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Peabody Gazette reports on entertainment in town: Prairie pastimes remembered

What was Peabody really like in the 1880s when the weather was cold and dreary? Old Peabody Gazettes have articles about new entertainment coming to town weekly. Orchestra performances, lectures, Swiss bell ringers, many singers, and variety shows. Medicine men and helpers provided their own entertainment. Many performances were held in the GAR Hall. Hopefully by next week the location of that old building can be verified.

The library was open every afternoon and evening except Sunday and Butler Hall provided a skating rink in the 1890s. Oyster suppers, soup suppers, and dances kept the citizens busy. The library held a dance in 1876 and there was a supper that same year in Mr. Butler’s new barn. Some events raised money for the library and a popular lecture series at the Lutheran church each week was a money raiser for the library with a 15-cent admission.

The Peabody Historical Society is bringing back some of those entertainments on Jan. 31. Soup and desserts can be found at the Morgan House, which has been transformed into the Women’s Relief Corps Soup Kitchen. Serving will start at 11:30 a.m. and cost is by donation. Visitors can then go to the Carnegie Library basement and purchase a ticket that is good for a visit to the quilt show in the basement; the variety show upstairs; the original library, now museum, where Mr. Peabody and Jay Gould, various library patrons, and staff are talking; and then visit the 1904 barn, which is currently being repaired. Hopefully dancers will be in action.

The event will benefit the Historical Society and its projects and will be held even in the event of a blizzard. Ropes will be strung from building to building so no one will be lost.

Remember Jan. 31, an afternoon of old-fashioned entertainment and food at the museum complex. Paid members of the Historical Society are admitted free as a portion of their membership benefits. Contact Pauline McPheeters for membership information.

Last modified Jan. 21, 2010

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