Mayland, Donald

Interviewer: Jean McMillen
Place of Interview: Scoville Library
Date of Interview:
File No: 77/89 Cycle:
Summary: Mayland chime Co. Marine Study Program LLC, Hotchkiss, scuba diving, #17 Old Furnace Road, Litchfield Bancorp Board, Finance Board, SVAS Board Chair,Market Place Board, Sewer Commission

Interview Audio

Interview Transcript

Mayland Oral History Cover Sheet:

Interviewee: Donald Mayland

Narrator: Jean McMillen


Place of Interview:History Room, Scoville Memorial Library

Date:August 20, 2014

Summary of talk:Family background, Mayland Chime Co., Hotchkiss, scuba diving, Locations of dives i.e. ore pits (Chatfield & Ore Hill) and Lakeville Lake, Red tide on the lake, Lime Rock house,Marine Study Program Inc.., and civic activities.



Mayland Interview:

This is file #77.  This is Jean McMillen and I am interviewing Donald Mayland at the Scoville memorial Library. Today’s date is August 20, 2014.

JM:       May I have your name?

DM:      My name is Donald Mayland.

JM:       Your birthdate?

DM:      January 1, 1945.

JM:       Your birthplace?

DM:      Brooklyn, New York

JM:       Your parents’ names?

DM:      Edwin S. Mayland and Ethel M. Mayland

JM:       Did you have siblings?

DM:      Yes, I had a brother named Paul.

JM:       What is your educational background?

DM:      I went through high school on Long Island at W. C. Mepham High School, and then went off to the University of Vermont where I got a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Then I went into the Navy and went through Officer’s Candidate School in the Navy. I spent three years as an officer in the Navy.  When I came out, I went back to school and got a Master’s in Education degree.

JM:       Where did you get that degree?

DM:      From the American International College in Springfield, Mass.

JM:       Now I want the whole story about how did you come to this area?

DM:      My parents, actually my grandparents prior to that used to come up here on vacation at the old Interlaken and the Wake Robin Inn.  As early as I can remember my parents and I and my brother would come up and spend weekends swimming in the lake.  The family knew this area well.  The family had a manufacturing business which started in Brooklyn.  It went to Long Island.  When my dad took it over when he became semi- retired, he brought it to Lakeville, Ct. which is an area he knew.

JM:       And the name of the company?

DM:      Mayland Chime Co.  (Full details in Business file)  I was just getting out of the Navy when he moved to this area. “You know what Dad, I need a job.”  I had always worked at least part time from the time I can remember at 10 or 12 years old helping out in the shop.  So I went to work for Mayland Chime Co.  That was in 1970.

JM:       Tell me a little bit about Mayland chime Co. please.

DM:      There was a business started by my great grandfather who was in the Civil War.  He was a good musician; he played flute, trumpet, and all kinds of instruments.  He was in the fife and drum corps in the Civil War, stationed up in Elmira, New York which was a large prison camp at that time.  When he got out after the war ended, he decided to start his own business.  He did repairs on all kinds of musical instruments from concertinas to violins.  Then he got into the manufacturing of bells; he made hand bells.  The largest business they did in those days was with vaudeville.  Vaudeville had all kinds of acts.  They made bells that Annie Oakley shot at off of her horse to play tunes.  They made bells for the circuses and carnivals and things like that.  It evolved into a business with my grandfather where they made chimes for Seth Thomas Clock Company.  They also made chimes for other companies that needed signaling devices.  They also started manufacturing cathedral chimes at that time.  Then it evolved into basically manufacturing cathedral chimes.  With the advent of electronics, it all began to wither and Mayland Chimes are still manufactured by Organ supply Industries out in Erie, PA.

JM:       We have the Google information on that.  I think besides the Mayland Chime co. you also worked at Hotchkiss?

DM:      Little by little I started at Hotchkiss.  It was 1970 and I had just gotten out of the Navy.  While I was in high school and college I used to pole vault, ran hurdles, and I decided I would like to help out and coaching.  A great guy Dave Coughlin was the Head Coach and I spoke to him at Hotchkiss and he said, “Sure, we’d love to have you.”  So I volunteered as coach there for about 2 years; then through knowing people on the faculty and everything, I heard that they were looking for a part-time economics teacher.  I ventured to step into that position which I did do.  Then Bill Olsen who was then the Head Master at Hotchkiss spoke to me about would I be interested in coming full time on the faculty.  They were looking for someone to live in an old building that had been converted into a dormitory.  There was a beautiful apartment, bigger than the house we were living in, and I said, “Sure.” So I ended up full time at Hotchkiss, part-time at Mayland Chime Co. until we finally sold the remains of the business.

