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T.J. Starker Oral History Interviews, 1978-1979

Oregon State University

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JL: T. J., could you begin by telling me about your grandparents and work up to the present? What do you remember about them?

TS: Sure. Of course, on one side of the family they were Starkers. (Laughter) They settled in Yarmouth, Iowa, a small town out from Burlington, Iowa, which is on the Mississippi River. My maternal grandparents were named Walker, and they were also farmers in more or less the same general location. My paternal grandparents had several sons, and they were pretty good-sized farmers. As I remember my maternal grandparents, they were more stock people; they imported 1:00longhorn cattle from Texas. I remember being there once when they were dehorning the cattle, and the blood was running; those cattle were going wild, they were almost climbing out of the corral, right over the logs, and so forth. I wanted to stay away from those longhorns. My parents were part of the Starker Brothers in Yarmouth. My father [Otto Starker] ran the hardware store particularly, and I had two uncles in general merchandise and another uncle in furniture.

JL: How many Starker brothers were there in business in Yarmouth?

TS: Four, if I recall, altogether. Then my father and mother [Mary Alice Walker 2:00Starker] homesteaded down in Grenola, Kansas. That's where I was born [on July 14, 1890].

JL: Why did they leave Iowa and go to Kansas?

TS: I think free land.

JL: Free land meant a homestead to them?

TS: Yes, I think it's a homestead proposition. Then they moved back to Burlington. An uncle and my father had a handle factory which used a good hickory from Iowa farms, and they also manufactured good furniture. The Northwest Cabinet Company was the name of that [factory]. My grandfather had one brother who was a banker in Burlington; he had married into the Leopold family. 3:00You might know the name Aldo Leopold [well-known U.S. naturalist, 1886-1948]. He's a second cousin, I would say. When I taught in Penn State in 1931, my son and I went through Madison, Wisconsin and stopped to see Aldo Leopold. His big trouble was that he had just lost the keys to his car. Bruce, that boy right there (pointing to the photo on the wall) said, "Did you look in the cuff of your pants?" There it was.

JL: What year did your parents go to Kansas to homestead?


TS: That was when I was just a baby, I think.

JL: Where did they meet each other?

TS: The Walker family and the Starker family weren't more than five miles apart around Yarmouth. My mother and my father met that way, I suppose.

JL: What do you remember about your childhood? You were born in Kansas, you said?

TS: Yes, but I don't remember very much about that.

JL: What do you remember about your grandparents? Did you do many things with them?

TS: Oh yes, my grandfather Starker was quite a character. He, of course, was born in Germany. He was raised as a baker, and one of the things that he was 5:00particularly good at was bending pretzels. He told a story of being aligned to a bake shop, and the baker wanted to fire him. My grandfather said, "I didn't come at night; I'm not going to go at night." (Laughter) Another story he told about: apparently in the German schools if a child disobeyed the rules or something, they crack them over the fingers with a ruler; well, the teacher was whacking him, and she said, "Henry, how many is that?" and he said, "I don't know, start 6:00all over." (Laughter) He was a character. [Later in the interview Starker said his grandfather's name was August Starker.]

JL: When did he come to the United States?

TS: Well, he made seven trips back to Germany and back again. Let's see, my sister was born by 1902. He brought back a lot of silverware and German things for the family.

JL: You don't recall the first time he came to the United States?

TS: No, but he probably had been there fifteen years, anyhow.


JL: He came to do farming?

TS: Well, I don't know. He came to make his fortune anyhow.

JL: Was he married when he came?

TS: I think so. My grandmother was a German hausfrau.

JL: What was her name?

TS: Fredi Ricka Ungerheir. The year I spent at Penn State, which is Dutch country, you know, I wanted to have a telephone put in; and so the telephone man came up to see what my financial rating was and whether I deserved to have a phone, and he asked me question after question. Finally I said, "My grandmother's name is Fredi Ricka Ungerheir." "I don't think I'll need that," he said, (chuckles)

JL: That was more information than he needed?


TS: Yes.

JL: What do you remember about her? Did you know her well?

TS: Oh, yes, I knew her very well, played in her kitchen--she had a great big kitchen there at Yarmouth. Played in her kitchen a lot. A good cook--German style of course, but pretty hearty. I don't know why those things are going to interest other people, though.

JL: So your father was born where?

TS: As far as I know he was born at Yarmouth, Iowa.

JL: And he moved from Yarmouth to Kansas and then back to Iowa?

TS: Then back to Burlington, Iowa, yes.

JL: That's where they had the hardware store?

TS: No, the hardware was in Yarmouth. The Starkers just practically owned Yarmouth, Iowa. As I say, they had a furniture store, a hardware store, a 9:00general merchandise store, and I'm not sure but what one of them might have been an undertaker.

JL: Are there still Starkers in Yarmouth?

TS: I don't think so. The only Starkers that might [still be in Iowa] would be in Burlington.

JL: Is Starker a German name that has been anglicized?

TS: Well, I guess it is. If you conjugate the word "Stark", its Starker, Starkar, Stark, Starker, Starkenson--you see. So, I think it's a German name.

JL: Did your grandfather die in Iowa?

TS: Yes, he died in Burlington, Iowa.

JL: What do you remember about Burlington, Iowa?


TS: Quite a lot. You see, I went there through the junior grade in high school, and then in 1905--I guess, that was the year of the Exposition [Lewis and Clark Exposition] in Portland--my father and a couple of his brothers came out to Portland. We moved out there and I entered the Portland High School. There was only one high school, and now there's fourteen of them.

JL: Now let's back up a minute. Why did he go to Portland just out of interest?

TS: I think so. He liked the country; and he was a contractor and builder, and Portland, Oregon was growing and he saw an opportunity for business.

JL: So in 1905 your family moved to Portland?

TS: That's right.


JL: How old were you then?

TS: Well, I was seventeen, I guess, because I was born in 1890; it's easy to figure. And in those days common labor was $1.50 a day, and I got $3.50 an hour as a cement finisher.

JL: How did your family get out to Portland from Iowa? What kind of vehicle did they use?

TS: I should imagine they came by train, but I couldn't swear to that. I'm pretty sure they did, because the first few days and weeks we stayed in the Hoyt Hotel, which is quite famous. It is within a block of the Union Depot, and I should have imagined we just went from the Union Depot until we saw a hotel 12:00sign, and stayed there for several days or weeks until my father bought a house.

JL: Were you sad about leaving Iowa? Or were you happy to come to Oregon?

TS: I think I was happy. I wanted to go with the family.

JL: What about your mother. How did she feel about the move?

TS: Well, I don't know. I suppose she was pleased, too. You see, the Walker family were English. My maternal grandparents came from England, and my paternal grandparents came from Germany, so they united two bulldogs that way. (Laughter)

JL: Had your father ever gone to school?

TS: Oh, yes, he was fairly well educated. I don't think college, no.

JL: High school graduate?

TS: I don't think so.


JL: And your mother, do you remember?

TS: No, I don't think either one were in college or high school.

JL: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

TS: One sister, Caroline. Caroline Starker Young. Her husband's name is Arthur Young.


JL: She was born in 1902, so she was younger than you.

TS: Yes. I don't know whether I've got a picture of her or not. She painted that lower picture, (points to mantle) She's an artist.

JL: What did your family do in their leisure time in the Portland area?

TS: They didn't have any. (Laughter) No, I don't really remember that they had any apart from going to church. I went to the White Temple and that was clear across town; there's a Baptist church there. Reverend [Uno M.] Brauer was the big shot in those days. He had two or three young sons that sat up in the front row in the balcony, and they'd get into tussles during the service, (laughter)


JL: Your parents were Baptist?

TS: I think so. In Yarmouth there was only about two churches: Baptist and Methodists. I'm sure they were Baptists. I think they both sang in the choir, too.

JL: What about your politics. What party did your father belong to?

TS: Rabid Democrat.

JL: Why rabid?

TS: Well, when William Jennings Bryan was running for president, and he got defeated, my father thought that the United States was going to pot. There was a story they told about William Jennings Bryan, the silver orator at that time. He went into a small town in Iowa; they didn't have any bandstand or anything for him to speak on, so they pulled out a manure spreader, and his opening statement was that this was the first time he ever spoke on the Republican platform, (laughter)


JL: What political issues were important to your father?

TS: Oh, I don't know. I think free silver was a topic a lot of times. I really don't know.

JL: You didn't have political discussions with him?

TS: I don't think so.

JL: How about your sister? Was she involved or interested in politics at all?

TS: No, she was ten years younger than I am, you see.

JL: Where is your sister now?

TS: They live in Astoria. Her husband is a Bumble Bee man--a cannery foreman and machinist.

JL: Was her husband from Portland?

TS: I don't know. I think he had a Swedish background, but I don't know if he came from Sweden or not.

JL: So you came out west to Portland. Can you remember anything about early days in Portland--your impressions of the city and how it compared to Burlington?

TS: Oh, it was a much bigger city. I had to take the streetcar, of course, to 17:00the Portland High School which was about 13th and Morrison, as I recall. I played tackle on the football team in Portland that fall.

JL: Did you have a winning season?

TS: I couldn't tell you. In those days there weren't any other high schools around to play. We played Seattle; we played Eugene and Salem; we played the deaf-mutes over at Vancouver. I always claimed that they [the deaf-mutes] invented the huddle, because they get around and give their signals that way, see. When you hit them with a big, hard tackle, they'd just grunt, see.


JL: Do you remember being closer to one of your parents, either your mother or father?

TS: Oh, I think I was closer to my father.

JL: Did you help him some in his business?

TS: Oh, yes, I worked for him off-and-on all the time, pretty near. We built houses. I drove nails, and [did] cement work. He was a cement contractor and built quite a few houses in Portland.

JL: Was that the business he started when he came to Portland in 1905?

TS: That's right.

JL: Was he successful?

TS: I think so, yes. He never was really rich, but he was in pretty fair financial shape.

JL: What happened to the other brothers that were in partnership with your dad at that time? Did they stay in Iowa?

TS: Charles Starker came out to Portland about the same time with my father. 19:00They had a finance business, really; they loaned money. They had an office downtown.

JL: Do you have any strong impressions of those early days when you first came to Portland, besides playing football and going to the high school?

TS: I went to church at the White Temple, as I said.

JL: So you were a Baptist, then?

TS: Yes, and when I came here to Oregon State in the fall of 1907, I attended 20:00the Baptist Church down here. It was about 5th and Jefferson. The owners then moved that building down to the water front, where they made a hay barn out of it. There's a picture there, (points toward mantle where picture is, explains photos) Then Jack Brandis [John S. Brandis, vice-president, Georgia Plywood Co.] and I moved that building to the fairgrounds, (shows photo of building at fairgrounds) [In 1957-1958 Starker and Brandis were instrumental in saving the 64-year-old "Little Brown Church" from demolition and were active in its renovation.]

JL: Why and how did you decide to come to Oregon State?


TS: Well, forestry was a new subject. The National Forest [U.S. Forest Service] had been established in 1904 [actually 1905; Starker had problems with dates], and that was 1907. It was a new field, and I liked the outdoors. In Burlington we didn't have a Boy Scout troop. As I remember, [we had an organization with] a similar name, and I was the forester in that young group. We were under 17; we were probably 14, 15, 16 years of age.

JL: Did your father and mother encourage you to go into forestry?


TS: I don't think they argued either way.

JL: Then your dad had no strong opinion about what you should do for a living?

TS: Just so he didn't have to support me. (Laughter)

JL: You didn't have any desire to take over his business?

TS: Well, I've always thought that maybe contracting and building was my second forte, because I was raised in that.

JL: Your early interest in forestry came from your outdoor activities as a boy in Iowa?

TS: Well, not very much, because they didn't have many forests in Iowa. They cut 23:00hickory trees, and they cut oak trees, for furniture. My cousins, the Leopolds, had the Leopold Desk Factory; they were supposed to make the finest office desks in the world.

JL: When did you come to Oregon State?

TS: I came in 1907 [1908], and I graduated in 1908 [1910] because I had four 24:00years of high school education, and that made me a sophomore right off the bat. Then I took three years in two, and graduated. Then in 1908 [1910] Peavy [George W. Peavy, dean of the School of Forestry, 1913-1940, president of Oregon State 1934-1948] came to the school from California. He'd been working for the Forest Service. He thought I ought to go back to Ann Arbor, which is his alma mater, so I spent two years back there, and got the Master's degree.

JL: I want to hear more about your reasons for coming to OAC. Was it just that 25:00it was convenient to do so, or was it because the College was to teach forestry?

TS: As I say, the only people teaching forestry in the state [were at OAC]. The professor then was E. R. [Edward R.I Lake who was a botanist, and he was head of the department. He saw the handwriting on the wall that foresters were going to be one of the future occupations, so he thought he ought to leave and get a real forester at the head, and that's when they hired Peavy. Lake went back to Washington, D.C. as a nut specialist.

JL: What do you remember about Lake? What kind of man was he?

TS: I liked him very much--a thorough gentleman, I'd say. (Emotional)

JL: What did he look like? Do you remember?


TS: It's hard to describe a man like that. He was fairly heavy set; I'd say a little less than six foot. As I say, he was a botanist; he could teach the botany end of plant life, and things of that kind, and I took courses from him. But he didn't know anything about forestry, so he left, and Peavy was hired.

