The old “roundhouse” in Peabody City Park — used to store supplies and the framing for July Fourth ground displays — was actually built in 1876 as a floral exhibition building by carpenter A. K. Stewart. He bid $540 for the project and promised to have it ready by fair time.
Fair time in that era was largely the project of the Marion County Agricultural Society. The society was mainly made up of town boosters and stockbreeders. The fairs attracted fine livestock, such as Pat Knust Henderson’s great- grandfather’s prize-winning Shorthorn cattle. He was actually the Rev. Dr. A.H. Lackey of the Presbyterian Church when not working on the fair or raising cattle.
The Floral Exhibition Hall is the only building left from that era. Other buildings, pens, and bleachers were torn down as the fairs faded from rural communities. By the early 1900s, the city purchased the land from the county agricultural society and it became the Peabody City Park.
The hall is one of fewer than a dozen left in the state. The building and the park received National Register of Historic Places designation in January.
Verna Mosiman is putting together a most unusual flower and garden show in the old building. Bring your favorite flower quilt, flower painting, or any flower to the park Sept. 29 for display in the vintage Floral Exhibition Hall.