Peabody City Hall in 2021
Peabody City Hall in 2021
Flag of Peabody
Official seal of Peabody
Tanner City, The Leather City[1]
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Location in Essex County and the state of Massachusetts.
Peabody is located in Massachusetts
Location in the United States
Peabody is located in the United States
Peabody (the United States)
Coordinates: 42°31′40″N 70°55′45″W / 42.52778°N 70.92917°W / 42.52778; -70.92917
CountryUnited States
Incorporated1855 (town)
Incorporated1916 (city)
Named forGeorge Peabody
SeatPeabody City Hall
 • TypeMayor-council city
 • MayorEdward A. Bettencourt, Jr.
 • Total16.81 sq mi (43.54 km2)
 • Land16.24 sq mi (42.05 km2)
 • Water0.57 sq mi (1.49 km2)
17 ft (5 m)
 • Total54,481
 • Density3,355.36/sq mi (1,295.54/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
Area code351/978
FIPS code25-52490
GNIS feature ID0614307

Peabody (/ˈpbədi/) is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 54,481 at the time of the 2020 United States Census. Peabody is located in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, and is known for its rich industrial history.


The area was long inhabited by Native American people known as the Naumkeag.[3][4][5]

The area was settled as part of Salem in 1626 by a small group of English colonists from Cape Ann led by Roger Conant. It was subsequently referred to as the Northfields, Salem Farms, and Brooksby.[6] Several area residents were accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century, three of whom were executed (John Proctor, Giles Corey, and Martha Corey).[7]

In 1752, the area was set off from Salem, and incorporated as a district of Danvers. It was referred to as "the South Parish", associated with a church located in present-day Peabody Square. In 1855, the community broke away from Danvers, and was incorporated as the independent town of South Danvers. The name was changed to Peabody on April 30, 1868, in honor of George Peabody, noted philanthropist born in present-day Peabody, widely regarded as the "father of modern philanthropy". It was granted city status in 1916. The western, less densely populated area of town is often separately, yet unofficially, referred to as West Peabody.

Peabody started off as a farming community, but its rivers and streams attracted mills which operated by water power. During the 18th-century, Peabody's Central Street corridor was a hub of pottery manufacturing, especially redware.[8] In particular, Peabody was a major center of New England's leather industry, which attracted immigrants from all around the world.

By 1915, one-third of the population had been born outside the United States.[9] In addition to becoming home to large Irish and Russian populations, Peabody developed a large community of laborers hailing from the Ottoman Empire, mostly Turkish and Kurdish speakers from the region of Harput, now known as Elazığ.[9] The population was situated primarily on Walnut Street, where they filled boarding houses and coffee houses to such an extent that it became known as "Ottoman Street," and, more pejoratively and less accurately, "Peabody's Barbary Coast", as the United States was at war with the Ottoman Empire during World War I.[9] One visitor even noted that signs in town were written in both English and Ottoman Turkish.[9]

On the morning of October 28, 1915, twenty-one young children were killed in the St. Johns School fire in the downtown area on Chestnut Street. Their bodies were found after the fire subsided, huddled together and burnt beyond recognition, near the entrance just steps away from survival. As a result, Peabody became the first city in the United States to establish a law that all entrances or exits in public buildings be push-open, rather than by handle or knob.[10][11]

The tanneries that lined Peabody's "Ottoman Street" remained a linchpin of the city's economy into the second half of the 20th century. The tanneries have since closed or been relocated elsewhere, but the city remains known locally as the Leather City or Tanner City. The mascot of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School is named the Tanners.

The loss of the tanneries was a huge blow to Peabody's economy, but the city has made up for the erosion of its industrial base, at least in part, through other forms of economic development. Early in the 20th century, Peabody joined the automobile revolution, hosting the pioneer Brass Era company, Corwin Manufacturing.[12]

The Northshore Mall, originally known as the Northshore Shopping Center, is one of the region's largest shopping malls. The mall opened in September 1958 as an outdoor shopping center, and was built on farm land originally owned by Elias Hasket Derby, one of America's first millionaires. Centennial Park,[13] an industrial park in the center of the city, has attracted several medical and technology companies. West Peabody, which was mostly farm land until the 1950s, has been developed into a middle-to-upper class residential area. Brooksby Farm,[14] a 275-acre (1.11 km2) working farm and conservation area has been one of the city's most popular destinations for decades.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.8 square miles (43.5 km2), of which 16.2 square miles (42.0 km2) is land and 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2) or 3.46%, is water.[15] The northwestern border of Peabody lies along the Ipswich River, with brooks feeding it, and the Waters River, a tributary of the Danvers River, drains the northeastern part of town. Several other ponds and a portion of Suntaug Lake lie within town. The largest protected portion of the city is the Brooksby Farm, whose land includes the Nathaniel Felton Houses.

The city is wedge-shaped, with the city center located in the wider northeastern end. The neighborhood of South Peabody lies south of it, and the more suburban neighborhood of West Peabody, where the high school is located, lies to the west of the city center, separated by the highways and the Proctor neighborhood. Peabody's center is 2 miles (3 km) from the center of Salem, 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Boston, 18 miles (29 km) west-southwest of Gloucester, and 18 miles (29 km) southeast of Lawrence. Peabody is also bordered by Middleton to the northwest, Danvers to the north, Salem to the east, Lynn to the south and Lynnfield to the southwest.