JL: What did you think of Peavy?

TS: Well, he was a-well, hail-fellow-well-met--that would be a description I would give him. A likable kind of a chap.


JL: Anything about his physical stature that stands out in your mind?

TS: No, he's small. He was quite a small man, and wrote very big. Seems to be a characteristic of small people; I've got some friends that are small, and they write all over the page.

JL: I've heard several people mention that he spoke in a very loud, commanding voice.

TS: Well, he was a good speaker, yes. One of the things I do remember was that while I was there he took sabbatical leave of some kind, and went to New Orleans. He wrote to me that he saw a man making a mint julep, (laughter) that impressed him.

JL: You went to Ann Arbor at Peavey's suggestion, you said, to get a Master's in Forestry. Is that correct?

TS: I've got the only handwritten Master's diploma that the University of Michigan ever issued.

JL: Why was yours handwritten?

TS: Well, the head of the Forestry Department there was named Roth [Filibert Roth]. We called him Daddy. I think he kind of took a liking to me, being a 28:00western boy, and the last Sunday I was in Ann Arbor he had me over for a German dinner-chicken and dumplings. When I left, he gave me this folded piece of paper, "Here's something, young man that might do you some good." (Emotional) Well, one of the things is I had passed a [U.S. Forest Service] forest assistant examination. I think I was at that time the only Oregon stater that had ever passed it. In fact, the only Oregon stater that passed it for a good many years, because when I came back to teach here, I don't think anybody had ever passed it. So, I took Daddy Roth's system, and I transplanted it to Oregon State, and I 29:00got my kids through in pretty good shape. What year did you get your Master's degree? That would be 1910 [1912], I guess. [I was a] 1908 [1910] [OAC] graduate.

JL: What do you remember about the courses at the University of Michigan?

TS: Oh, the man who taught silviculture was [Walter] Mulford, who then became head of the University Of California School Of Forestry. He was a very good teacher.

JL: Did they have a regular forestry curriculum there?

TS: Oh, you bet. Engineering, silviculture, dendrology--complete works. They 30:00had a good school.

JL: During this time was your family--your sister, your mother and father--still in Portland?

TS: Yes, I think they still lived there, up in Alameda. You know the town? It's up on the hill to the northeast. Irvington is down here on the flat, and then you go up the hilly country, and there's this area.

JL: Do you remember any especially hard times experienced by your family?

TS: Oh, 1930 and 1931, everybody was broke.

JL: Where were you then?

TS: Well, I was teaching at Oregon State, and I took sabbatical leave in 1931--went back to Penn State. I was getting half salary from Oregon Agricultural College, I think, and I got a half a salary from Penn State. The president of Penn State at that time had been my public speaking professor here 31:00at Oregon State. Hetzel [Ralph D. Hetzel], his name was. And I recall one of the first nights I was in State College, I think on Monday night, I went over to visit with him. He had open house, I think, on Monday night and there were a couple of other Oregon staters there.

JL: And this was at Penn State?

TS: Yes, in Penn State. While I think about it, though, Penn State had a memorial union, too. They had a great big fireplace in it, and engraved on there in German, "You tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you what you are."

JL: What did you do after you graduated from Oregon State? You had worked for 32:00the Forest Service, hadn't you, before going to Michigan?

TS: Student assistants, I think was our title.

JL: You were a student assistant when you first started working for the U.S. Forest Service? How much money did you make?

TS: Yes, $25.00 a month, I think.

JL: Was that considered a lot of money at that time?

TS: Well, I got more money than any of my classmates got, and I don't know why. Of course, that wasn't the first time I worked for the Forest Service. Pretty near every summer I would take something. I'd take a job that would increase my ability to teach. One summer I worked for the Northwest Blower Dry Kiln Company. I had to teach dry kilning. I remember another summer I had a crew of college boys. We cruised and mapped the Fremont National Forest down at Lakeview.


JL: What years did you do that, do you remember?

TS: No. I've got pictures of those [boys]. The interesting thing is, I had boys from Yale, from Harvard, from the University of Michigan, from Washington State, from Oregon Agricultural College; they came from all over. There were some characters, particularly the fellow from Harvard, (laughter)

JL: How old were you when you started in the Forest Service?

TS: I suppose I was still about 18.

JL: Were you young for that job?


TS: I was still young, (chuckles)

JL: Was the work good experience for you? Did you enjoy working for the Forest Service?

TS: Oh, yes! Yes! I enjoyed it very much. One summer I was on one of these reconnaissance crews-that's what they called them- where we mapped and surveyed. The first summer I worked with a man who had been working in the Forest Service; his name was Wilcox. [According to the U.S. Forest Service Field Office Directory, August, 1908 through April, 1913, there was a forest assistant, Arthur R. Wilcox, on the Columbia National Forest at that time.] They didn't have any maps. We'd climb the peaks, and map in the country and [identify] the type of timbers as best we could. Then the next summer it was an intensive reconnaissance. We had a man from the University of Michigan who was the boss of the party, and our cook was right off of Burnside Street; these days he'd 35:00probably be called a Wobbly [name given to member of the IWW, Industrial Workers of the World, and hence to any radical]. All our instruments, he'd call a peewee gadget, (laughter)

JL: What were some of the other jobs you had right out of college?

TS: Well, that was two of them. And there was the Northwest Blower Dry Kiln Company. A man by the name of [Howard M.] Oakleaf was president of that. He sent me around to all of the established plants to try to work up what was their troubles, and phone that into his office if I couldn't solve them. We'd have a lot of telephone conversations at night. I went all over Idaho and Montana 36:00visiting these dry kilns. Then, of course, when I came back to Oregon State, I taught dry kilning, and I'd take my students over to Toledo. That plant was built by--what did they call that . . . it's practically war surplus, though. It later became C. D. Johnson Lumber Company. But we went over there on the train, stayed in the bunkhouse, ate at the cookhouse. JL: During what year would that have been?

TS: It would be after 1910 [1922?] some place; 1911, or 1912, maybe.


JL: How long did you work with the Forest Service?

TS: Oh, I think totally about nine years.

JL: Why did you quit working for them? Do you remember?

TS: Yes. At the wartime I was in the Office of Products in the Portland office, and we compiled a lot of information on the data utilization of wood in the Northwest.

JL: This was World War I?

TS: Yes. In fact, when I suggested that I volunteer, they said, "No, you have to stay here, because we need you." My job was to go around all the spruce country 38:00and get the mills to cut and ship spruce airplane stock. We had a cut-up plant at Vancouver, Washington, and all they wanted was nice, straight, fine-grained material to put into airplane stock.

JL: So you were hired by the federal government then?

TS: Yes, I was working for the federal government. During this war period I had a lot of contact with the Battle of the Yeon, we called it: that's the name of the building up there. Spruce Productions Division occupied an entire floor of that building, and I just kind of sized up a lot of those people as hating the draft more than anything else. But I had a lot of contact with them during the war, because they were interested in the material that I was getting over to Vancouver for the cut-off plant.


JL: You left the Forest Service to come to OAC?

TS: No. During that period I was furnishing the Western Pine Association with the data that we were gathering, so when the war was over, they came over and said, "Wouldn't you like to work for Western Pine? We'll give you a job as traveling secretary and manager of the box department." I stayed with them, I 40:00think, about five years. I made [traveled in] Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon. I had lots of hay fever; I remember traveling on the dusty train. Incidentally, I got a raise every year, which is more than we got in the Forest Service; because I was on what we call the stationary role, I never did get a raise. Then one day I was at my [Western Pine Association] desk and Peavy came in, and said, "Well, how would you like to come down and teach?" And I said, "I don't think so." (Laughter)

JL: You were in Portland then? In the Yeon Building?

TS: Yes, in the Yeon Building, the headquarters of Western Pine Association, fifth floor. I guess they're still there. I don't know.

JL: What do you remember about World War I?

TS: Well, I was occupied all the time getting spruce material. I never fought. Incidentally, I was on the draft board there, because I was supposed to be a college educated man. I got some buttons and a little flack here. We advised the 41:00men that were on the draft board, particularly as civilians. Incidentally, when World War II came along, I was on the draft board for two years here in Corvallis. When I came down to Corvallis, the only hotel was the old Julian Hotel, and I remember waking up with bugs in the bed, and there was some crawlers on the dresser scarf. I killed them and spread them out for the hotel manager to see the next morning. But, I taught 20 years.

JL: Starting when?


TS: 1922 to 1942, because I taught 20 years.

JL: Were you married by the time you returned to OAC?


TS: No. I didn't get married until 1914. Married a high school girl.

JL: What was her name?

TS: Margaret Ostrander. When I went into the Portland High School, I was seated right in front of her. (Emotional laughter)

JL: How long did you know her before you got married?

TS: Oh, several years. You see, I graduated from high school. But if I wanted to raise her hackles and make her red-faced, I'd say, "After I sat in front of you, you never had a chance." (Laughter)


JL: Did she come to Oregon Agricultural College, too?

TS: No, she never went to college. She went to work teaching school in St. Johns [a suburb of Portland].

JL: What grade did she teach?

TS: Oh, I don't know. It was in grade school.

JL: Where did you get married?

TS: In Portland. The classmate that I had at Ann Arbor was Sinclair Wilson, and he and I lived in the same house, and we both went here to Oregon State. We went back there together [Wilson to study law], but he fell in love with the Woodward 45:00girl--Woodward and Clarke Drugstores [wholesale drug company, Portland, Oregon]; they were quite the big thing in those days. So the second year I was roomless.

JL: Wasn't he in the first graduating class with you? Jack Pernot, Sinclair Wilson, and Harold Gill?

TS: Oh, sure.

JL: When did you have your first child?

TS: I don't know; I'd have to look at the family tree.

JL: What were your children's names?

TS: Bruce, and Jean. [Bruce, the older one] got killed in that airplane accident.


JL: That accident happened in 1975?

TS: I hate to quote dates that I don't know for sure. The only date that I'm sure of is 1492. [Bruce Starker was killed July 27, 1975.]

JL: Me, too. Where were you living when Bruce was born?

TS: We lived in the northeast part of Portland. I don't think it was Shaver Street; can't tell you what that street name was. Brand new house.

JL: Were you there also when Jean was born?

TS: Yes, I think so. Yes. They were born, I think, just two years apart.

JL: Where is your daughter now?

TS: Right here in Corvallis. She lives on the west end of Jackson Street. Her name is Roth [Mrs. Kermit E. Roth], and they had four children, two boys and two girls.

JL: Let's go back to when you came to Oregon State in 1922. Does anything from that period--the first few years of your teaching--stand out in your mind?


TS: Well, there were a lot of muddy streets in Corvallis. I know that. I built my first house on 23rd street in 1923, and Van Buren Street was 18 inches of mud.

JL: Completely unpaved?

TS: Yes, in fact, one of my first community endeavors was to take a petition to the owners from Arnold Way down to King's Road to get signatures to get that street paved, and that was one of my first opportunities to boy scout.

JL: How did Oregon Agricultural College, as it was then, compare with what it was when you were a student? Did you notice any changes?


TS: Oh, it always improved, I think, yes.

JL: Do you recall it being a lot different from now?

TS: Well, I always recall what I call Kidder Hall-or in my day when I was on the campus it was called The Shack--a wooden building just west of the present Memorial Union that's been revamped by the Art Department. In my mind it's one of the nicest buildings on campus.

JL: Fairbanks Hall now?

TS: Fairbanks Hall, it might be, but it's had a lot of names: Kidder Hall, The Shack. Mrs. Kidder was--I don't know whether I should say "Mrs.", I think it was 49:00just Kidder, (laughter) she was a librarian, rather a large, rotund, motherly person [Ida A., "Mother", Kidder]. Just across to the north of the Forestry Building where I spent 20 years, there was a frame building that was moved off. It was, I suppose, about 30-foot square--[maybe] 50 by 50. I think it was the YMCA building, the YMCA hut. A lot of new buildings were built all along that time. William Jasper Kerr was president then [president, 1907-1932]. (Aside to 50:00cleaning woman: "Got to go? See you again, Marleen.") She keeps me decent, (laughter)

JL: What were the students like when you first came? What do you remember about them?

TS: Well, I remember more about the students that came in after the War. I had a lot of students that were ex-World War I students, and some of them were 51:00older than I was. A lot of them still wore overalls-fatigues, (laughter)

JL: Let's see, Peavy was the dean when you came back in 1922?

TS: Well, yes he was dean. That's right.

JL: What do you remember about him besides his physical size? You mentioned that the other day.

TS: He was a good speaker. Had good use of the English language, I thought. He was a likable fellow. He had worked for the U.S. Forest Service in California. I think he was in charge of planting down there when he got the job as dean. I also remember that every time we got a new specimen tree or anything, in Harold 52:00Gill's language it was a gillifolia. (Laughter) Pinus gillifolia. Gill had a great hankering to go to sea as a sailor, and instead of drawing probably the cones of a pseudotsuga taxifolia, he'd draw a sailing ship, (laughter) just some of the things I remember. I also remember that I washed the vials and so forth in the laboratory. I think I got 25 cents an hour for that kind of work.

JL: This was when you were a student?

TS: When I was a student, yes.

JL: Was it not Peavy who talked you into coming back as a teacher?


