Frances “Frannie” Peabody left her mark on the Portland community in two areas: historic preservation and AIDS education and advocacy. A founder of Greater Portland Landmarks, she was instrumental in the move to preserve and rehabilitate Portland’s historic buildings. She was a national leader and active in the National Society of Colonial Dames, the Maine chapter of which maintains the Tate House in Stroudwater (site SD06).
She was very involved in activities with the Tate House and was co-author (with historian William David Barry) of Tate House, Crown of the Maine Mast Trade. She was also the driving force behind publication of This Was Stroudwater (1727-1860) by Myrtle Kittridge Lovejoy. After her oldest grandson died of AIDS in 1984, she co-founded The AIDS Project (TAP) in 1985 to provide support for people with AIDS. She opened Peabody House in the West End in 1995 as a residence for men with AIDS. The young men she befriended showed her “that one can die with dignity and with courage.” She said, “I’ve sat with so many men and watched life leave them. So many, and they were all so brave.” The AIDS Project and Peabody House merged in 2002 and became the Frannie Peabody Center, located at 30 Danforth Street (site W19). Frannie Peabody passed away in 2001 at age 98.