Hopedale History
    May 15, 2005
    No. 38
    Snow Plowing

    I added an article on Patrick’s Store to the website this afternoon. It was evidently published in the
    Worcester Telegram or Gazette during World War II. I probably accompanied my mother to Patrick’s
    about once a week, starting in 1942.  If I had only known that “here in Worcester County is one of the
    country’s most interesting surviving examples of that historic American institution – the country store,”
    as the article puts it, and that I’d be so interested in such things in years to come, I might have paid
    more attention, but at the time, it was just the place where we got our groceries.  I seem to recall that
    there was a door into the dry goods department about halfway down on the right and the meat
    department was further down on the right.  Everyone seemed to know everyone else there.  I’d be
    happy to add any memories any of you have of Patrick’s to the Historic Commission files and/or the
    website. For those of you who weren’t here in those days, Patrick’s was where the parking lot south of
    the library is now.  It was eventually purchased by Rico Calarese. Rico built a new store behind it, (now
    the medical building) and when it was completed, demolished the old store to make room for a
    parking lot. Patrick’s also operated another store located where Stone’s Furniture is now. (Patrick’s
    Corner)  I think that had closed before I was born, and it eventually burned down. Click here to read the
    article

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    It’s been more than a month now since there has been any snow on the ground, so I thought some of
    you might be missing it and it would be a good time to send this story about Freddie Evers and how
    snow was plowed years ago.  Sam Kellogg was police chief, fire chief and highway superintendent until
    his death in 1943.  At that time, it was decided that it would be a good idea to separate the jobs among
    different men, and I think that must have been when Freddie got the highway job. That was also when
    my uncle, Tom Malloy, became police chief.



              Horse and Pung Snow Plowing No Fun in the Good Old Days

                                                          By Ted Ashby

    HOPEDALE - No one could bring back the old snow removal days here, nor does anyone wish to.

    Especially not Fred Evers.

    He's highway superintendent, and has worked in that department 42 years.

    "It was brutal."

    The task is so much simpler now that, following a big storm, Fred might not have to hoist himself from
    his bed until, say 3:45 a.m.

    "One piece of snow equipment I recall was a big pung (oblong box on runners) hauled by six horses.
    The V-shaped plow cleared a path in the street, and the rest was shoveled by hand.  The snow was
    simply cast beside the road."

    The men, who sometimes worked 48 hours without sleep (they halted to eat), got the princely salary of
    $18.40 for a 54-hour week. "There was no overtime pay."

    By spring, the plowed streets had a foot of hard packed snow on them.

    "Even kids helped shovel snow."

    The snow-fighting force normally included 15 men, 54 horses, and a few tractors.

    "We first cleared in front of the stores, with horse-drawn plows. Hauled the stuff to the snow-dumps in
    pungs pulled by tractors."

    "Twenty-seven below."

    No heated cabs for the men sitting up there on the front seat of the pungs. Toes got cold, ached, and
    then warm. Frozen.

    Then, as now, Hopedale plows sidewalks on both sides of the street.

    "Many a time I've driven a span of horses pulling a sidewalk plow."

    He was a foreman then. As superintendent since 1943, he still is unable to suppress the impulse to
    work. Said the townspeople:

    "You'll find him out there with his crew. First, though, you'll HEAR him."

    Hopedale has 26 miles of streets, and the snow removal staff draws high praise from one and all.

    "We also clear at schools, Town Hall, three municipal parking lots, and the driveways of all doctors.
    Five of those."

    This with seven men, including Evers; one snow loader; one overhead bucket; five trucks with plows
    (and they hire two more when necessary); four tractors, two of them used in sidewalk plowing.

    "We sometimes add off-duty firemen to the force. And we permit no cars on the streets."

    Their formula: Inch of snow - salt all over; more snow - start plowing; after plows - salt and sand
    mixture all over. The Boston Globe, February 1, 1961.

    Below the article there was a photo of Fred Evers watching Charlie Gaffney operate a sidewalk plow.

                
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