In a wooded area behind Peacham’s war monuments stands a small barn, long known as the roller barn. It is unremarkable in appearance except for its exceptionally wide double doors. It was built in the late 19th or early 20th century to store Peacham’s snow rollers when they were not in use.
From about 1888 until 1938, snow rollers, hitched behind teams of horses or oxen, were used to pack down snow on Peacham’s roads to keep them navigable. Before that time, snow removal was left up to the locals who used teams of horses or oxen to trample down the snow or drag anything that could push the snow aside: a sled, a bough or a log.
The birth of snow rollers
The advent of snow rollers seems to have coincided with legislation in 1886 giving the state control of major roads and providing financial aid to towns to maintain them. The town purchased the rollers and contracted with local farmers to take responsibility for maintaining roads in each school district. The pay was minimal. The Peacham Annual Report for 1903 records annual payments for rolling and shoveling ranging from $13.20 to $52.80 per driver. In the 1923 Auditor’s Report, the highest payment was $158.20.