TS: That's right, yes. As I told you, I was working for the Western Pine Manufacturing Association and I told Peavy that I didn't want to come down here to teach; but he convinced me that I should. I thought I'd had the experience in the woods sufficiently to be a good teacher, and I think that was the basis for my success as a teacher.

JL: Had you been friends with Peavy ever since you were a student? Is that why he sought you out?

TS: Oh, yes. We'd been friends all the time.

JL: What caused him to seek you out?

TS: Well, I came down one time, I remember, and gave a lecture at Forestry School. I guess that's about the only experience he had with me after I graduated, but he knew that I'd been back to Michigan and had a Master's degree, 54:00and I'd worked for the Forest Service and other timber agencies all my life, so he knew some-thing of my background. [After I joined the faculty,] I was chairman of the Fernhoppers Banquet [annual forestry students' banquet] one year, and he and I went over to cross the street to the M.U., and started to rearrange the tables. Georgia Bibee was director of the food service over there, and she came out there with her eyes blazing, "Haven't I told you men to leave these tables alone?" (Laughter) I think within a year [1948] George married Georgia, (laughter)


JL: What courses did you teach when you first started teaching?

TS: Silviculture--oh, practically everything except finance, and I taught that in the woods. Took a group of people, students, out in the woods and I'd say, "What is that tree worth? Which trees would you take?" Forest management, silviculture, wood identification--! Was a handyman-forest products.

JL: What departments were in the school when you started teaching?

TS: I guess we had what we call Timber Management, and I think we had Logging Engineering. I'm sure we did. [Henry R.] Patterson came as head of that department. And we had Forest Products. I'd think those would probably be the 56:00three. I was head of Forest Management.

JL: How many students did you have in your classes?

TS: Oh, 15 to 20, I'd say.

JL: How many were in the School at that time?

TS: I doubt if there was many more than a hundred.

JL: Were they good, dedicated students?

TS: I think so. Yes. That's one of the things I'm proud of is the fact that a lot of my students went out and picked off the good jobs.

JL: Does anyone in particular stand out in your mind as a good, and later a successful, student?

TS: Oh, yes, I had some straight "A" students. Ed [Edwin L.] Mowat, for instance; he worked for the Forest Service immediately after graduation; he was 57:00assigned to the experiment station over at Bend. Clarence Richen, for instance, who became northwest manager for Crown Zellerbach. Ed [J. E.] Schroeder who became state forester, and still is. Those are some of the names I can recall offhand. But I had some good students.

JL: Do any teachers stand out in your mind--any that taught with you, say when you first came in 1922?

TS: Well, I think that Harry Patterson in Logging Engineering was good, because he'd had experience in the woods. He'd been a logging engineer for some of the 58:00bigger companies. And a little later Henry Vaux came as a professor. I thought he was very intelligent. He was more in the finance end of it.

JL: Yes. Was Harry Nettleton here at that time?

TS: Well, I think earlier he was just a student, but let's see, he was assistant and was manager of the Mac Forest for a time. I don't know just which department we would put him in.

JL: Who were the heads of the other departments, do you recall?


TS: Well, Patterson was head of the Engineering Department. Glenn Voorhies was head of Wood Products. I'd have to look that up. It might be in the catalogue so far as that is concerned.

JL: Does anything stand out in your mind as being important to you during the 20 years that you taught? You mentioned the students that you had as being important. Anything else?

TS: Well, of course, that's the lifeblood of a teacher. Oh, [there was] the fact that we got McDonald Forest which was a laboratory. I don't think it's been exceeded in value in any other forestry school in the U.S. as far as quality is concerned. I had lots of fun putting all those pieces of land together, because I bought them from 40 acres to 320 acres, at [different] times.


JL: Were you appointed by Peavy as the agent to buy the land?

TS: No. I think I just did it. I'd go out there after hours, vacations, mark a piece of timber and sell it, and get the operation started. Well, that picture you've got is [an illustration of] thinning, you see. (Indicating a picture) We'd mark that, and then I'd put out sample plots all over the country and particularly over on the west side where it had been burned. A logging company had worked through that country, and I think they started the slash fire at the base of the hill [and it] went clear to the top and a little bit over.

JL: Is that the only fire that you know has occurred in McDonald Forest, or have there been others?


TS: Well, I think that's probably the only fire that amounted to anything.

JL: Let me back up a minute. Did you personally know Mary McDonald?

TS: I never did, no.

JL: Did you deal with her lawyer at all when she was making the bequest?

TS: We had a big student here by the name of Robert Rushing. He came from California and his father was acquainted with Mary McDonald in San Francisco. I think through that course of connections Mary McDonald, who was a widow of an Oregon lumberman, got interested and sent us the money. We never did hash over that particular feature of how we started [acquiring the Forests].


In the early days I had to use Avery Park. That was my laboratory. I may have mentioned that [Edward A.] Tarwater was the renter in there, and he ran cattle. I was in his good graces, because one of the exercises I had down there was [to] 63:00divide the students up into groups of five, and they were supposed to pick out the most defective tree in their particular plot, and we felled that tree and bucked it up into four-foot lengths and gave it to Tarwater. Of course, that got us in good graces with Mr. Tarwater. He was an ex-sailor, and had a vocabulary that reached from here to breakfast.

But with reference to the School's acquisition of McDonald Forest, I got representatives out of the School of Forestry: the Forestry Club, one out of Phi Sigma Phi, and one out of the faculty, who was myself. The three of us sent out 64:00letters to all our alumni, and we got quite a lot of money promised. I've forgotten now-maybe $35,000, just to take a figure. I remember Peavy gave $50, and I gave $25. I remember that, (laughter) By the fact that we and the faculty were interested enough to cough up some money, the Board of Regents thought it might be a good thing, and they appropriated some money to buy some land.

JL: When you started accumulating this land did you have in mind its use as a laboratory for students?

TS: Oh, yes. I looked at a lot of pieces before I bought out there. For instance, we had what we call Cavalry Pasture where they [the ROTC] pastured 65:00their horses out here [in the area where OSU's seismograph is now located].

JL: You mean the School of Forestry had that piece of land?

TS: No. That's one of the pieces I was looking at pretty carefully, but then I found this other piece.

JL: So it was your idea to accumulate this land for the School of Forestry? Had you heard of other schools doing this?

TS: Oh, yes, sure. The Yale people have forests, and Harvard has forests. The University of Michigan has forests, but I think we've got one of the best.

JL: Peavy pretty much let you go out, and cruise it, and decide which ones looked good, and then make recommendations to him?

TS: Yes, that was the process. Yes, usually.


JL: Then you would negotiate with the land owner?

TS: The land owner, and it seems to me the BLM [U.S. Bureau of Land Management] had a piece that we got given to us. I don't remember now.

JL: Why did you quit teaching at the College here in 1942?

TS: Well, I was getting so much work to do on my own land that I thought I'd . . . Well, we had a little difficulty . . . I'm not going to mention his name, because you've got to . . . When Peavy was appointed president of the 67:00University, I don't know whether he had the entire say. But Mason [Earl G. Mason, acting dean of Forestry, 1940-1942]-pardon me, I shouldn't have said that; slipped up.

JL: Mason succeeded Peavy as dean . . .

TS: Acting dean.

JL: As acting dean, and that was in about 1940?

TS: About that, yes.

JL: How long was Mason dean then?

TS: I don't know. Not very long. See, we've had Dean [Paul M.] Dunn [1942-1955] after that, and we had [Walter F.] McCulloch [1955-1966] after that, and then we 68:00had Carl [H.] Stoltenberg T1967-] to the present. I guess it was just those three maybe.

JL: Was Paul Dunn a good dean?

TS: Yes, I think so. He must have been good. He offered me a job. (Laughter) I had taken retirement just before he came, I think . . . let's turn it off just a . . . (minutes later) ... I never worked under Paul. He's been very friendly to me there. He sent his St. Regis calendar for 1977. He said he was bringing me one for 1978. He gives me little notebooks from St. Regis. [Dunn left OSU to 69:00become technical director for the St. Regis Paper Company.]

JL: So you get together with him quite often now?

TS: Oh, yes. Yes. Oh, I go over to the Forestry School and give them the dickens every week or so.

JL: What did you do after you quit teaching at Oregon State in the forties?

TS: Well, I guess I would say that I just managed my own timber-area interests.

JL: By this time you had established Starker Forests?

TS: I got a few holdings, yes. You don't buy a lot of timber on a $3,200-a-year salary even at the remarkable prices that we had in those days.


JL: When did you start buying timber holdings?

TS: About 1936.

JL: What motivated you to do that?

(T. J. points to his head)

JL: Brains. Yes? (Laughter) A lot of people said that land wasn't worth anything because it was cutover?

TS: Most of the people tapped their heads: "T. J., there must be something the matter with you." (Laughter) Yes.

JL: Can you remember some of the prices you paid for that land?

TS: Oh, yes. All the way from $1.50 to $15.00 an acre.

JL: Any particular type of land that you looked for?

TS: Yes. I had measuring sticks. I prefer to have North Slope to south slope, because there is more moisture. I wanted to have at least 40 inches of rain, if possible. I wanted neighbors that weren't too handy with a match. For instance, while I was teaching here I had a student from Coos Bay, and everything that I 71:00would tell him was different than Coos Bay. So finally I said, "Scotty, I'll go home with you Christmas time and see these things." And I went down there, and the County Court practically begged me to buy a large piece of land for $1.50 per acre. Well, I didn't buy it because it had been burned over on both sides pretty near, and I didn't want to take a chance. And I came back and maybe paid $5.00 or $15.00 to Benton County instead.

JL: What was the first piece of land you bought?

TS: It was just south of Blodgett; and according to the people that ran the sawmill right near it, the main crime was that I was a college professor, and 72:00they let a college professor beat them to the timber.

JL: How much did you pay an acre for that land? How big a piece was it?

TS: Well, I've got records of those things. Oh, around 100 acres, I think. The map in the office out there at the Starker Forests is all painted pink. I think the date that I bought it, and probably the price I paid for it, is on that map. It's a map that big, and this piece of land only took up a little part of it. But that map shows the sweat in my hip pocket.

JL: You were anticipating that timber prices would go up, and that's why you bought the land?

TS: Yes. Oh, I told my students, I said, "Buy stuff that will come on the 73:00market in 25 years." Some of them did.

JL: You started managing your own holdings right away after you stopped teaching in 1942?

TS: Yes.

JL: Was your son involved at that stage?

TS: Bruce was involved, yes. The others [Starker's grandchildren, Bond and Barte] were pretty young. They're both good foresters now, though.

JL: For how many years did you manage Starker Forests after leaving Oregon State?

TS: To date.

JL: You are still managing or involved in management, then?

TS: Well, the two grandsons are really the partnership. Starker Forests is now a partnership: Barte and Bond, and their mother and myself. I would say most of the decisions are made by Bond, because he's the older one, and he seems to have a knack for financial dealings. He likes the office better. Barte likes the 74:00woods, I think, better.

JL: How have you seen forestry change since you became involved with forestry in Oregon?

TS: Trees still grow, (laughter)

JL: Have you seen a lot of change in technology over the years?

TS: Well, for instance, we practice a lot of thinning, both precom-mercial and in the stand at harvesting. We harvest grouse ladder [a tree with a great many branches to serve for grouse perches"]. In fact, I sent Hardy Glascock [Hardin R. Glascock, counselor, Western Forestry and Conservation Association] a picture of a log that we had with knots on it that big, all along. I put a title on it, "All Douglas-fir trees do not produce fever blocks." (Laughter) And we try to 75:00get rid of the poorest trees first, and leave the better trees grow. We figure the best time to thin is when you can do it with a machete, when they're an inch, an inch and a half in diameter. We study the compound interest tables very studiously because a dollar compounded for 60 years runs into an awful lot of money. We do very little burning in our forests. Instead of burning, we leave our slash on the ground to decay so that it will produce nutrients for the next 76:00crop. Those are some of the things that we are doing.

JL: Bond and Barte went to Oregon State School of Forestry as well, didn't they?

TS: Yes, they did. [Bond graduated in 1967; Barte in 1972. Their father, Bruce graduated in 1940.]

JL: Did they introduce some new techniques when they came into the operation?

TS: Oh, I don't know particularly. I'll take that back; I'll say that old man Starker didn't know much about weedicides--yes, weedicides and sprays, you know, for killing brush and slash. Bruce started it, of course, and took that over, and now these boys are the authorities on that particular subject. I wouldn't 77:00argue anything except that it's a good practice, but I just don't know a dioxin if I saw it coming down the street, (laughter)

JL: About what size is Starker Forests in terms of holdings?


TS: Roughly 52,000 acres. We pay taxes in ten different counties.

JL: Is that just in Oregon, or do you have land in other states?

TS: We have a little bit in Washington, but not very much. That's the only other state.

JL: Are you still actively acquiring land?

TS: Every time a bargain comes along, we'll buy it. There aren't many bargains.

JL: What's average timberland worth now?

TS: Well, there isn't any such thing as average.

JL: No average in price?

TS: No. No. It's just like how old is ham, you know. You've got so many factors: the age of the trees, the rapidity of growth, the site quality, the neighbors, access, miles to market--all those things enter into what we'll pay.


JL: In recent times what would be the most that you have paid for timberland per acre?

