is an interview series to highlight and celebrate Essex Heritage’s diverse community of partners and supporters. This fall we asked Sudi Smoller, Library Media Specialist, and Web Author, for the Peabody Public Schools to share her view of Essex Heritage and why she loves the Essex National Heritage Area. Interviewed November 2015.
Are you an Essex National Heritage Area (Essex County) native? If not, when and why did you move here?
I hail from Rhode Island originally and since my father worked for the government, I grew up on military bases in Morocco and the Philippines. After college in Boston, I settled in Portland, Oregon and eventually re-located to Peabody in 1981 to raise our children near family.
What do you find most inspiring about the Essex National Heritage Area?
Since I moved around a lot and Peabody is the place I’ve lived the longest, I am fascinated by the history I literally stumble over in my neighborhood, such as the witch hysteria victims and accusers that lived nearby and the birthplace of Mary Upton Ferrin, the earliest Massachusetts pioneer in woman suffrage.
What is your favorite place in the Essex National Heritage Area?
It is a dream of mine to be locked overnight in the Sutton Room in the Peabody Institute Library! I also enjoy the Phillips Library and the George Peabody Museum.
What is your most memorable Essex Heritage moment, event, or program?
When the Peabody Independence Greenway was dedicated and I was involved in helping grade 8 students learn the history along the trail and participate in an essay naming contest. I also have enjoyed the Essex LINCs week long summer courses, as well as the Park for Every Classroom program with the National Park Service.
Essex Heritage is important to me because…
Local history and historic places can help bring a community together – no matter how different we are, we have a shared history.
Essex Heritage is important to our region, our state, or our nation because…
The shared history of people living in our area shows us the values and concerns that shape our social and political environment.
Help us continue to connect people and the places that make our heritage. Become an Essex Heritage Member.