decisions about warrant articles?
On Saturday, West Newbury residents will have a rare opportunity to own a piece of local history when the Historical Commission sells the wooden folding chairs used back when meetings were held at the Old Town Hall.
Approximately 107 chairs, recently declared surplus by the town, will be sold from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Town Hall, 491 Main St.
The sale is open only to West Newbury residents and only one chair set can be purchased per household. If there are chairs remaining at the end of the sale, a second sale — open to the general public — will be held Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Because of their weight and the difficulty of storing them properly, Public Works Director Wayne Amaral advised selectmen that the chairs were not practical for use at town functions, so the decision was made to offer them for sale to residents.
Voters approved the chairs' purchase at an annual Town Meeting on March 6, 1922, according to information provided by the Historical Commission.
The following year, William M. Horsch, owner of a furniture store on Pleasant Street in Newburyport, sold the town 172 solid maple chairs for $600.
Constructed in groups of two and four seats, the chairs were made by Heywood-Wakefield furniture company in Gardner. The company, now known for its midcentury modern designs, “was known for Victorian Era wicker furniture, and quality maple auditorium seating in the early 20th century,” the Historical Commission reports.
The chairs are mostly in good condition, with some containing the manufacturer’s stamp and wire racks under the seats to hold the user’s hat.
The two-seater sets will sell for $50 and the four-seaters will go for $100. Only checks made out to “Town of West Newbury” will be accepted. No cash or credit cards will be accepted. All chairs are sold “as is” and all sales are final.