In this first month of 2022, we are taking a trip down another important “1” in Peabody’s history, Route 1. Newburyport Turnpike, or Route 1, was created in 1804 as the Boston & Newburyport Turnpike. Initially a toll road, it became a state highway in 1890.

This photograph circa 1900 shows the intersection of Lowell and Newbury Streets. Believe it or not, Route 1 can be seen going from left to right.
This postcard was postmarked 1936 and shows a much more rural Route 1.
This was the Mackie Family Farm Stand, circa 1940. The Mackie Family lived at 30 Newbury Street and farmed their land off of Route 1.

After World War II, Route 1 was transformed from two lanes to a six lane highway and rededicated as the Blue Star Memorial Highway.

Today, let’s remember Route 1 in all its kitschy glory. This is hardly an exhaustive list of Route 1 businesses. Let us know what we missed and which were your favorites!

In 1962, this Wagon Wheel Club postcard advertised “Entertainment Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings. Air conditioned for your comfort. Open 10 to 1 A.M. Orchestra for your dancing pleasure nightly.”
This circa 1966 postcard showcased Wagon Wheels Club at 336 Newbury Street, “Located at the Gateway to the North and Home of the Big Band Sound.”
The iconic Planter’s Mr. Peanut towered over Route 1, in this circa 1955 postcard. He remained as a local landmark even after 1962, when the Planter’s Company left this location.
If you were looking for chocolate, the Famous Fanny Farmer Candy Fair boasted of the “world’s richest markets blended into these delicious candies in our own modern kitchen for your eating pleasure.”
The Snak King menu was from July 1960.

The Bel-Aire Diner, seen here in 1960, was located near what is today’s Red’s Diner.

Diners catered to locals and to the influx of travelers on Route 1. Post World War II, many travelers took to the open road.
Sunset Motel Motor Court was one of many places to stay along Route 1. It was advertised as “Air Conditioned – Wall to Wall Carpet – Television. Ceramic Tiled Showers and Dressing Rooms.”
This postcard was from circa 1960.
Chez Dreyfus on Route 1, was “the North Shore’s popular gourmet dining spot for discriminating diners” look for upscale French food.
Checker Lounge was located at 412 Newbury Street and was “a smart intimate cocktail lounge” offering “sophisticated music evenings for your dancing pleasure.”
Route 1, Circa 1975
Courtesy of the Ray Wallman Collection


John Wells, The Peabody Story, Essex Institute, 1972, page 176.

Ann L. Millet, “Route 1…The Road that Connects” The Salem News, April 24, 1976.

“A Shell Game with Mr. Peanut” North Shore Sunday, July 27, 1986.

Phil Primack, “Time finds Peabody’s Mr. Peanut a tough nut to crack”, The Boston Herald, June 24, 1987.