This is file 51. This is Jean McMillen interviewing Mike Haupt who lives at 200 South Shore Road on Twin Lakes in Taconic. The date is June 17th, 2013. He is going to talk to me about Twin lakes Association and Twin lakes, and hopefully Isola Bella and little bit about the cabin that he lives in that was built in 1902. We’ll start with some of the easy stuff.
JM:What is your name?
MH:My name is Mike Haupt.
JM:Where were you born?
MH:Bluefield, West Virginia
JM:Your parents’ names
MH:Harky and Sis Haupt
JM:Sis was Elizabeth?
JM:Do you have siblings?
MH:I have one brother Richard.
JM:And you have two sons. How did you come to this area?
MH:My grandfather came from Philadelphia, up on the train and camped out at 170 South Shore Road. They spent the summers here. The train would let them off at their house and they would get off with the maid and their trunks and spend the summers.
JM:Then you have been coming here since you were a little boy?
JM:How did you come to this particular house?
MH:This particular house when it was a rainy day when I was visiting the grandparents, their friends the Peachions lived here and were also from Philadelphia. He was a scientist for DuPont; they spent the summers here. When it was a rainy day, Grandmother would deposit me down here and Mr. Peachion would read to me. He also had a little crystal radio with antennae strung out in the woods. We would
listen to that, and I remember those episodes as time went on. I said to my wife at that time, if the opportunity ever arose where I could buy the Peachion place, let’s see if we can work it out. As time went on, that did happen. You might be interested; there was no South Shore Road here. There was a smithy house on Twin Lakes Road, there is an entrance to this place and if you look in the woods carefully, there is a fence where they had a vegetable garden which is now nothing but a tree stand. It is still up there. The other thing is they had no garbage collection so they would take their garbage out into the woods and bury it. To this day after a big rain you can go out there and see pill bottles, Salisbury milk bottles, Coke bottles and etc.
JM:Anything the animals didn’t eat. I’ve taken a picture of this house. Was it originally this large or were there additions put onto it?
MH:There are no additions. When we acquired the property, we chose to keep it the way it was. We did redo the inside, but we have not changed the outside one single bit.
JM:So the footprint is the same as it was?
JM:What a lovely experience to come here and be read to and listen to the crackly radio. I’d like to ask you about the Twin Lakes. What makes up Twin Lakes? How many bodies of water are there?
MH:Well actually there are two bodies of water and the channel. However when the railroad went through, they put the causeway in and that made three lakes. Although you call it Twin Lakes, most people refer to the big lake, the second lake, and the third lake.
JM:Do you know how many acres the 3 lakes comprise?
MH:Not exactly, but I believe it is around 850 acres; that would be close, but not accurate.
JM:What is the Twin Lakes Association?
MH:I don’t know how exactly it was formed, but years ago people came and they spent the summer here. They didn’t come for just the weekend. There were no motor boats and very little activity. It was formed just by the neighbors and associations getting together. As things started to develop they wanted to see if they could control the development. That would be my estimate of how it started.
JM:What would be the purpose then, to keep the lakes pollution free?
MH:Yes. We have the Twin Lakes Association. I can give you a copy of the By Laws. It also provided a social life for some of the people here. They started Twin Lakes Day; they had it here on our beach and the Hardy beach. I have a picture to show you.
JM:What goes on with Twin Lakes Day?
MH:They have swimming races for different age groups, canoe races for different age groups. For the little toddlers they start out with a big wash tub and have races for those people. It has changed a little bit, but it is still pretty much the same. Then there was a dance; we had a square dance afterwards, and the awarding of the prizes for the kids. It is worked out so that everybody got a prize. The one thing that might be interesting is that they did have an event that we don’t have now. Over in Morgan Lane at the North Cove was a very large float with a high dive, and throughout the summer the kids would practice their high dives. They would tow it over here, and they would perform and get judged and get points for their diving.
JM:Oh how wonderful, an excellent activity. The lake is deep enough that there was no problem with that.
