The half-mile horse racetrack at Peabody City Park was actually the first feature of the park to be built.
Historian Don Skinner had the news item at his fingertips with the June 23, 1876, Peabody Gazette.
“The track was first plowed very shallow, the turf was entirely removed,” the newspaper said. At its lowest level along the northwest loop, the track is depressed approximately four feet below grade.
The racetrack was once the scene of Roman chariot races when the State Fair of 1885 was held in Peabody.
“Each day a chariot using four large and powerful horses each, all abreast, one driven by a woman and the other by a man, running at top speed, each trying to take the lead,” the newspaper said.
Peabody Historical Society’s Day in the Park will have horse and pony rides available from Tina Partridge and Amy Bayes and helpers on the very same track as the chariots of 1885.