JM:       What year did you first come to Hotchkiss?

DM:      1973-74, that academic year.

JM:       When did you actually retire?

DM:      Officially retire, 2007, although I continue to teach for 2 more years after that.

JM:       You flunked retirement.  How did you get involved with scuba diving?

DM:      I had always liked diving and fiddled around with it as a youngster on Long Island.  I didn’t take it very seriously.  I actually wanted to go into UDT while I was in the Navy, but my wife put the crutch on that one. (Underwater Demolition Technology) When I first started at Hotchkiss, there was a group of guys, Hotchkiss was a boys’ school at that time who wanted to form a scuba club.  They approached me and asked if I would be the advisor to it.  I said yes, grudgingly as I did feel like I knew enough to really be their advisor.  We had one tank; we took turns swimming around in the pool.  I finally decided that if we are going to do this, let’s do it right.  I brought in an instructor from West Hartford who taught classes there for at least a year or two.  He approached me and suggested that I get my instructor’s certification, so I did.  That was 1975, and that is how I got started scuba diving.

JM:       Was Ted Davis involved with that at all?

DM:      He was. He was a diver.  He was kind of a fly by the seat of your pants diver, but that did not make him a bad diver.  He was actually quite a good diver.  He and I started diving in the lake together.  Those were the first lake dives that I did were with Ted Davis and Jeanette Axleby, too.  They were very good divers.

JM:       You also did some diving at some of the ore pits in the area.

DM:      At the time when I moved here I didn’t know that they were ore pits.  To me they looked like ponds.  You can’t stay long in this area without hearing about the iron industry and finding out about the mine and things.  I became rather intrigued by it and began to explore some of the pits.  The one that I spent most time was what was called the Mammoth & Union Ore Pit; it is the one on route 44 at the intersection of 44 and 112.  Some students that I taught to dive and I would explore in these pits.  We went there and into the Deep Lake Ore Pit which is really known as the Chatfield Ore Bed.  Those were the two we explored the most. (See transcription of his interview with Sid Cowles located in the Iron Drawer #1 under Ore Hill Ed.)

JM:       The Mammoth & Union we know as the Ore Hill; I just want to clarify that.

DM:      That’s right.

JM:       You did get into the Chatfield, and that was on the property of Sam Burke, Deep Lake Farm.

DM:      Yes, he owned the property at that time. He was alive and well. He gave me a tour of it and told me a lot about the history of it.  He was happy that I was interested in exploring it.

JM:       When you dove into that particular pit, did you find anything on the bottom?

DM:      I found a lot of tools, shovels, shoes; we found some very large barrels sitting on top of one of those steep drops- off.  They were large wooden barrels; my belief is that they were probably filled with water.  That was a way to get water down to the guys working in the pits with their picks and shovels.  The other thing we found was a wagon sitting on the bottom in about 50 feet of water.  That puzzled me until I talked with Sam, or it might have been his son John.  One of them told me that at one time they took ice off that lake for the ice industry when the pit was frozen.  He told me that they knew that a wagon, a horse and wagon and gone through the ice at one point in time.  I said that the wagon is there, but no horse.

JM:       You told me a wonderful story about the red tide.

DM:      This would have been in the middle to late 1970’s.  Lakeville Lake was experiencing a problem with algae called oscillatory rubescence.   When the cells of these blue green algae would die, it is a cold water alga. They would come to the surface and turn red, blood red.  There were a couple of years where there was a period of time in May and early June that the lake surface was just blood red.  They were getting very concerned about this.  In fact that really spawned the creation of the Lakeville Lake Association.  I was asked to look into the possibility because rumors always had it that there were connections through shafts from the Ore Hill Mine and maybe even the Chatfield Hill Mine which was strip mine.  But they had been strip mined first and then went into shaft mining.  The rumor was that there were shafts that connected with the lake, and that was where the redness was coming from.  It was disproven in two ways. One Ted Davis discovered it was oscillatory rubescence and had nothing to do with iron ore. The other way was Charlotte Reid asked me to form a committee to look into this possibility that there were shaft connections.  We debated it at a couple of meetings, and I had explored that area and had never seen a shaft opening.  We brought in a fellow named Fred Leubuscher who was a well- known character in town and quite a good engineer.  He in five minutes explained why there could not be a shaft opening because the altitude of the surface of Lakeville Lake is roughly 735-738 feet.  The Ore Hill Mine was at a little over 800 feet.  There couldn’t be that kind of difference if there was a major connection between them.  There could be minor seepage, but no major connections.