TS: One thousand dollars an acre, I'd say.

JL: What would be the least? I'm trying to get some idea of the range in the worth of timberland now.

TS: Well, I made a good buy a couple of years ago up by Alexander School, that's in the northwestern part of the county, and I don't know what I paid for that. That is the best buy I've made lately.

JL: What future do you see for Starker Forests? Is it going to continue growing under the leadership of Barte and Bond?

TS: I think so.


JL: There will be no problem competing with the big companies like Weyerhaeuser, Boise Cascade, and those?

TS: Well, of course, big companies-Georgia Pacific, Publishers Paper, Longview Fiber, Bohemia-they'll come into Benton County if they have a chance, and buy timberland. The thing that I would like to have you quote is: "Is there any other industry besides the tree farmer that has the competition from government agencies that the tree farmer has?"

JL: How do you mean? Elaborate on that.

TS: Well, BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, the School of Forestry, the State of 81:00Oregon have timberlands, every one of them. They don't pay any taxes. Sometimes when they make a sale, they pay a portion of their revenue in lieu of taxes. If they don't cut, they don't pay anything. Private timber owner has to pay every year. I've had that in print, and the only answer I've ever had that [indicated] somebody had [similar] competition [from government agencies], was from the president of a private school. I think maybe he's got something to complain about, because Oregon State, University of Oregon, all those schools are run by tax money, and he has to go out and solicit money to run his institution or get 82:00tuition from his students.

JL: Then you think it's very difficult for the private tree farmer to compete?

TS: Well, I think this is a truism: the more timber they sell the less valuable my timber is. See? I've tried to be a good citizen and indicated that maybe the government agencies ought to have more employees, but I've got my fingers crossed on that. I see all the people down here in the Siuslaw [Forest] with maybe 30 people there with pickups that go out to Alsea, and they've got 30 more employees out there; so I'm not so sure that I'm a good citizen when I say that the government ought to hire more people to put more timber on the sale docket 83:00in order to compete with Starker.

JL: How many employees does Starker Forests have?

TS: Not very many. Got about six foresters, I guess. Three women in the office, off-and-on part-time some of them, filling out forms four-feet long and two-feet high in order to comply with the severance tax.

JL: A lot of paper work in complying with the government regulations?

TS: That, and it keeps one girl just about busy writing permits. In 1977 we wrote some 1,212 permits. About half of them were woodcutting permits.

JL: What other kinds of permits do you give?

TS: Cascara peeling, cone picking, berry picking, rock harvesting-


JL: Rock harvesting, did you say?

TS: Rocks, yes.

JL: Oh, for what purpose?

TS: We've got five rock quarries altogether. In fact, I can make more money per acre on rock quarries than I can on raising trees. Oh, we have a beautiful quarry out here halfway to Blodgett. We can furnish you with three-quarters-inch-minus, three-inch-minus riprap memorial stones, up to ten ton. (Laughter)


JL: Quite a line.

TS: We guarantee our rock to pack and not to slack. Yes, that's right. Oh, I fight with the county engineer, because they get gravel out of the river free, I understand. But, I claim that if you read the paper a lot of people get killed or get hurt.


JL: Are you still active in your management of the forest?

TS: Every day pretty near. Yes.

JL: You never have really retired then?

TS: No, I work about 12 to 14 hours a day. A lot of times it's 9:30 p.m. when I leave that desk. Well, last night, for instance, I had to go to the board of trustees of the Congregational Church. When I got home it was 11:00 p.m.

JL: You are active in the Congregational Church?

TS: I'm the agent.

JL: Have you been active in that church for a long time?

TS: Forty years, plus.

JL: Your father had been a Baptist, as I recall?

TS: Yes. I was dunked, too. I was a Baptist, (chuckles)


JL: Was your wife also active in the church with you?

TS: In the Congregational Church. She was a Congregationalist in Portland. We got married in Sunnyside Congregational Church, I guess it was. Yes.

JL: Has the church been an important factor in your life?

TS: Well, I think so, yes. As agent and as a builder. I spent every day, I think, one summer--1974, I'd say it was--I spent every day there managing [the building of the Congregational church"!. We had a good contractor, we had a good architect: Jack [John W.] Broome in Portland was the architect, Salem were the contractors. They were good people, and if you want to look at a good job of 87:00woodworking, you just go into that church. I was there, and watched them drive pretty near every nail. Checked up on the lumber dryness with a machine, and if it was too wet, I said, "No."

JL: Let's talk for a moment about your involvement in the community of Corvallis. What kind of things have you done over the years since you've been here?

TS: I gave you my first community effort: getting Van Buren Street paved.

JL: Okay. That was in 1923, you said?

TS: Yes, I expect it's about 1923 because I built that house in 1923. Dr. Carl Anderson lives there. Do you know him? In the [OSU] Health Service.


JL: Earlier you mentioned that there were a couple of instances of community involvement that you feel especially happy about.

TS: Yes, in about 1950 to 1953 the Good Samaritan Hospital was in rather [bad] financial straights, so we had a meeting in City Hall at that time on the top 89:00floor of what is presently the Lipman's Building [S.W. 4th and Madison Streets]. I made a statement that contradicted a few people who had said that people of Benton County had heard too much about the hospital--about people being stopped in the lobby and bleeding to death, and so forth. I said, "I don't think they have heard anything about it." A statement like that, of course, forced me to accept a chairmanship of raising the money to get the hospital on its feet. But, I want to particularly emphasize the fact that I didn't do it alone: I had some wonderful co-chairmen. There was Stanley Wilt [president, Dog Face Lumber Co., 90:00Corvallis], there was Bob Ingalls [Robert G. Ingalls of the Corvallis Gazette-Times], there's Gordon Larson [of Philomath Variety]. Did I mention Rex Clemens [of Clemens Forest Products, Inc.]? There was five of them. They were able to contact some people that were rather close to them, and I believe we raised $300,000 in that particular drive.

JL: To get a new hospital?

TS: Well, to get that particular hospital on its feet, yes. That is the main thing. The next thing that I might be proud of is the planting of the ponderosa pines on the wheel highways radiating out of Corvallis to Philomath, towards the 91:00north to Monmouth, and so forth. We didn't plant any towards Albany, because we couldn't find any particular good places to put the trees.

JL: You were responsible for having those all planted?

TS: I supervised the planting, but the Corvallis Lions Club paid the hired people.

JL: You also experimented with planting pines in Mac Forest, didn't you?

TS: Oh, yes, practically all those trees out there, particularly on what we used to call the bald spot--the south exposure. We had a race study out there. We got seeds from six or seven different provinces and planted them. I was kind of interested in the animal reaction to some of those strains; some of them were 92:00practically eaten right down to the ground, and others grew without being hurt particularly. My son, Bruce, wrote a progress report on that particular study, I think. It's in the library, I believe, under research or some place.

JL: What kind of trees did you plant?

TS: Ponderosa pine. Pinus ponderosa. Western yellow pine, if you want to write it that way.

JL: What was the idea of planting the pine trees along the road? Just for scenic purposes?

TS: Yes, I think so. I think it is more interesting to drive to Monroe, for instance, on a hot, sunny day and have those big trees. Gives you some shade as you travel along.

JL: Why did you choose ponderosa pine?

TS: Because ponderosa pine is a three-needle pine, and is noted for its thriftiness in dry spots. On the other hand, those particular pines were in the 93:00swamp during the wintertime because it's poorly drained along a lot of those places; and they have been exposed to the farmers' fires and burning of fields alongside, and that's reduced the number of trees; they have had insect damage; the power line, the telephone company has topped quite a few of them; so those trees have really had hard sledding in a lot of ways. We planted about one to every 50 feet, clear to Willamette Grange towards Monroe, for instance.

JL: What else have you done here in the community? I know you were involved in the Avery Park acquisition? Can you tell us about that?

TS: Well, I heard that it was owned by the Avery's. I heard that they were going to sell the trees for piling; and so I contacted Mrs.-her husband was a chemistry prof-and got a price; contacted Charlie Whiteside who was a 94:00leader--well, he owned the theaters downtown; and I guess he and I went to the city council on Monday night. The price was $6,000, as I recall, and I think it was 60 acres, which is awful cheap, even in those days. And the council appropriated the money. I guess, before we went to the city council we had an 95:00old-time picnic in there to sell it [the idea] to the general public.

JL: About what year was that, do you recall?

TS: Well, it seems to me they used to have a sign on there, 1937- right in there somewhere some place. The city would have a real date on that, I think. So the Lions put on an old-time picnic [on July 4, 1937], and we had dart throwing and ring-the-bells and foot races for the different age kids, and sold hamburgers. I remember I said, "We furnish the aspirin." [The city bought the land in 1937 96:00from the heirs of Florence Jones, daughter of Joseph C. and Martha Avery, original owners of the donation land claim of which it was a part. Starker had been active in an earlier attempt by the Lions Club to persuade the city to buy the land, which resulted in an unsuccessful city bond election on January 9, 1927, a year before Florence Jones' death on January 20, 1928. Apparently Starker had the two efforts confused and he had been in touch with Florence Jones in the 1920's, not the 1930's. However, she was not the wife of J. S. Jones, then a professor of agricultural chemistry at OSU. Her husband was John A. Jones of Lake County.]

JL: But the purpose of the picnic was to sell the public on the idea of putting in a park?

TS: Yes. There was no entrance, of course, from the north like there is at present. We had to come in from the railroad side. The land at that time was being rented by a man by the name of Tarwater who ran cattle in there, and I became quite friendly with him. In fact, he gave me a suckling pig to roast for the forester's picnic.

JL: He didn't own the land?

TS: No. He rented it from the Averys--what in the dickens is that college prof's name? He was a chemistry prof. . .


JL: Anyway, the city council then agreed to buy the land?

TS: They bought the land, and I've often made the statement, "The best $6,000 the city ever spent." During the World War every apartment house in town, basements and every attic, and everything were occupied by families of the boys at Camp Adair. And even when it was raining, you'd see those people down there cooking, because [that was a way] they could get out of their basements.

JL: Cooking down at Avery Park, you mean?

TS: Yes, cooking at Avery Park. We put up three of those hexagonal shelters to 98:00start with, and during the war a cavalry brigade from Wyoming landed in Corvallis [one of the units dispatched to the West Coast early in 1942 to serve as a defensive force in case of a Japanese invasion]. I was chairman of the Park Board at that time. They came to me to get permission to bivouac their horses in Avery Park, and also to put up their tents. Well, they came from Wyoming, a dry country; they didn't know enough to keep away from the hollows where the water collected. And so I went to the Carpenter's Union one Monday night and asked them to build these hexagonal buildings, which they did. While they were there, a tree blew over on one of those hexagonal buildings and crushed it to the ground, but luckily none of these soldiers were in there. It was during the noon 99:00hour, I guess. But their horses ate the bark off a lot of the trees, so we filed a demand with the Army Department in Washington, D.C. to recompense us. That's the way we got the money to pave the Avery Park, (laughter) we spent that for paving. Oh, the $6,000 to buy it originally came out of the city council.

One of the interesting things in that group of cavalry men from Wyoming was a big, husky man by the name of [William] Minihan. This cavalry unit had their 100:00headquarters in McAlexander Building, and this Minahan was on guard duty at Waldo Hall; and one of the girls in Waldo Hall let a note down to this fellow that said, "Would you like a piece of pie?" He said, "Sure, I'd like a piece of pie, and I get off at ten o'clock. Would you go to the movie with me?" (Laughter) After the war they got married. For several years he was my 101:00accountant; he had a firm-I called them the International Financiers, because they represented three nationalities. They [the cavalry group] had some major general that was a military guy. The boys would go out at night and have to track through the mud, and he wanted to have their shoes shined all the time every day, and it wasn't very pleasant.

JL: This was during World War II?

TS: Yes. World War II, yes.

JL: What other things do you remember about that period in Corvallis?


TS: That cavalry unit made trips out to the coast, because the Japs were supposed to bombard the coast; and of course, they did one time up near Astoria, Clatsop Beach there. I guess that was the only shot that ever hit the United States during that War. One of my students was in charge of stabilizing the sand dunes down there during that period. Oh, of course, I pruned the trees on that park out there on north-what do they call it?


JL: Not Bell fountain Park?

TS: No. Bellfountain Park was paid for by the Bellfountain region. I, of course, was instrumental in getting Clemens Park, which is over on the Alsea River, from Rex Clemens and Ethel.

JL: When did you do that?

TS: He always wants to know some dates, and I tell you I only know 1492. (Laughter)

JL: Is Rex Clemens a personal friend of yours?

TS: Yes, he was. We worked together quite a bit. We were never partners actually. We never had any pieces of paper between us, but sometimes we split up our purchases. We had what we called "$10,000 every Tuesday," because Lincoln 104:00County put on a county sale of timberland that was delinquent every Tuesday. From Tuesday to Tuesday we'd go out and look at the timber, and then we'd take $10,000 over every Tuesday and bid on it. We split that up. Rex comes and sits here on the davenport and talks to me. He lives primarily over at Steens Mountain now. He only has 17,000 acres of land over there now. "Oh," he said, "I've got 700 head of cattle." (Laughter) He's pretty well-off. They sold out to Willamette Industries for $40 million, and he had to pay Uncle Sam $18 million of that on taxes; that takes the joy out of life.


