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Interview of Carl D. Riggs
by Professor Horace Bliss
February 1, 1981
Page 4

Horace Bliss: I think I've seen on my visits down there some pretty good collections of plants and animals but when were those started?

Carl D. Riggs: Well, the collecting of animal and plant specimens for teaching purposes began the very first summer that we were at the Station, and a number of important distributional records for the State and for that general area had been established at the Biological Station and not only is there a large collection of plant and animal materials at the Station, but the collections in the major museums up on the Norman campus and in other museums around the country were made at the Station. So that has been one very valuable function of that aspect of activity there.

Horace Bliss: The times I have been down there-there have been some women in the kitchen and I'm wondering who runs the menu?

Carl D. Riggs: That has varied over the years, but that first year I was a bachelor, I talked Ida Self, Teague Self's wife, into being the Dean of Women for the handful of girls that we had there and also the meal planner. We had as our cook, a man from Norman, O.M. Stricklin, who either Strick or his wife, served as cook for a number of years after that very year and Strick did the cooking and he loved to fish and when he wasn't cooking he was fishing. They've had different cooks since that time and the meals are no longer planned by the people who do the cooking in the kitchen. The food supplying is now done totally by wholesalers who bring the food in on a weekly basis, based on orders given to them in advance.

Horace Bliss: On the visits that I have been down there recently there seem to be the same number of cooks, and if I don't bring them down a can of popcorn, they don't treat me right.

Rec room when it was a classroom Class under the shade tree

Carl D. Riggs: Well, I can understand that, cooks like favors just the same as anybody else. One of the things I wanted to mention is the first year at the Station was a difficult one in many ways. I mentioned the fact that we didn't even start classes until July 1 even then the building was not completed and so we had carpenters and painters working on the walls of the various rooms there including the laboratories, we only was two labs for six classes and therefore, we had either two classes meeting in the same room at the same time, or more frequently one would meet outside under a large tree and we had portable blackboards and the students were just as attentive and learned as much out there perhaps more than they would have inside. As a result of that crowded situation, however, we knew that we had to expand and expand rapidly, and so we immediately began plans for the next session of the legislature to get some additional money. Raymond Gary became President of the Senate and was able again to help us in getting, I think a hundred and ten thousand dollar appropriation for the building of three additional laboratories and a water processing plant so that we would have adequate water. The first year we tried to use well water and we simply couldn't get a well that would deliver water of a decent quality that would take care of cooking and drinking and bathing, etc. Quite often there was as much sand coming out of the shower head as there was water and even one time the water had a little oil in it, which excited some people, but never amounted to anything.

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Updated December 8, 2014 by Donna Cobb, dcobb@ou.edu
Friends of the OU Biological Station, fuobs@ou.edu