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

     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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    The gentleman in the back row, second from left,
    hat, open sweater, appears to be Fred Evers.

    The three snow scenes above were taken by William H.
    Barney. They were done as glass slides. Barney's
    Hopedale pictures were taken between 1890 and 1910.