MH:The other thing that the association did as time went on before all the motor boats was a sailing race. We had a sailboat maker who lived on the south Shore who made sail boats for many of the residents on the lake. His name was Earl McKenzie; he would determine on a Saturday or a Sunday if the wind and weather was good for a race. If there was going to be a race that day, and they always started at 2:00, he would about 10:00 in the morning fire off this large carbide cannon. The boom would reverberate around the mountains and let everybody know that there was going to be a race. Around 1:00 you would see people getting their sailboats out, sails going up. The race always started at the Rev. Roraback’s boat house which burned down. It was a three story boathouse with a balcony. The race would start there and the judges would sit on the balcony. The race would go from the boat house half way down to the buoy on the south shore, down to another buoy where Jean Bell lives, then up around the big float and then back by the island and back to the boat house. Since the boats were handicapped at the start, the races were very exciting at the end because we all came together around the island. The people would sit on their docks and floats and porches and yell and scream and that type of thing. It was a great thing. It was very competitive.
JM:What was the Twin Lakes Beach Club?
MH:Well there was a huge hotel at one time. I am not exactly sure how the Beach club came into being; however John O’Hara probably could give you a better idea on that. (See 130A) The Beach Club (building) was sort of vacant. We found out that the state was looking to get some land on Twin lakes and develop it. So the Twin Lakes Association got together and we were able to purchase it. We issued stock. People bought stock in it. At that point we had some social events on the weekends over there. Many of the people are still around who remember the Beach Club. There were no tennis courts; there was a canteen down by the beach with big block tables and Coke machines. There was a very small house there which my wife and I lived in for two summers when we were President of the Beach Club. There was a big rock which is still there that was part of the house. Gosh that was fun. I don’t know if you want names but the back end of the Beach Club was so huge that we couldn’t take care of it. So Freddie Miles, Bob May, Morgan Schaeffer, and Mike Haupt one weekend borrowed their backhoes and trucks. We took it down and took it over to the Salisbury dump. What’s his name up there on the hill?
MH:We carted it up to Erickson’s. It burned for weeks up there.
JM:Good Lord! Going back to the Twin Lakes Association, it the lake stocked with fish?
MH:Yes, the state stocks the lake with fish; it is one of the few lakes where the salmon breed there. In the fall you can see the salmon traps they put out to catch the breeding salmon, and they milk them for eggs.
JM:I know about that; I have seen it done on Wononskopomuc.
MH:Yeah, they do it here.
JM:I think on Lakeville Lake they do brown trout, not salmon. About how many members are in the Twin Lakes Association?
MH:I believe there are about 380. Jean Bell could give you the exact number. (See #52 ED.) She is out Treasurer.
JM:She’s a sweetheart, she truly is. You had an awfully good story about a beaver that you told me the last time, about blocking something.
MH:Regarding the beavers there is a problem with beavers. Curtis will tell you that they have been around here for a long time. There’s a pond in back of the old train station, and there is a culver there that goes under the tracks.
JM:Now this is the train station in Twin Lakes.
MH:Yeah. The beavers jammed it up and this little pond started to get bigger and bigger and bigger. It flooded and came right up to Between the Lakes Road. So we used to walk it and hunt back there. I went down and talked to Bill Pickert who was the Highway Superintendent. Bill was very cooperative and he hopped in his backhoe and drove over and we opened it up, simple as that. Bill was a sweetheart. He and Ray Flint what a mechanic he is; I don’t know what this town would do without him.
JM:He is a very especially talented young man.
MH:I tried to get Bill when I used to take care of the weed harvesting for the town. I said, “Bill you have better get the residents of Salisbury down here. Have an open house and let them come down and see what you are doing.” He wouldn’t do it; he is very private.
JM:But if the people don’t know all the work that is going into it, they have no appreciation.
MH:Ray would take parts and make trucks out of it. He’d take parts and make cars and paint them. He’d pick up all the junk from Sharon and redo it. The money they save this town, and they have no idea.
JM:Yeah, we’ve got a lot of very clever people in town, and they are very private.5.
JM:But they are very gifted and talented. Fortunately there are enough people like yourself and Curtis Rand and some of the others that do appreciate the gifts that these men possess.
