Peabody is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, located in the state’s North Shore region. First known as the Northfields, “the Farms” and Brooksby, the area was settled about 1626 within Salem, which had itself been founded in 1626 and incorporated in 1629. In 1752, the area was set off from Salem and incorporated as part of Danvers. It was usually referred to as “the South Parish,” associated with the church located in the center (now Peabody Square). In 1855, the community broke away from Danvers to become the town of South Danvers, incorporated that May 18. The name was changed on April 30, 1868, to Peabody, after noted philanthropist George Peabody.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Peabody 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) of it is water. The northwestern border of Peabody lies along the Ipswich River. 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 of Peabody is wedge-shaped, with the city center located in the wider southeast end. The neighborhood of South Peabody lies south of it, with the more suburban neighborhood of West Peabody to the northwest of the city center, separated by the highways and the Proctor neighborhood.