JL: I am sure you have been involved in civic activities we haven't covered that should be mentioned?

TS: I told you that I had three things at the beginning of this session, didn't I? One of them was I saved the hospital. Did I mention that?

JL: Good Samaritan Hospital, yes.

TS: That was about 1952 or 1953. And I was the second man chosen for [the award 106:00entitled] "First Citizen of Benton County." The first man was an army man, and the next--I think that was in 1953, I was chosen [1952]. I've been mixed up with that hospital ever since [heading the drive for funds to modernize and enlarge it]; still on the board.

JL: You've certainly had an active civic life.

TS: Well, I've been mixed up in a lot of things.

JL: I would like to talk a little about your recollections of McDonald Forest. Doesn't Starker Forests still own a piece of land that's completely within the Forest?

TS: Yes, that's right.

JL: How many acres is that?

TS: One hundred and sixty.

JL: How did it happen that you have a holding in the Forest?

TS: Oh, I don't recall now. I guess I bought it, and just hung onto it. And then probably I bought some other land around it and sold it. You know, it's a kind of an odd shape. Its square, but it's got a 40 sticking out here, and a 40 sticking out this way. I could show you on the map. I think its 160 acres. 107:00Well, that was an interesting experience.

JL: Do you know of any early sawmills that were in what is now McDonald Forest?

TS: Yes, a man by the name of McCoy had one. As I say, they logged off that west side of the divide that ran over into Soap Creek, and it had been pretty well cut-off. We planted that; I remember very distinctly having a crew out there on a Saturday or a Sunday and planting those trees. While we ate lunch the goats came along and pulled them up or ate them.

JL: Whose goats were they?

TS: Oh, some farmer out there, (laughter) Yes.

JL: Besides McCoy's sawmill, do you know of any other sawmill that was located 108:00in the Forest?

TS: That's the only one I can recall. Yes.

JL: Was it operating at the time?

TS: Yes. It operated.

JL: Was it a very large operation?

TS: No, I'd call it a hillbilly sawmill. There's a story about that. George Sawyer, who became quite a famous log-hauler for Rex Clemens, was driving truck there, and hauling in. He was coming downhill with a loaded truck, and he saw me-I don't know whether it was me or somebody else--but he had a wheel that he could lift off the shaft, and he took it off and waved it to me. (Laughter) Wrecked the truck. Yes, couldn't get it back on fast enough. George Sawyer was a 109:00practical joker.

JL: Sawyer was his name?

TS: George Sawyer, yes. For instance, when he was working for Clemens, I was afraid to go out there, and park my car behind the parking lot or someplace, because he'd come along with his bulldozer and dig a six-foot ditch behind your car. You couldn't get out. (Laughter)

JL: Now, who was he?

TS: He was an employee of Rex Clemens at that time. I laid out the road from the Alsea Highway over to Klickitat Lake, 13 miles of it. George Sawyer was boarding with Mrs. Grant over there at Klickitat Lake. He said, "Every morning I went out and counted those goats. I wasn't going to have her feeding my men goat meat." (Laughter) I was working with Rex Clemens at that time, and we put George Sawyer and his crew working from this end, and we had Byrl Tom and somebody else 110:00working from this end, and they were supposed to meet someplace there. They met, and joined up eventually. It's sure a winding road. If you want to keep the steering wheel going all the time, well, that's a good trip.

JL: Were you active in laying any of the roads in McDonald Forest?

TS: Well, I think not. Patterson and [Fred J.] Schreiner, I think, did practically all of that, because usually as soon as I laid out an experimental 111:00acreage they put a road through.

JL: Is that how the road network was developed?

TS: That's the way it was developed. Yes. Just as sure as I laid out a sample plot they'd want a road through it. (Laughter)

JL: Now those early sample plots were used for research as well as instruction for the students?

TS: Yes, as I say, I had a box full of experiments going, and gave them to Nettleton when I left on extended leave, and he never did anything with it.

JL: What about your post farm, what was that about?


TS: I think it was started in about 1937 [post farm started in 1928], and the idea was to determine the longevity of the wood in the natural state and also the longevity of various treatments. We put in a series of 25 posts in each series. For instance, if they were creosoted, I think that report would show that those creosoted-pressure-treated fence posts have a 50-year life. And then there was osmosis salts, and there was chemonite, and there were a lot of other treatments. For instance, people believed that, by charring, a post would last longer. My final analysis was that charring decreased the length of life [in proportion to] that amount of wood that you burned off. But cottonwood, for 113:00instance, and some of the other woods indicate that it only had a life maybe of 10, 12 years. Black locust and Osage orange, for instance, will run from 30 to 40 years on to a life.

At that time, the School of Forestry didn't have any money for publications, and so I went over to the Engineering Department who had some funds. Sam [Samuel H.] Graf [head Department of Mechanical Engineering and director of Engineering Research! was a crotchety (laughter) but a very able engineering prof, and he issued an annual report for me, except one time I went over there, and he says, "Professor Starker, do you think I'm going to print this every year?" And I said, "Well, I think it's worthwhile." "Well," he says, "frankly we're getting 114:00more requests from farmers for this particular bulletin than anything the Engineering Department has ever printed." (Laughter) Of course, since my day, Bob Graham [Robert D. Graham, Forest Products professor] has taken over that particular facet of protection of wood. I correspond with him every once-in-awhi1e.

JL: What about the other activities in the Forest? What do you remember about Peavy Arboretum?

TS: I remember I put a lot of work in.

JL: Were you active in its establishment?

TS: Oh, yes. I had charge of-I just took charge, I guess. I had ponderosa pine plantations. I think I was the first professor of forestry that even recommended 115:00getting away from the government regulations of 8 by 8 spacing to 12 by 12, or even 15 by 15, and I recall that I planted some western larch out near the highway. Of course, in the fall the leaves turned yellow and dropped their leaves, and Peavy jumped on me for planting those trees that died close to where everybody could see them. I said, "Well Dean, you wait till next spring; they'll come out." (Laughter)

JL: There is a story about two stakes that were stuck in the ground at the entry of Peavy Arboretum, and grew into trees. What do you remember about that?

TS: They were right where we wanted to put the gate, so we cut them down and made fence posts out of them, (laughter)


JL: Do you remember when that was?

TS: No.

JL: What type of tree were they?

TS: I think they were maples.

JL: Did you participate in what they call "A" days-Arboretum Days-when everyone went out to work together?

TS: Oh, I've been to a lot of Arboretum Days. I'm sure we had Arboretum Days during my time there, but I think what we usually did was to cut wood, sell it. Made thinnings of the grouse ladders and too closely-spaced trees.

JL: Was that under the direction of Harry Nettleton as the manager of the Forest?


TS: Well, he came after that, as I say . . . well, I shouldn't say. Go ahead. Just between us girls, he smoked his pipe too much, (laughter) but he's gone, and that's history.

JL: What other events stand out in your mind about the Peavy Arboretum? Didn't you help organize a group that made the original purchase of land for the Arboretum? The Arboretum Committee, I think?

TS: Well, as I've tried to explain, that's the way we got our money. First we had the faculty and the alumni contributing to this sum of money; then the Board of Regents contributed; and then we got this money from Mrs. McDonald. Those 118:00were the steps. Incidentally, before I left there I had a four-by-four map case, you would call it, showing the land, the acreage, the year we bought it, how much we paid for it, and who contributed the money, and then later what the cruises were on each 40.

JL: What about the Dean's Cabin?

TS: Well, it was financed by the alumni who were quite loyal to Peavy. A lot of the old-timers just swore by Dean Peavy, and they collected enough money to 119:00build it [erected 1932; dismantled 1961 as a safety measure].

JL: What kinds of activities occurred there?

TS: We had feeds there. For instance, I recall, going out there with the University of Michigan; we had a University of Michigan Club here for years. I think there were 13 of us. There was about three lawyers, three or four 120:00professors, and so forth. We'd meet at different people's houses. There was Dean Peavy, and Dean Ziefle of the Pharmacy School; there was Arthur Clark and Jay Lewis and [Claude M.] Huddleston, who are attorneys, as I recall. Some names come off my tongue pretty good, don't they? Back 50 years. Oh, there was three or four in Engineering, Stuart Sims and others. We went around to the different members' houses. Some of those dinners stick out in my mind yet. Arthur Clark had a wonderful wife. She had a suckling pig she roasted in entire, and put on a platter. It was quite a tablepiece, you know.

JL: Yes. Were foreign visitors ever taken through the Forest?

TS: Oh, yes. I recall taking the Dean of Pennsylvania State Forest through. His name was [John A.] Ferguson. I took him through there, and I had a class going at the same time. And Hjalmar--can't think of his name now--but he was a great 121:00authority on thinning, particularly in Europe, and he took a selling job with Crown Zellerbach off and on. He owned some land up here in western Oregon even. When Bruce went back to Europe, he stayed with him a few nights, I believe; he said those Finnish beds or whatever it was, were awfully hard and narrow, (laughter)

JL: Was there some kind of an exchange under which foresters from the School of Forestry would go overseas?


TS: No, it wasn't an exchange really. Bruce and I paid his own way, and this man came over here, I think, on his own, too.

JL: Any other foreign visitors that you recall?

TS: Well, those are the two. Oh, I had a very interesting German exchange student, Karl Oedekoven [exchange student 1936-1937]. Want me to spell it for you? It was quite interesting. This summer I entertained a group of people from Germany. There were 12 or 15 from there, and I took them through some of our plants. A peeler plant, for instance, you know, is very much automated, and they 123:00were just engrossed at American ingenuity turning out plywood. But they came from Bonn, Germany where Karl lived. In fact, when Bruce was over there, he stayed with Karl; at least he had dinner there, and I think Karl had a couple of daughters - younger than Bruce, of course. He was a very fine chap, but he came back to see me two or three years after he left here. I had him as a graduate student, but he got mixed up in that Hitler situation, and he had scars on his face where he got blasted; they were trying to get rid of them. But Karl has written to me, not lately, but maybe years after he went over to Germany, and he 124:00was, I guess he still is, head of the Forestry Department in West Germany. They have sent him several places worldwide to give advice. He was complimentary enough to say that some of the courses that I taught him were very helpful to him. [Oedekoven became chief of the Forestry Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Bonn, Germany after 26 years with U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization including service in the Near East and Brazil.]

JL: That certainly is one of your success stories, then.

TS: Yes.

JL: What do you remember about the CCC [U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps] camp that was located at the Arboretum in the late thirties?

TS: Don't remember much about it. I can remember the first CCC camp I ever was in, over on Fall Creek as you go to the Coast; Mrs. Starker and I drove over there one Sunday and ate with the boys. That was the first CCC camp, I think, 125:00that had been in this part of the country. They did a lot of good work.

JL: What kind of work did they do in Mac Forest?

TS: Oh, I think general cleanup work, and probably thinning's. I don't know whether they ever did any planting or not. I wasn't very close to that particular program.

JL: They built Lake Cronemiller, as I understand?

TS: They could have, yes.

JL: You personally knew [Lynn F.] Cronemiller, didn't you?

TS: Oh, yes. Yes.

JL: What kind of a man was he?

TS: Well, he was a deputy state forester [1924-1930], and I think he became state forester for a while [1930-1934]. He had a kind of hard luck, I think. He had some bad fires during his regime as state forester; I think probably he was 126:00state forester during one of the big fires in Polk County, up there.

JL: Was he state forester during the Tillamook Burn [a burned-over area in northwestern Oregon that had been subject to devastating forest fires in 1933, 1939 and 1945]?

TS: I think during one of them, anyhow.

JL: They gave his name to the lake because he was a relatively well-known forester in the state?

TS: Well, I think he probably had something to do with locating it and designing it. Too bad they can't swim in it, but I guess a lot of kids get in regardless, (laughter)

JL: Do you have any recollection of the period when soldiers from the Adair Military Reservation were there?

TS: No, I don't have. I remember some of the soldiers were there. There was two 127:00people: Bernice, and--what is the husband's name? --well, the two of them were a dance team in New Jersey, and they came out here. He was a soldier, and he bought this trailer camp right down here at the end of Harrison and 53rd. She was a straight blonde, and she worked out there, concreting and everything else; but every hair was in place, you know, (laughter) and they stayed here several years, and she became the bookkeeper for J. C. Penney. They sold this place here 128:00and went to California, but they have been up to see me two or three times because they wanted me to locate them another location for a camp of that kind; and with all the zoning and things, the lack of sewer and water, I just haven't been able to find them any place. I saw Matt Mattock, the manager of J. C. Penney, in the store one day and I said, "These people are planning on coming back." "Well," he said, "she's got a job with J. C. Penney any time she wants it."

JL: Let us go back to Mac Forest for a second. Have you ever found any evidence 129:00of Indians in the Forest--arrowheads or artifacts of any kind?

TS: No. The only historical thing that I can remember is.... We had a big heavy snow one winter, and I found out that in some years back they also had a very heavy snow--the winter of the blue snow [1881-1882]. The only thing the adjoining farmers had to feed [their sheep] was the buds and bark of the oak 130:00trees. That's why we've got some of those real old stumps scattered through the McDonald Forest.

JL: You mean they cut the trees down?