MH:Bill never said no; he never complained. This weed harvester was a mechanical monstrosity; it was old. It was always breaking down. “Mike, when it breaks down, you just call me, and we’ll take care of you.” Boy, but I did a lot of the work myself, but whenever I needed him, he was right there.
JM:Do you still have to harvest weeds out the lakes?
MH:No, we use an herbicide; we don’t use the work chemical. It is called Reward, and they just put it in last week. It is specifically kills the milfoil. It doesn’t kill the fish. It is safe and dissipates very quickly. They don’t use it in Lakeville Lake. They don’t want to.
JM:Back in 1935 when they were talking about putting sewers around the entire lake because of the Imbecile School. (Dr. Knight’s School for Imbeciles Ed.) If they had done it then, they wouldn’t have the problems with the lake that they have now. But there is a lot of sewage that goes into the lake at this point.
MH:I am sure there is a simple solution. It is a state approved home waste treatment plan, and our sanitation guy Tom knows all about it. The problem that it creates is that if people used it which they could, more houses could be put on a piece of property, making a higher density. These systems now are so well devised there is no grey water or runoff. It is perfectly clear and can go right into a stream or lake. You don’t really need any big field.
JM:And it is perfectly fine.
MH:They use them all over except for Connecticut. The DEEP doesn’t want them. Curtis doesn’t want them; I have talked to him about it. Peter Oliver and Tom know all about it.
JM:This is Tom Stansfield from Torrington? (Health Department) How about Isola Bella? Tell me a little bit about that.
MH:I can only tell you what I remember from my mother who knew Miss Alvord. Her mother knew Miss Alvord. They used to have lunch together. With the restoration of the stone tower we have now very good publication of the history and I could give you that. (See Haupt folder in file cabinet)
JM:But I would like personal recollections from you, please.
MH:The fun things that I remember is Miss Alvord did marry Ferrari Ward who was a fun, clever guy. He was annoyed with the taps and revele coming from the Reich’s camp across the lake, next to the Beach Club. He thought he’d get back at them and he put some big speakers up in the pine trees, and blasted them right back for fun, nothing serious. At one time there were no trees; they brought sheep over onto that island. They have a saw mill and a carpentry shop there. Miss Alvord did put in a new home and everything is built with the wood from the island.6.
JM:Whom does it belong to now?
MH:The Hartford School for the Deaf.
JM:Do they use it in the summertime?
MH:Yes, they use it. They have a summer camp there for the older kids. You can rent and have a wedding or birthday. If you have an event, they have enough facilities to cater things. It is very nice and very well run. They work very closely with the Twin Lakes Association. The Twin lakes Association had raised over $100,000 this past year for the restoration of the stone tower which is done.
JM:It is done?
MH:It is almost finished; it will be. We put a new roof on the boat house over here to preserve that. We work very closely with the Hartford School for the Deaf. They have the responsibility, but the island was left as I recall with an endowment. They were to maintain the island as is and not do any massive tree cutting or major changes.
JM:Is there anything that I haven’t covered that you would like to add to this?
MH:Probably a lot, but I can’t remember anything. Other than the daily ritual here was everybody either paddled or walked down to the train station where the mail came in. There was a post office there, and also the party telephone line that went around the lake to all the cottages. The switchboard was at the post office. Our ring was one long and two short. If you heard that, it was for you.
JM:If you picked up and it was a little fuzzy somebody else was on the line.
MH:There were 2 tennis courts there; there was a tennis club there. That’s about it.
JM:Do you participate in any boards or civic activities or have you in the past?
MH:I have been President of the Twin Lakes Association and on the board for close to 40 years. I just resigned. They are sick of hearing from me. We have to get the new people involved. I was President of the Beach Club for 10 years I guess.
JM:You’ve done your share.
MH:It was fun, and you meet great people. They should participate more. A lot of people say they are not here. The communications these days with faxes, and stuff that is not a good excuse any more.
JM:I thank you so much for your information and your time.
MH:I hope people read it, enjoy it, and continue to keep it this way.