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Peabody park added to register

Peabody City Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The 23-acre Peabody City Park has a long and colorful history that began in the 1870s with its use as a fairground owned by the Marion County Agricultural Society and its later use as a community park.

The property on the west edge of town has hosted all kinds of community events including county fairs, a statewide fair in 1885, numerous Chautauquas in the early 1900s, and sporting events.

Old issues of the Peabody Gazette provide much of the history of the property’s development and reveal the names of those hired to erect buildings and plant trees, such as builder A.K. Steward and landscape gardener E.W. Stephens. New Deal-era labor enhanced the park in the 1930s with the construction of picnic facilities and athletic field bleachers.

Today the park is a layered landscape that retains components of its development from fairground to New Deal-era park to a modern city park including a late 19th century horse racetrack, octagonal floral exhibition hall, stone entranceway, athletic field with stone bleachers, picnic tables and stoves, and plantings.

The park was nominated for its local significance in the areas of recreation, entertainment, and architecture.

Last modified Feb. 23, 2012

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