Summer is officially here. Whether you are sliding into it or crawling towards it, it is time to celebrate better weather and spending time outdoors.

Emerson Park Playground, Lynn Item, March 11, 1990, Photographer: Linda Spilane; Elaine Linehan and son Brad


Emerson Park Playground, Lynn Item, July 5, 1993; Photographer: Linda Spillane; Wheelbarrow Race

This week, we are starting a series on Peabody’s parks and the history behind them.

Emerson Park

Emerson Park, located along Perkins Street, is the first formal public park in Peabody. Miss Augusta Proctor bequeathed $10,000 to the (then) town of Peabody in 1892. It was provided with the stipulation that they use it to purchase land for a public park within 5 years of her death, and allocate an additional $10,000 of town money towards this goal. In addition, the family of Thomas E. Proctor donated 12 acres of land on what was then called Fox Hill, but is now Emerson Park. The town was then given 7 1/2 acres of adjoining land by the Miss Walker of Boston. Finally, the Peabody Parks Commission bought 12 acres in the area.

In 1897, the park was named Emerson Park. According to The Salem News, it was named after an ancestor of the Proctor family named Emerson.

At the turn of the 20th century, Emerson Park was the field for the Peabody High School football team.

Emerson Park, “Topsfield Fair”, 1902

The Essex Agricultural Society (now known as the Topsfield Fair) was located at Emerson Park from 1895 to 1909. In 1901, there was a proposed golf course on the property, but it was an unpopular idea within the community.

Farnham Park

Farnham Park is located along Endicott Street, and was dedicated to Horace Porter Farnham on September 13, 1936. The location was a former dump that was revitalized by the Peabody Unemployment Relief Committee who devoted a crew of men to its improvement.

Horace Porter Farnham was born on November 4, 1876 to Frank Ellison Farnham and Sarah Porter Buxton. He married Mabel Frances Earle in 1897 and had three children: Hazel Earle Mosman, George Ellison Farnham and Annie Marion Farnham.

The Peabody Enterprise, “City Notes,” October 29, 1920

Horace was an avid cyclist and an attorney. The Farnham and McVann Law Practice was located at 18 Peabody Square. Horace was the City of Peabody’s first solicitor in 1916, appointed by then Mayor Donnell. Horace was also a judge for the Peabody District Court. He died on January 1, 1934 at his home at 16 North Central Street and was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Lalikos Park

Lalikos Park was named after John Lalikos in 1966 as part of the City’s Golden Jubilee. Lalikos Park is located along Lowell Street and is accessed via Nancy Avenue and Raylen Avenue. It can also be accessed by the bike path.

The Peabody Times, October 5, 1966

John Michael Lalikos was born on January 1, 1918 in Peabody to Michael and Annie Lalikos. Michael and Annie Lalikos emigrated here from Greece. John had 7 siblings: Nellie, Beatrice, George, James, Constance, Stephen and Nikki.

John married Mary Clyde Brown married in 1943 in Arkansas, during his military service. The Lalikos had two daughters, Joanne and Marietta, and two sons, Charles and Michael. John and Mary ran Lowe Mart Shopping Center and Lowe Mart Liquors at 442 Lowell Street. John Lalikos died on June 14, 1964 and was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

References –

John Wells. The Peabody Story. Essex Institute, 1972, pages 99, 357, 449.

The Salem News, “Emerson Park,” June 5, 1919.

The Boston Globe, “Obituary of Judge H.P. Farnham.” January 2, 1934.

The Peabody Enterprise, “City Hall,” October 29, 1920.

The Salem News, “Agree on Park Name,” 1936.

The Peabody Times, “Dedication of John Lalikos Park,” October 5, 1966., Birth, Marriage and Death Records, Census 1940, 1950, Lalikos Family.