TS: They cut the trees down, and the sheep would come along and eat the buds; that would extend their stomachs, at least. And that's about all they had to eat. That's the best historical event that I can remember about McDonald Forest. There were signs of that left when we took it over as McDonald Forest.

JL: What about Sulphur Springs? Did you ever know much about that?

TS: Oh, yes. The School of Forestry established a park there and built a table, and as usual the vandals came in. They tore up the table and the benches and burned them, and they threw their beer bottles in the creek and cracked the glass so the youngsters couldn't safely wade in the creek. It just kind of ruins 131:00your disposition towards a human being to have those things happen.

JL: Was there ever a permanent structure there?

TS: No. As far as I know, no. There is a legend that the Woodcock family, who were the banking legend of Corvallis, took their family out there every summer. [Merton S. Woodcock, father of E. M. Woodcock, organized the First National Bank of Corvallis in 1890.] I'd classify E. M. Woodcock in my class--a conservative tightwad-because the story was that he took his pants to his wife and she put a big patch over the knees, and he cut his envelopes up and used them for scratchpads. When I wanted to borrow some money, he'd say, "What kind of 132:00security have you got?" (Laughter) Well, Ed Woodcock and Blair Woodcock are still around here, and one of them's a son, I think, and one's a grandson. This Blair Woodcock just talked to me about this Karl Oedekoven. He had some correspondence with him or something. I've forgotten now what he called me up about. But they went there every summer and camped. That was their picnic ground, Sulphur Springs. I think the water tastes nasty.

JL: People drank it for medicinal purposes, though, didn't they?

TS: Oh, yes. If it's bad enough they ought to get something out of it. (Laughter) I don't know what it would cure, though. Might put you under the sod.


JL: How about the facilities built on top of what they call McCulloch Peak? Did you have a part in that?

TS: Yes, I had a part in it. Fred Decker was head of Atmospheric Phenomena, we'll say. [Decker, at that time, was a staff member of the Atmospheric Science Branch of the Science Research Institute at OSC. He had charge of the radar unit for studying weather on McCulloch Peak.] (Laughter) He wanted a place to put a meteorological station, and I suggested that. I laid out a road, as I recall, to let him get up there. Give the Physics Department a right to use it, you see.


JL: You were mostly involved in laying out the road?

TS: Yes. I think I organized the arrangements for having the Physics Department use it. [Permission was obtained from Starker and Rex Clemens to cross their property over Alder Creek Road in order to install the unit.]

JL: One of the other men that you see mentioned in the Forest, on the map anyway, is Fred Schreiner--Schreiner Road. What do you remember about him?

TS: Well, he's in that picture there. He was under Patterson, an assistant, 135:00in surveying and engineering. His wife, as I recall, taught school, I think, in Corvallis.

JL: What do you remember about Tampico? [The no-longer existent town of Tampico had been an early-day bustling community on the road from

Corvallis to Dallas. Its site was within the Forest.]

TS: I remember the legend that Jackie Horner who taught history, Oregon history, went out the night before and buried some bones. Then the next day he took his class out and he'd say that he'd discovered these mastodon bones, (laughter)

JL: That was at Tampico?

TS: Close to the Tampico School, yes. He was a character. Incidentally, he taught in the old Forestry Building for quite a while. March up and down, "Name 136:00five game fish of Oregon," he'd say, or something like that. He had an office there.

JL: What was he like?

TS: Well, he wasn't like anybody else, I'll say that! (Laughter) He was a character. He was a graduate of Philomath College out there. But he was quite a noted person. You know, he was mixed up in things like that.

JL: How about the Blake family homesite? Did you ever know anything about that?

TS: Yes. I had some business dealings with the Blakes. I think I bought a piece 137:00of property from them.

JL: Did they sell out to the School of Forestry?

TS: No. Well, I don't think they were living out here then. I think they had moved away. [The E. H. Blake homesite, which dated back to the 1850's, was acquired from the federal government in 1952 as part of the Adair Hospital Reservation Acquisition.]

JL: Was there anything left at that homesite then?

TS: Well, that's a little faint in my mind, but Blake's name rings a bell here.

JL: Anything that you remember about the Blake's?

TS: No.

JL: What about Powder House Saddle? Does that ring a bell to you? Why is it called that?

TS: Well, we had a powder house on the west slope, where they kept the blasting powder. You see, we had to clear up all that area where the nursery was. Quite a lot of it was stump land; a little was cleared land.

JL: Vern McDaniel was the director there at the nursery [Oregon Forest Nursery established 1925 under the provisions of the federal Clarke-McNary law]?

TS: Yes, for all of his [professional] life [1925-1963],


JL: What do you remember about him?

TS: Short, studious, a worker who had the misfortune of having a wife that wasn't very well. I guess those are the things that I remember.

JL: Was he a good manager?

TS: I think he raised some pretty good trees, yes. The soil was a little too heavy there really for good nursery practice.

JL: What fires do you remember in the Forest?

TS: Oh, there were three different fires. They were six years apart, and so on the last six years everybody was looking for another catastrophe, but I don't 139:00think it happened. I think it just happened three times.

JL: Three fires?

TS: Three fires, yes. Six years apart, I believe.

JL: I heard there was a Red Hat control program there during the forties? Does that ring a bell to you at all?

TS: Yes, I remember George Schroeder [class of 1935; member School of Forestry faculty, 1936-1944] wore a great red hat. It seems to me it had something to do with that they were willing to fight fi re.

JL: Fire-fighting training school?

TS: Yes. I think they were trained to fight fire. I'm just a little bit faint on that, though.

JL: How about an old flume that used to come up near Oak Creek?


TS: Well, I think that McCoy had something to do with that. I believe he did.

JL: Where did that run to?

TS: I think it ran down the Soap Creek Road.

JL: Then someone tore it down, or they just quit using it and it fell down?

TS: Well, I suppose it fell down, yes. Pretty subject to decay, you know.

JL: You mentioned earlier that you were related to Aldo Leopold.

TS: That's right.

JL: I wonder if you could tell me more about him and your relationship with him.

TS: Well, I'll tell you the first relationship. His grandfather and my 141:00grandfather came from Germany together, settled in Burlington, Iowa. His grandfather's name was Charles Starker, my grandfather's name was August Starker. August Starker was a farmer at Yarmouth, Iowa, a place close to Burlington. The Leopold family was raised in Burlington, however. There was Aldo Leopold, and then there was Carl Leopold who was in my class, and they had a couple of children, I guess. I've been trying to get the family strain of the Leopold's on paper, but I haven't been very successful at doing that.

JL: You haven't kept up with them at all then, other than the visit you made to Aldo with your son?

TS: I think that was the last one. Of course, the one that teaches down there in 142:00California, A. Starker Leopold [son of Aldo and professor at University of California at Berkeley], he's got the name in there; but I don't know him except just by reputation. Old [Aldo] Leopold was a naturalist because his father was 143:00interested in the outdoors, and he [Aldo] became a college professor at the University of Madison, Wisconsin.

JL: What was his father like?

TS: Let's go back just a bit. The Leopold Desk Company was one of the larger manufacturers in the city of Burlington, Iowa, and they were worldwide famous as quality manufacturers of office desks, and that was their business. I guess one member of the family is still operating that plant.

JL: Which Leopold started the desk company?

TS: Well, I think that Aldo Leopold's father was probably the starter of the 144:00Leopold Desk Company, because it was there for a long time.

JL: What was Aldo's father like?

TS: I don't think I knew him very well, so I can't tell you.

JL: Did you know Aldo as a young boy?

TS: Don't think I got acquainted until he was older.

JL: Was Carl also interested in the environment?

TS: I don't know that, but I just suspicion that Carl is the one that's running the Leopold Desk Company at the present time. I've got a lot of cousins left in Burlington. They keep telling me, but I don't know. In fact, my cousins were in the manufacturing business; they manufactured tables and desks--more home desks, 145:00not office desks.

JL: I see. So you don't know what influenced Aldo to become a great naturalist?

TS: No. He's quite famous. He wrote the first book on--what was his title? Land Management, I guess was the title of his text [Game Management, published in 1933]. It was quite a thick one. I think it's still used in most forestry schools.

JL: You did know Aldo Leopold as an adult?

TS: About the only time I ever talked to him was when he was an adult.


JL: What kind of discussions did you have with him?

TS: I suppose we talked forestry primarily, and wildlife; and I probably made the comment about the disappearing species--that I didn't regret at all that I never met a dinosaur coming down the trail. (laughter)

JL: What do you think would have been his reaction to that statement?

TS: Well, I don't remember what it would be. He probably would agree with me. 147:00You see, Burlington was a great place to hunt ducks. My father was a duck hunter along the Mississippi River, and I think the Leopold's were hunters, too.

JL: So you really don't remember that much about him?

TS: Not his youth at all. I only got slightly acquainted with him in his older age. I read his book. I guess I used it to teach out of. He also wrote a smaller book--I don't remember the name- something about the wildlife of a certain county. He got a lot of his germane ideas expressed in that book. You could get 148:00that; it's not a very big book. [Sand County Almanac]

JL: I would like to know more about why you decided to come to OAC.


TS: I graduated from the Portland High School in 1908, and I wanted to go to college. Forestry was just having its start--Gifford Pinchot was chief forester back at Washington, D.C. about that time--and I thought it was a coming profession, so I came down here.

JL: Why did you think it was a coming profession?

TS: I thought there was a lot of woods in Oregon. (Laughter) I still think there are. In fact, I take these groups out--like these two fellows yesterday [two German forestry students]--and I wave my arms, and I say, "Does that look like timber famine to you?" Miles and miles of nice, green timber.

JL: Was any person influential in your decision to come here?


TS: I don't think anybody twisted my arm to come here. I think I made my own decision on that.

JL: Had you read catalogues or talked to a representative from OAC?

TS: No, never did, I don't think. I may have read newspapers about forestry. In fact, when I came down here--I may have told you this--they didn't really have any forestry school. E. R. Lake, Professor E. R. Lake, who was a gentleman and a scholar, was a botanist, and he taught the first courses in forestry; but he realized that he was not a forester, and therefore he shouldn't be the head; and 151:00so he resigned and went back to Washington, D.C.--in nut culture, I think it was--as a botanist.

JL: Why didn't he remain as a botanist here and have forestry set up as a separate department?

TS: He thought there ought to be a forester as the head of this school. He and I were very good friends. Peavy came in the spring of 1908 [1910], about that time. He was a University of Michigan forester graduate; he had worked for the U.S. Forest Service in California, the head of their reforest rati on program; and he was chosen to be dean of the School of Forestry. He came up here and tried to corral us Oregonian kids into being pretty good foresters; and 152:00he in turn recommended me--see, I graduated in two years, 1908 to 1910, I was graduated-and he recommended I go to the University of Michigan which was his alma mater.

JL: You said that E. R. Lake saw forestry as an upcoming profession. Do you remember anything Peavy said about what he saw in the future for forestry?

TS: Oh, no. Of course, we talked a lot about those kinds of things, but I couldn't remember those conversations, I don't believe. Peavy was a well-met 153:00man. He was robust and wore a big Stetson hat.

JL: Did he come with his wife to OAC?

TS: Oh, yes, and two boys.

JL: What was she like?

TS: She was a dramatist. She took part in all the community plays practically. I remember tapping my feet. (Laughter) Telling the guy off.

JL: What do you mean?

TS: Well, as I say, she was an actress. We lived in Corvallis right here. The Starkers and the Peavys were in half a block of each other.

JL: You mentioned last time that you were having lunch in the MU one day, and a 154:00woman came out and reprimanded you.

TS: That was quite a long time later. Her name was Bibee. She says, "I've told you men to leave these tables alone." (Laughter) And he married this girl; that was his second wife.

JL: What happened to his first wife?

TS: Oh, she died [in 1947], we went to her funeral, I guess. But I would say she was a better business person of the two. She'd buy houses and fix them up and sell them. This was the first wife. The other was the director of the dining 155:00hall, the MU, you know. That's what her job was.

JL: I've heard that his first wife was very eccentric?

TS: Oh, she might be called that, but other people might say crazy. (Laughter) She was odd compared with a lot of people.

JL: In what way?

TS: Well, as I say, I think she ran the family money matters. And I think she did a pretty good job at it, too. I used to differ [with Peavy]. I've written up my relationship with Peavy, a long discourse. At times, I differed with him 156:00greatly, but I'd always tried to keep it on a friendly basis. Before I came to Oregon Agricultural College, I worked for the Western Pine Association five years, and I got a raise every year. I worked for Oregon Agricultural College 20 years and never got a raise. I gave as my excuse that T. J. Starker had an ornamental nursery on Saturdays and Sundays [Starker operated a commercial nursery at 23rd and Harrison for several years in the 1920's]; he built houses every Sunday every summer; or he got a job with the U.S. Forest Service, and Dry Kiln Company, because I was teaching dry kilning. So I just figured that Peavy thought old T. J. would never resign-[T. J. wouldn't] leave him because he 157:00[Peavy] didn't pay him--so he [Peavy] could balance his budget by not giving me any salary increase. I said he was right, because I didn't leave until 1942.

JL: What do you think Peavy would have thought of the conservation movement of recent times?

TS: I think he would have been for it. Yeah.

JL: Do you think he would have approved of not cutting trees, and setting aside wilderness areas?

