In the days of horse powered travel, roads were opened after a snowstorm by having a horse or a team pull a sled along the road. Through the sled, side to side, was a log, maybe twelve feet long. That log broke down the snow. [Snow is mostly water and can be compacted by moving it about]. Populated places would compact the snow by having horses pull great rollers over it. In rural communities the roads were broken out as described except where the snow had drifted. These places were hand shoveled.
There were winter roads that were not summer roads. They ran along lowlands and would be no good in warm weather. One of the longest was a road that settlers in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Coos County of northern New Hampshire used to take maple sugar to market. This road passed through Oxford, Franklin and Kennebec Counties in Maine to Hallowell on the Kennebec River. Near the full moon in January, these farmers turned teamsters would start out, gathering more sleds as they traveled at night when the road was frozen hardest. Imagine awaking at night to the jingling of harness bells and seeing a sled train winding its way through the meadow below your house and hearing the cracking of the whips and the calls of the men. At Hallowell the sugar would be traded for goods that were carried back home on the horse-drawn sleds. Their cash crop was sugar because it was long lasting and of less bulk than maple syrup or grain. Their greatest need was cast iron stoves.
Corice & Sam Cooper with snowshoes Everett Dwelley & Lyman Strout sit on early plow
Our known winter road
in Alexander was used by teamsters hauling spruce pulp and logs to
Woodland starting in 1906. It was in 1906 when paper was first made
there and 1911 when a big spruce mill opened above Sprague Falls.
The big pines were gone so moneyed men turned to King Spruce and the
seasonal loggers of Alexander responded.
For the year 1925 there were 86 horses and 56 automobiles shown as personal property in Alexander. Cars were put up on blocks for the winter.
The earliest records indicate that Cole Bridges was paid $45.03 in 1931 for plowing. Roy Seamans and Ira Perkins were paid $5.77 and $1.31 for sanding ice. In 1932 the state put $150 toward plowing roads in Alexander.
1934 Annual Report pages 12 & 13
SNOW PLOWING ACCOUNT
Appropriated by Town $63.00
Overlay on Assessment $73.80
Excise Tax $147.33
Unexpended March 1933 $194.51
Cole Bridges 1932 33 $17.18
Cole Bridges 1933 $108.54
S. L. Bell 33- 34 $212.99
S. L. Bell 1934 $158.04
Snow removal State Aid Road $306.74
Sanding ice $6.25
Total Expenditures $809.74
1934 Annual Report page 4
Lyman Strout [$10.36] and Lewis Frost [$9.24] erected snow fence
1934 Annual Report pages 10 & 11
Men were paid to shovel snow; [Pay ranging from $1.13 to $8.22] Marshall McLellan, Thomas Long, Elwood Perkins, Dan McArthur, Hazen Strout, Kenneth McPheters, Stephen Hunnewell, Robert Hunnewell, Walter Kneeland, John Kneeland, Neil McArthur, Harold Bohanon, Curtis Frost, Fay McArthur, Almond Frost, Chester Frost, Llewellyn Dwelley, Frank Dwelley, Arnold Bohanon, Elbridge McArthur, Percy Strout, Noland Perkins & Carl Frost
The first snow plow in Alexander was made up of two model T trucks, one a pusher, the other with a plow. That is the back truck had a pole attached to its front end, this was the pusher. The plow truck in front had the same pole attached to its back-end. It was pushed by the pusher through the snow.
The 1935 Town Report listed Stanley Sawyer being paid $75 for plowing in 1934 35. We also find that Lyman Strout was paid $105.97 for plowing snow in 1934.
By the 1937 report, Lyman was the sole plow operator [1936 - 37], but hand labor for snow removal was listed [1935 - 36]. The big item for 1937 was the purchase of 2000 feet of snow fence $165.00, 200 cedar posts $24.00 and spikes for posts $2.20