No matter where your life takes you, that place where you spent your youth will always be your “hometown” — the place where friendships were formed and memories were made. Some of you have returned many times to your hometown, but many of you haven’t seen Peabody for a long span of years. I hope it crosses your mind periodically and your memories of fun and friendship make you smile.
You are not the same person you were when you left here; you’ve grown and changed in many ways. Peabody has changed as well, but much of it is probably just as you remember. If you came home and drove down Main Street you would see most of the stately homes standing much as they did the day you left. The century-old trees still line the street, shading the front lawns. We still have many brick streets and only one flashing red stop light.
Our 1880s business district is intact, only the names of the businesses and the people inside have changed. We still have a drug store in the Rexall building where George and Irene Higgins greeted customers for so many years. We buy our groceries in the same building that housed Rosses IGA.
We no longer have our red brick Santa Fe depot, but trains still roll through town at all hours of the day and night. The property where the depot stood is now owned by the city and it is called Santa Fe Park. It is used for many public as well as private events.
We have new school buildings, but the old ones live on in the memories of many who attended there. Our football teams still play their games at our lovely, historic city park. Children and adults alike watch the game from the old stone wall. There are fewer kids now, but no less enthusiasm.
We still have our fabulous fireworks show on the Fourth of July. We have a new group of people who are determined to carry on the wonderful Peabody tradition and judging from last year’s incredible show, the celebration is in good hands.
The face of our business district has changed many times over the years and it is changing again. A new generation of business owners is taking their place on Main Street. Like many other small communities we have faced many challenges in the current economic climate, but we are meeting those challenges with courage and determination that we can move Peabody forward to a new and prosperous future.
Susie (Pierce) Schmidt
President, Peabody Main Street Association