TS: Oh, I think he would have thought more like I do, that we've got too much wilderness. I sent Victor Atiyeh, our governor, a sheet of paper that our secretary had worked up of the permits that we had given in 1977 or 1978. It 158:00amounted to about 1300 and some permits. I wrote across the bottom "Who needs a wilderness as long as they have Starker Forests?" And Victor wrote back and said, "I agree with you." No, we got a way too much thousands of acres. If I was in Alaska I'd just jump down somebody's throat, because they've set aside hundreds of thousands of acres up there that should be mined, or raising trees, or something useful of that kind.

JL: In those first years, 1908 to 1910, who taught the forestry classes?


TS: Peavy. Well, to start with he was the only one.

JL: What other supplementary classes did you take?

TS: I can't think of any at all. We took courses in botany, of course, and range management. I remember who taught that [animal husbandry]-Dad Potter [Ervine L. Potter]. Dad, we called him.

JL: Why did you call him Dad?

TS: Oh, I think the students liked him.


JL: I'm deviating a moment. I know that Mrs. Kidder, the librarian, was called Mother Kidder. Why did students call Profs Mother, Father?

TS: Oh, she was just a big, motherly person.

JL: And Potter was a fatherly person.

TS: Yes, yes. It's quite common. I can show you a picture of Filibert Roth at Ann Arbor. We called him Daddy Roth. He hobbled around with a stick at that time just about like mine.

JL: Other courses you took then were botany, range management, and what else?

TS: Well, those are the two that stand out now. I expect we took some accounting.


JL: However, the meat of the forestry curriculum was all taught by Peavy?

TS: That's right, I think, yes. I can't remember that he had any assistants. The Forestry School at that time was in the "heaventh" floor of what is the Chemistry Building.

JL: The heaventh?

TS: Heaventhly. The top floor. (Laughter)

JL: That's a new one.

TS: And the fumes from the chemistry lab would come up into the Forestry Department.

JL: What kind of fumes would come up?

TS: Oh, all kinds of chemistry. If they had carbolic acid or something, I suppose.

JL: Were there only four of you in Peavy's classes then?

TS: In some classes, yes. If you had that Oregon Stater--we got some pictures--I 162:00think there was only about 12 or 15 total students maybe the second year in forestry.

JL: And Peavy was competent enough to give you all the knowledge you needed?

TS: Well, I think his reaction was that he hadn't finished his job. That's why he wanted me to go to the University of Michigan, see, to get some more education.

JL: Did he also encourage your other three classmates to go to school?

TS: Not that I know of, no.

JL: Why not?

TS: Well, Wilson was the son of a banker, and he went into the banking business. He married a young lady whose father was in the medical dental business, and he 163:00took a job there. [Wilson went into the banking business in Linnton, where his father was part owner of Clark and Wilson Lumber Co. In 1933 he disposed of his banking interests and entered the employ of the Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station as a forest economist. He died in 1948.] Harold Gill always wanted to go to sea. I've often told this story: when Peavy wanted us to draw the cone of a Douglas-fir, Gill would be drawing the mast of a three-masted schooner, or something.

JL: What about Pernot?

TS: Pernot was the scientist of the whole four group. He was an ornithologist primarily. Every trip we made he'd take his little shotgun along and kill a bird and mount it, or gather the eggs. He was interested in birds. But he was killed 164:00in 1914. He was going to be my best man for my wedding in 1914, but he got killed with a runaway horse in eastern Oregon. I guess he bumped his head against a limb or something and it killed him.

JL: Why did these three men go on to forestry if each one was interested in something else?

TS: Well, ornithology, of course, is a branch of forestry--"boids". And I think it was Gill's parents who indicated he should follow in the bookstore. As I say, he wanted to be a sailor. I don't know how many trips he made to Alaska for J. K. Gill [J. K. Gill Co., booksellers, Portland], selling schoolbooks, see. [Gill 165:00died December, 1967.]

JL: Where did you go on field trips? I imagine it was the five of you, Peavy, Gill, Wilson, Pernot, and Starker.

TS: Yes, and pretty soon, of course, we had some underclassmen.

JL: Where did you go on your field trips?

TS: We'd climb Marys Peak a lot of times, and we used Avery's Woods as a laboratory.

JL: As a student, did you ever leave the Corvallis area-the Marys Peak area?

TS: Well, I think we had field trips to various places. Although I think when I 166:00went to teaching, I introduced many more field trips in the curriculum.

JL: How did the five of you and others get to places such as Marys Peak?

TS: Well, we took the train to Philomath. Then we climbed. Went up through Spaulding Camp--that is one place we stopped; they were logging up there about that time, and the logs were taken to Salem to a mill.

JL: What would you do on these field trips with Peavy?

TS: Well, for instance, [the forest cover] on the top of Marys Peak is not grand 167:00fir but noble fir--one of the only nearby places that that particular species grows--and we'd go up there and inspect those trees and look at them. On the way we'd see hemlocks. I told you about taking Hewlett-Packard out, didn't I? When they got back, the lady sent me a copy of her paper: that they were very interested in the trip through Starker Forest, and they saw Douglas-fir and western hemlock and alder and E-W-E. (Laughter) Yew.


JL: Would he teach you management skills, or was it more identification and science?

TS: Oh, he had a great mixture, of course. Peavy's main course was economics: formulas and things of that kind. [When I taught classes in forest economics], I'd take them out, and I'd say to students, "How much is this stand worth?" (Laughter) "Why," I said, "I sold it yesterday for twice that much." That's why I was a good prof, I thought: I made them think. You know they're still bringing me ten crabs when they come here for Fernhoppers Banquet. The last time the 169:00fellows was down on the coast at Coos Bay [they] brought me ten crabs. Another fellow gives me a tie clasp made out of fossilized wood; he'd shined it all up. I'll show it to you if you want me to. Graduated 40 years ago. I said, "Now boys, I can't raise your grades anymore!" (Laughter) But they thought I was a good prof, I think, because I'd had a lot of experience and so I could teach them what was going on. I'd worked in the eastern Oregon pines, and the Douglas-fir country, and worked in the district office of the U.S. Forest Service.


JL: Who were prominent personalities in forestry during that time? The 1907 to 1912 period?

TS: Well, I suppose the most prominent man was Gifford Pinchot. He was the U.S. Forest Service chairman, and his slogan in that day was "Woodsman, spare that tree." In other words, he was talking about a timber famine right then.

JL: Did you know him?

TS: Yes, I knew him very slightly, yes. Another man who was very prominent, I'd say, was Dr. [Carl A.] Schenck. He was a German forester.

JL: How did you know him?

TS: Well, he came here and gave a talk one time at least. He ran the Biltmore 171:00Forestry School down in Biltmore, North Carolina. One of the men I worked for, when I took a summer vacation, was Oakleaf; he had a dry kiln company and he was a Biltmore graduate. While I was there at the College I cut a Douglas-fir about this high (gestures three or four feet high) and I sloped off the top for a podium, see. Schenck was standing up here [on that podium] lecturing, and he said, "Well, you people in the Pacific Northwest are particularly fortunate, (gestures spitting) When you spit on the right side you get reproduction. (Gestures spitting) You spit on the left side you get reproduction, too." (Laughter)


JL: This was when you were a teacher at . . .

TS: Oregon Agriculture College.


JL: What influence did William Jasper Kerr have on the Forestry Department?

TS: I remember that he was friendly, because one time I had a gathering of graduates, and he came over and visited with us. I think it was about that time that Sinclair Wilson and I had gotten up a paper to change the name from Oregon Agricultural College-to eliminate the word "agriculture" out of the name. We had more engineering students than we had ag students, as I recall at that time; we had pretty near that many [more] forestry students than we had ags; so it was a logical thing to change the name, you know. I think that was received with 174:00consideration, and I think it was taken to the Board of-let's see, what did they call them?

JL: Board of Regents?

TS: I think that's the name they had at that time, instead of the Board of Higher Education, and I think they considered it favorably. But as I recall, it 175:00took two or three years maybe to have that "agricultural" dropped and [the name] changed to Oregon State University.

JL: How were your relations with Dr. Kerr?

TS: Well, the only occurrence I ever had with Dr. Kerr was that one night the 176:00freshmen were having a party in what we now call the old woman's gym, and somebody had thrown some carbon bisulfide in there to break up the party. The city police came and arrested some of us. I was just standing there watching the fun, but they said, "You come with me," and they took us down to the Chemistry

Building. There was 12 or 15 of us in there, and a few days after we got a letter from either the chief of police or the mayor [that said] to avoid arrest we should come to a trial down at the courthouse or the city hall. As we marched 177:00down across the campus, I remember we met President Kerr. He was kind of chagrined (laughter) seeing a bunch of his students having to go down to the courthouse, I guess. He had heard about it or something. At that time we had... We called him Captain McAlex-ander [Ulysses S. McAlexander]--McAlexander Field House was named after him--and three or four of us were on a committee to see Captain Mac because he was a friend of the students. He called up the mayor downtown and he said--I can remember quite well--he said, "The sooner you people downtown let us people up on the hill wash our own dirty linen, the better off both of us will be." We went to that hearing, and I remember Harold Gill was in 178:00the group. He had a deep voice. "What do you boys plead?" "Not guilty," way down in his throat. It was approaching suppertime, and they didn't want to feed 15 hungry students, so they turned us loose. They requested that we go see President Kerr, which we did, I think, the next day, and he gave us a little talk about being good citizens and said good-by. (Laughter) You asked about my 179:00relations with President Kerr, and that's it, see.

JL: You didn't have any contact with him when you were a faculty member?

TS: No, I don't remember any occasion that I ever had to, because at that time he was just about to retire, I think, and died not very many years after that. [Kerr resigned as OSU president, September, 1906; retired as chancellor, August, 1935; died April, 1947.] I think Gilfillan [Francois A. Gilfillan, acting president 1941-1942] was president, or at least acting president, when I quit, because he said "Professor Starker, you don't want to take indefinite leave," and I said, "Yes, conditions aren't what I like over at the School of Forestry at the present time." In the meantime, I had been buying up timberland like a crazy guy with all the lack of money I didn't have.


JL: How would a woman have been regarded in Forestry during that time?

TS: Tabooed.

JL: Why is that?

TS: Well, she just didn't have the muscles.

JL: What about the head?

TS: Well, you see, in the early days there was about only the U.S. Forest Service that would hire foresters. The industry hadn't taken on foresters to any great extent at that time. So that's why I taught a course in getting ready for the forester assistant examination. I was competing with two graduate schools: Uni-versity of Michigan and Yale University; some years I licked them. Pretty near every year we had students that had high grades anyhow, and I wrote that up in my history.


JL: If you had had a woman in your class, how would you have regarded her?

TS: Excess baggage. (Laughter)

JL: Was that opinion generally held among the professors?

TS: I wouldn't know, but I would think so, yes.

JL: How did Peavy feel towards women?

TS: I don't know. He had one and that was enough, I think. She kept him busy. Georgia Bibee, yes. Her sister and I went to high school together. We took 182:00German in the same class, I remember.

JL: Why did you think that women were excess baggage?

TS: Well, as I say, I didn't think they were equipped physically for scaling logs, or marking timber, or falling timber, or building trail.

JL: What about today?

TS: Put it down: "No experience (laughter) with them doing those kind of things."

JL: You never hired a woman forester?

TS: No, never have.

JL: What were some of the issues of importance to the campus during your time as a student?

TS: Well, President Kerr tried to put in the regulation of "No smoking" on campus.


JL: How was that received?

TS: Well, in some places pretty good. Maybe I shouldn't tell this story, but the janitor in the Forestry Building said that the only time that he ever smelled tobacco smoke was when Dean Peavy was in his office, (laughter)

JL: You never smoked?

TS: Oh, I think when I was 12 or 13, I must have tried corn silk or something, but never tobacco as I recall.

JL: What kind of jobs were open to graduates in 1910 in forestry?


TS: The U.S. Forest Service was about the only ones who were hiring foresters, and I went to work for $25 a month. I got $10 more than quite a few of the other students got. We did reconnaissance work. For instance, when the national forests were formed, they didn't have any maps; they didn't know where the timber was. Maybe somebody in Washington had drawn the boundaries for the national forests so men like myself, and maybe an older man in the Forest Service, would go out and climb the high peaks and map in where the timber was. 185:00That's what we'd call a reconnaissance. It wasn't an accurate cruise or anything. We just said that timber was 150 years old and might run 200,000 board feet to the acre or something.

Then, of course, later I went on some of the same forests, and we ran strict cruisers through those, and that was called intensive reconnaissance. One of the summers when I ran a cruise, I had a bunch of boys from all of the forestry schools: Yale, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and Oregon State, and Washington State, Washington. I remember we had one fellow from Washington about the time 186:00that Admiral Perry had gone north and had discovered the North Star or something, and we always called him Admiral Perry because whenever he got lost he went north, (laughter)

JL: How was Peavy and the Forestry Department regarded by the U.S. Forest Service and private companies in those first years?

TS: Oh, I think he was generally liked.


JL: Why did you choose to get a Master's at Ann Arbor?