See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income

Historical population
* = population estimate. Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]
U.S. Decennial Census[25]

As of the census of 2010,[15] there were 51,251 people living in the city and a total of 22,220 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 90.4% White, 2.4% African American, 6.3% Hispanic or Latino of any race (1.3% Puerto Rican, 0.3% Mexican, 0.1% Cuban, and 4.5% other Hispanic or Latino), 1.9% Asian, 3.8% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races.

The city has had a very large Greek population ever since the early 20th century. Ever since the mid 20th century, the Portuguese population has been very present, especially from the Azores. In the 21st century, Brazilians came in large swathes.

There were 21,313 households, of which 26.8% included children under the age of 18, 48.4% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. Of all households, 31.4% were made up of individuals, and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28, and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.1% under the age of 20, 22.5% from 20 to 39, 29.8% from 40 to 59, and 26.5% who were 60 years of age or older. The median age of people in Peabody was 44.6. For every 100 females, there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $65,515, and the median income for a family was $80,471. Males had a median income of $55,352 versus $44,167 for females. About 4.4% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.8% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.


A.C. Lawrence Leather Company, c. 1910

Major employers

Arts and culture

Points of Interest

See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Essex County, Massachusetts

Peabody Institute Library, c. 1912

Parks and recreation

Independence Greenway

Salem Country Club is a privately owned country club and golf course, which hosted the U.S. Senior Open in 2001 and 2017, and the U.S. Women's Open in 1954 and 1984.

Independence Greenway is a 5.25 miles (8.45 km) rail-trail that is part of the Border to Boston trail.[31]

Crystal Lake is a 21-acre conservation area and is part of the Ipswich River watershed.[32]

Spring Pond is a lake that abuts Peabody, Lynn, and Salem.


City Hall in 1912

Peabody is represented in the state legislature by officials elected from the following districts:


Public schools

Public education is administered by Peabody Public Schools. Schools include:[35]

Christian schools



Highways in Peabody include:

Several lines of the MBTA bus service pass through town. The Logan Express also stops at the Northshore Mall in Peabody. The Springfield Terminal rail line passes through town, with one line passing from Lynnfield towards Danvers, and another, mostly abandoned, line passing from Middleton to Salem. The nearest commuter rail service is in Salem, along the Newburyport/Rockport Line of the MBTA Commuter Rail, with service to Boston's North Station. The nearest airport is the Beverly Municipal Airport, and the nearest national and international air service is located at Boston's Logan International Airport.


The municipally-owned Peabody Municipal Light Plant provides electricity to the city. Natural gas service in Peabody is provided by National Grid. Cable television in Peabody is provided by Comcast and the City in June 2019 issued a second Cable TV license to RCN.[36][37]

Notable people


  1. ^ Claims to Fame - Products Archived 2007-04-08 at the Wayback Machine, Epodunk, accessed April 16, 2007.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  3. ^ "The Naumkeag". PIONEER VILLAGE. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  4. ^ Writer, Dustin Luca Staff (October 24, 2019). "President Jackson's portrait to make way for Naumkeag leader". Salem News. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  5. ^ "MASSACHUSETTS INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY RESOURCES". Salem Historical Society. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  6. ^ "History | Peabody Historical Society". Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  7. ^ "Welcome to Peabody". Salem Witch Museum. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  8. ^ "History". Peabody Historical Society. Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  9. ^ a b c d Acehan, Işıl (December 2009). ""Ottoman Street" in America: Turkish Leatherworkers in Peabody, Massachusetts". International Review of Social History. 54: 19–44. doi:10.1017/S0020859009990228.
  10. ^ Archived 2007-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.158.
  13. ^ "". Archived from the original on October 26, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2008.
  14. ^ Archived 2007-12-22 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Peabody city, Massachusetts". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  16. ^ "TOTAL POPULATION (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  17. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 7, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Volume 1: Number of Inhabitants, Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  21. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1900, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  22. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  23. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  24. ^ "City and Town Population Totals: 2020−2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 24, 2023.
  25. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  26. ^ Bigelow, Nora (October 30, 2023). "Part 2 - Beyond the Bell Tavern". Peabody Historical Society. Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  27. ^ Bigelow, Nora (October 17, 2023). "The History of the Bell Tavern". Peabody Historical Society. Retrieved April 29, 2024.
  28. ^ "Brooksby Farm | City of Peabody". Retrieved April 28, 2024.
  29. ^ "North Shore Children's Museum | Peabody, MA". North Shore Children's Museum | Peabody, MA. Retrieved April 29, 2024.
  30. ^ Retrieved May 1, 2024. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ "Independence Greenway | Massachusetts Trails | TrailLink". Retrieved April 29, 2024.
  32. ^ "Crystal Lake, Peabody - Essex, Massachusetts, US - Birding Hotspots". Retrieved May 1, 2024.
  33. ^ Massachusetts General Court, "An Act Establishing Executive Councillor and Senatorial Districts", Session Laws: Acts (2011), retrieved August 23, 2020
  34. ^ "Massachusetts Representative Districts". Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  35. ^ "Schools". Peabody Public Schools. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  36. ^ "Second cable provider coming to Peabody". Salem Evening News.
  37. ^ MassUtilities (Map). MassGIS. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  38. ^ Minton, Sam; Tobin, Anne Marie (September 5, 2021). "Heather MacLean Day takes over Peabody". The Daily Item.