Before the days of snow plows, New Hampshire's roads were rolled. Horses or oxen would drag along an enormous wheeled contraption built of iron and wood that would compress the snow, making it easier for sleighs to travel. Several towns in New Hampshire have restored these snow rollers, including Bartlett, Canaan, Colebrook, Bow, and Alexandria.
But only three towns still have their snow roller shed. In Freedom, this obscure building stands atop Schoolhouse Hill, adjacent to the Masonic Temple. Built in 1902, it housed the roller and until 1978, other highway equipment. The Freedom Heritage Commission grew concerned about its state of disrepair and decided to do something about it.
In 2012, it was added to the State Register of Historic Places, which opened up the opportunity for grant funding. The Heritage Commission won a Moose Plate award for $10,000 and, with help from local carpenters and townsfolk, cut back the brush and trimmed encroaching trees, replaced rotted boards and sills, re-roofed with corrugated aluminum, and rebuilt the fire siren stand at the ridge. (The military surplus siren was added after WWII).
The Heritage Commission educated residents about the building's significance at town meeting, and as such raised the town's level of understanding and support for preservation. Their next step, according to Peg Scully, chair of the commission? Finding a snow roller to go inside.
Freedom Heritage Commission
Town of Freedom
N.H. Division of Historical Resources