JM:       When you came to this area at some point you bought a house in Lime Rock.  Would you tell me about that house?

DM:      It was by coincidence that we actually bought the house before I got into exploring the ore mine pits around.  The house we bought was #17 Old Furnace Road.  It was one of the miner’s cottages. If you go into that little community in this valley where salmon Kill road comes out, we really loved it there. Almost all the houses with the exception of maybe 2 at that time were involved with the Barnum & Richardson Iron Co. Right across the street was Mrs. Singleton Fish (see #12 A tape) who lived in that house that was on the property of the old forge of the Barnum & Richardson co.  So I really got to know the iron industry from a different prospective.

JM:       Do you remember when you bought the house?

DM:      1971

JM:       You said that you paid $27,500 for it.

DM:      I always told my students I paid more for my last car than I did for my first house.

JM:       You have a business that you run, Marine Study Company?

DM:      About 20 years ago I started a small company called Marine Study Program Inc.  It is an S corporation soon to become an LLC.

JM:       What is an S corporation?

DM:      It means a small corporation. It is a type of corporation that is not interested in raising capital by selling shares.   It is really created as a liability protection.  Teaching diving and I also began to get involved in Lake Champlain on historic wrecks and headed up some projects up there.  Then we got involved in invasive weed control in the lakes around here.  Just at that time also Eurasian Milfoil was making its ugly appearance in a lot of our lakes.  It is an invasive weed that can really take over a body of water.  So I got involved in all kinds of projects to try to control invasive weeds from laying benthic barriers which are nothing more than underwater mulching, like laying down landscape cloth.  So that is why I formed the Marine Study Program.

JM:       You are busy what with still doing repairs for the chimes, and you have this company.

DM:      Yes, I do occasionally repair chimes.

JM:       Isn’t nice to be retired? Now you told me that you have some civic activities.

DM:      Yes, probably the first of the civic activities that I got involved in was when I was fairly new in town, and I ran for office as an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals which I somehow one. I really didn’t even know what my job was at that time.  That got me started in civic affairs.  Then I served on the Recreation Commission for a while, but at the moment I serve, I was asked in 1978 to join the Board of Litchfield Bancorp, which was at that time Litchfield Savings Bank.  I have been on that board ever since.  I have chaired the board for the last 20 years.

JM:       There is another bank involved.

DM:      Connecticut Mutual Holding Company is the company we formed, we being Northwest Community Bank which is up in Winsted, and Litchfield Bancorp to combine some of our back room operations to realize economies of scale.  We have subsequently brought in a third bank which is Collinsville Savings Society.  Connecticut Mutual Holding Company owns those three banks.  I chair the board of that company.

JM:       have you been on the Board of Finance?

DM:      I got elected to the Board of Finance about 19 years ago.  I got elected three times; the first time I got elected I thought it was a two year term and I found out it was actually a 6 year term.   Then I have been on board of the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service; I was asked to chair that board which I currently do.  I started a as a feeder for Audubon when I took a sabbatical from Hotchkiss for a year.  I wanted to keep busy and get involved in something so I went over weekly and sometimes 2 times a week and fed the hawks, the owls and eagles.  I got involved with them and served on their Stewardship Board and actually chaired the first Stewardship Board.  I also now on the board of the Marketplace of Salisbury which owns the buildings where the LaBonne’s Market is.

JM:       Pollution authority?

DM:      That’s right. How could I forget that I serve Salisbury Water Pollution Control Authority?  I also chair that board.

JM:       Is that also considered the Sewer Commission?

DM:      Yes, otherwise known as the Sewer Commission.  It is quite an interesting undertaking to be involved; it is very much like running a business.  It is a municipal business.

JM:       A small aside, but I ran the Chatfield Hills Water Association for 9 years.

DM:      So you know what it is; it is a matter of making sure the rates pay the bills.

JM:       Yup and that the water flows!  Is there anything else that you would like to add?

DM:      I think that’s it.

JM:       Thank you so much for your time.

DM:      Thank you.





Property of the Oral History Project: The Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury, Ct. 06068