Originally part of Salem, the area we know as Peabody was settled around 1626. In 1752, the area was set off from Salem and incorporated as part of Danvers. The name was changed on April 30, 1868, to Peabody after George Peabody, a noted philanthropist, and later incorporated as a city in 1916. The town began as a farming community, but its streams attracted mills which operated by water power. In particular, Peabody was a major center of New England's leather industry, and tanneries remained a linchpin of the city's economy into the second half of the 20th century. The tanneries have since closed, but the city remains known locally as the Leather City or Tanner City.