Interview of Carl D. Riggs
by Professor Horace Bliss
February 1, 1981
Horace Bliss: What sort of relations did you have with the community during that first year?
Carl D. Riggs: We had excellent relations, Horace. We made a number of very lasting and important friendships and in addition to that of Norman Brillhart that I mentioned earlier, we hired as our custodian, Clyde Johnson who lived immediately across the road from the Station and Clyde has served the Station long and well since that time. His wife, Lorene, has served as a cook for the summer session on two occasions and for special meetings and a lot of the local people have helped us by working in the kitchen, working in the custodian positions around the Station etc. We also had magnificent support from a number of people with the Army Corps of Engineers. I'll never forget the help that Eddie Laird gave us, first when he had that barge on the lake and then later after we established the Station, keeping us apprised of interesting fishery problems that occurred around the lake, making sure that we were in good graces of the Texas Fish and Game Authorities, also on the Oklahoma Fish and Game Department was a man named Curley Everett, who was the local ranger who was a constant aid to us in many ways. We would take the new faculty into interesting areas for field trips, showed us where a lot of fine fossil beds were and was instrumental in an archaeology development that we had at the Station for a couple of years because he knew where there were some old Indian burial areas. Also, I have to acknowledge the help of Dick Pile who was the Resident Engineer first, when we first developed the Station, and then Charles Solomon who followed him. These two men were based in Denison, Texas, and J. Roberts of the Corps of Engineers--those people were just invaluable to us. The main Engineer in the State of Oklahoma, Bob Hunter, constantly gave us support and had a great deal to do with the early success of the Station. Our relationships in the towns of Willis and Kingston and Madill and as far away as Durant were very good. Our faculty consistently gave lectures, programs at Civic Clubs, Garden Clubs, etc. We were asked to speak before Fish and Game Clubs, talked about some of the problems of commercial fishing and most all of these were very well received and the Station became a positive asset for the University.
Horace Bliss: Didn't a man named Northcutt become interested in the Station? I think that he later became one of the Regents.
Carl D. Riggs: Yes. Well, Glenn Northcutt was a dear personal friend, still is and was very instrumental in helping us to get the Station started. I can remember well that last franctic two or three days before the July opening of that first session when we were trying to get road signs up and get finishing touches done on the building for a little dedication ceremony and for getting the students all ready to move in--Glenn and I went around on the various roads in the area with a chovel and a sledge-hammer and an iron bar and dug holes and put sign posts in concrete so that people would be able to find their way to the Station. That was his first introduction to me and to the Station. He was continually supportive from that time on and when he became a member of the Board of Regents and when he became Chairman of the Board he was strongly supportive of the Station.
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