TS: Peavy said that I should. You see, I'd had only been here two years, and I thought, well, gee, there must be a lot more to learn about forestry. So I went back there and had some wonderful Profs there. Roth and Mulford, and some of those people. But the dean, I gathered, was not very enthusiastic about getting 188:00graduates from an agricultural college. He said I ought to take this and this and this. I took it over to Daddy Roth, and he said, "You don't have to take that. I'll take care of you." (Emotional)

JL: He thought a lot of you. (Looking at the handwritten, framed Master's diploma from the University of Michigan) "Satisfactory, incredible manner." That's terrific.

TS: Yes, that's one of my valuable keepsakes.

JL: Well, after your work at Michigan in addition to that at OAC, did you then feel qualified to work for the Forest Service?

TS: I think I could do the job, yes.


JL: Is that the kind of job you had anticipated when you first entered in the School of Forestry?

TS: Well, I spent five years in the Whitman National Forest in charge of all the timber sales. We had some good timber sales. Most of the buyers [companies] were Mormons; one, Baker White Pine was non-Mormon. I can give you the names yet on the Mormon companies over there. But they were good people to get along with.

JL: Was your goal, at that time, to work for a private company, or the Forest Service, or what?

TS: Well, in those days I wanted a job.


JL: Just anything in forestry, then?

TS: In fact, after I got my Master's degree I worked on the Oregon National Forest as a tree planter, for I don't know, a dollar and a quarter a day or something like that until I got another appointment.

JL: If you had been drafted in World War I, what kind of a job in forestry would you have hoped for?

TS: Well, I had the best job in the country. I was in charge of getting spruce for airplanes for Spruce Production Division. That was my job. I traveled up and down the coast because Sitka spruce only grows within 50 miles of the coast. I visited the mills of any sawmill from the north end of the state of Washington 191:00down halfway through the state of Oregon and told them what we wanted. We had a cut-up plant. Those cants [square-cut logs] were shipped to Vancouver, Washington and cut up into airplane stock. I had a good job. I had to contact the people from the airplane industry, a branch of the army; they had their offices in the Yeon Building in Portland.

JL: Why did Peavy single you out from among all the people he could have chosen, to come to OAC and teach?

TS: Well, I don't know excepting I came back and talked to the students once or twice. I took a lot of pictures of what we were doing in eastern Oregon with 192:00pine. That's the country I worked in right there, (pointing to photo) I told them the principles we were following. When I went to the Whitman National Forest they had a big blowdown. They lost a lot of timber, and they had to make a reduced price in selling it to the companies. At that time their headquarters were in Sumpter, Oregon.

JL: But why did Peavy choose you for the position in the School of Forestry?

TS: Well, as I say, I'd been down here and talked about me and my forestry experiences. I suppose that was one thing. I was really kind of a statistician with the Western Pine. I had two jobs. I was a traveling secretary and went 193:00around and gathered all the statistics about the cut and amount of stock they had on hand and so forth. I was also manager of the box department. The Western Pine sent me back to Madison, Wisconsin which is the Forest Products Laboratory. We ran tests on apple boxes, for instance. We even shipped boxes of apples back to them--put them through rotating drums and see how many rotations they'd go around before they broke to pieces; we added one nail to each side and increased the number of rotation five times, I think it was. I'd had that experience.


JL: Peavy remembered you as a student.

TS: Oh, I suppose he did, yes.

JL: What type of a program was he trying to build in the Forestry Department when he asked you to come here?

TS: Well, I don't know whether I could answer that question either. I don't know what was in his head. He wanted to build a better one, I suppose.

JL: Did he ask other graduates from OAC Forestry Department, like Wilson or Gill, to come back?

TS: No, I don't think he ever asked any others at that time. Of course, eventually quite a few graduates came back to teach.

JL: Why did he think you were exceptional?

TS: (surprise laughter) you embarrass me! Can't you see, my face is red! I 195:00wouldn't know. When I first came students had to take a ranger's examination also, and I even taught them. I remember I borrowed horses and a pack saddle, we hauled them back of the old Forestry Building. I taught them how to throw the diamond hitch, because I'd been out in the woods.

JL: Where did you go when you made these trips on horses and pack saddles?

TS: Well, on that particular phase we didn't make any trips. Teaching them how to pack, yes.

JL: So your courses had a practical orientation?


TS: Well, I was supposed to be more practical, (laughter)

JL: It sounds like you still are. Why did you agree to come here when Peavy asked you?

TS: Well, I told him I didn't think I wanted to teach. He said, "Well, I wish you'd come down and look us over." So I took it on for 20 years and had lots of fun.

JL: When you did come down, were you planning to stay until you retired?

TS: No, I don't think so, no. [Long enough to] see how I liked it.

JL: How had the Forestry Department and OAC been affected by World War I?


TS: They practically didn't have any students. After World War I, I had several students who were older than I was. Speaking of being practical, yesterday I had these two German forestry students out and I said, "I used to have a record of asking kind of tough questions. There's a tree there that's 12 inches in diameter; it's got two limbs on it. Give me 19 reasons why a Hebo club would be better than a saw in knocking those limbs off." [Dan Robinson, retired OSU 198:00forester, says that back in the 1930's when the CCC boys had a camp over near Hebo, Oregon, they were pruning the lower limbs of Douglas-fir and found the work going very slowly. Someone got the idea of taking off the pick, putting a weight on the pick handle, and using this to knock the branches off. This became known as a Hebo club.] The German boy got to one; he said it'd be faster. But I said, "There's another one." They didn't think of that. I said, "When you use your Hebo club you break that limb off inside the bark next to the cambian layer, and therefore T. J. gets another one or two reams of clear wood before there's a knot formed." (Laughter) I try to make my students think, and that was just an example, of course.

JL: You are well known for your tough questions. What effects of World War I 199:00did you see on the campus, apart from the students being older?

TS: Well, of course, some of them were maybe a little bit difficult to teach, but I never had any particular trouble as I could recall. Some of them were gray-haired at that time, and I wasn't.

JL: What do you remember of the turmoil between the U of O and OAC during the 1920's and 1930's?

TS: Well, of course, there was some things happened then that I didn't agree with. For instance, they [U of O] took some of our professors down there. I remember only Professor [Newel H.] Cornish; he was in the School of Business and Administration and had served with me as faculty advisor for the Pi Kappa Phi, 200:00so I knew him quite well. About that time, or a little later maybe, they introduced some courses in forestry and I thought one of the purposes of desegregation was to not duplicate; I guess they still have some courses in forestry.

JL: What courses are you talking about?

TS: I'm just saying forestry as a general. I don't know what they teach down there. I think some of those University of Oregon College Profs said, "We will 201:00develop managers of the Northwest in timber industry, and let them do the manual labor up at Oregon Agricultural College." (Laughter) I think I've heard that expression, I'm not sure. I don't even know who said it or anything.

JL: How did Kerr handle that type of thing? I understand the situation was very touchy.

TS: Well, he was a pretty fair diplomat.

JL: How did that period affect you as a teacher?

TS: Oh, I don't know that it affected me very materially.


JL: Who besides Peavy was instrumental in acquiring land for Mac Forest?

TS: I don't know, but T. J. Starker had his hand in practically every purchase.

JL: How was that?

TS: I spent my Saturdays and Sundays and holidays looking.

JL: Why did you do that?

TS: Because I believed we should have a living laboratory.

JL: Where did you hear of this concept of a living laboratory?

TS: Oh, Harvard had quite a famous one. Yale used to go to the Southern Pyrenees 203:00and have a spring camp. We were living right here in the middle of a Douglas-fir country, and we thought, at least I thought, that we ought to [have a living laboratory that would enable us to] know something [if we were to] teach our students how to grow Douglas-fir. And I'm still learning.

JL: During those early years what was your conception of the way the Forest would be used? As it is today? Or did you have something else in mind?

TS: No, I think they've done a pretty well organized thing about it. Of course, I can always kibitz and tell them that they got some trees that they ought to cut, because they're beyond the rotation age; and I would do more thinning than 204:00they are doing.

JL: During the time you were a professor, where else besides Avery Park did you take the students on field trips? When did you start using Mac Forest?

TS: As I say, I don't remember dates too well. I think you'll find it in there maybe. (Pointing to booklet Starker wrote on McDonald Forest)

JL: Okay, I'll look in there. Did you ever go on logging railroads?

TS: Oh, sure. At that time, of course, the Corvallis Lumber Company were logging, and also Spauldings, on Marys Peak. I would take the students up there once in a while. We had to walk usually from Philomath up there.


JL: Even when you were a professor, you would walk from Philomath to Marys Peak?

TS: Oh, sure, that didn't handicap me any at that time, (chuckles)

JL: The School didn't have a truck or a vehicle?

TS: Oh, yes, eventually we got some trucks. The first one we called Two-bits, because we charged the students two-bits to ride in it. And then finally we got a bigger truck and called it Six-bits because we charged them 75 cents to use it, and we used that to go to McDonald Forest a lot of the time.

JL: What did you do when you went out into the field? What were you teaching them?

TS: Forestry.

JL: What aspect?

TS: Well, I was head of Forest Management. I taught everything from forest 206:00finance . . . (interruption, change of tapes)

JL: You had quite a few rules of thumb?

TS: Yes. For instance, how long does it take a different rates of interest to double itself? I happened on to the magic number of 72. If you divide the interest rate into 72, it will give you the number of years necessary to double itself. For instance, if it's 9 percent it'll take eight years to double. At 6 percent it takes 12 years. For instance, I point out that Douglas-fir is 28 inches in diameter. At normal height it will have 1000 board feet in it. One of the basic things I taught was there is no blanket rule in forestry. You should 207:00know all the variations of how to manage this forest, and then pick out the best one.

JL: You mentioned earlier about taking trips to Toledo? Can you tell me about those excursions?

TS: When we took the train we'd ride in the caboose because there wasn't any passenger service. That was the nearest place we had a dry kiln. The School at 208:00that time didn't have a dry kiln; that came later. We'd go over there, and I think we'd stay overnight because of the train service, and also one of the students that afterwards became a woods products professor, Bill Baker [William J. Baker, class of 1928, member School of Forestry faculty, 1930-1935], his folks lived there. I remember they had us over one night for supper. So we learned about relative humidity, and different schedules for different 209:00thicknesses of timber for lumber, and [which] different species of wood take different schedules, and the number of fans necessary, because there are three qualities that are necessary--heat, circulation, and humidity--in the dry kiln. Inasmuch as I worked for a dry kiln company one summer, I knew some of the facts of that situation; thought I could teach it better than a lot of Profs.

JL: Why do you think Peavy, of all the professors and deans on the campus, was chosen as the president in 1932?

TS: He was vocal; he could talk; he had a big, resounding voice. He was a little man but he wrote big and he talked big. When he wrote George W. Peavy (laughter) he'd take half a sheet of paper.


JL: So people were impressed with him then?

TS: I think so, yes.

JL: What was he like as president?

TS: Oh, I had less to do with him then. I don't know.

JL: You never were affected by any of his decisions?

TS: No, never. I don't think I was affected at all, except that he ceased to be the dean of the School of Forestry, and that in turn raised a kind of a split among the faculty forestry people.

JL: Why is that?

TS: Oh, I don't think I better comment on that.

JL: Well, I thought he retained his deanship while he was president.

TS: The other fellow was just acting dean.

JL: How could he handle both positions?


TS: Well, he mostly was president.

JL: Why was Mason chosen as the acting dean?

TS: I don't know that.

JL: So who administered the Forestry Department while Peavy was gone?

TS: I still continued as head of the Forest Management Department, as far as that's concerned.

JL: And the other two departments?

TS: Well, that's one of the places where Mr. Mason and I didn't get along very well.

JL: Did you like him personally?

TS: Oh, yes, before that, but he put in some regulations that I wasn't pleased with, so I said good-by.

JL: Were you interested in becoming the dean?

TS: Not at all. I didn't want to monkey with the personnel and balance the 212:00budgets, and all those things. It wouldn't interest me at all. No.

JL: Why is that?

TS: That's my makeup. I just wouldn't like that part of it.

JL: The aspect you enjoyed the most then was teaching?

TS: Yes, I taught. I was a teacher, yes.

JL: Well, was Mason a good administrator?

TS: Let's just pass that question.

JL: What major decisions did he make during that time? Did he have authority as acting dean?

TS: Oh, I think so. I didn't question his authority. I just differed with him. 213:00I would say there was some people who were loyal

to Mason, and some were loyal to me, and I decided that life was too short to continue there; and I had a lot of timber interests and a lot of other daily interests, and was financially able to say that I could take retirement. Of 214:00course, some of the other men quit, too.

JL: What would you have done if you had been appointed dean?

TS: I didn't want that job, you know. I never even considered what I would have done. Well, for instance, here's an example. Before I left when I was buying the McDonald Forest land, I made a map that fit into a four-by-four plywood case, back and front. I had on there the area that we bought, how much we paid for it, who furnished the money to buy it, and probably a cruise on that particular piece. I left room so that succeeding classes could also put their cruises on that particular piece. Well, in 1942 apparently, about the time I left [it 215:00disappeared]; nobody knows where it is--a lot of tremendous information there that was really valuable.

JL: What do you think happened to it?

TS: It probably had T. J. Starker's name on it.

JL: You were not popular with some people?

TS: With one, anyhow. In my write-up I said that's the high price in turnover of personnel.

JL: Why didn't Peavy come back as dean?

TS: Well, I just can't answer those questions.

JL: Unless he talked to you.

TS: No, he never told me. He was getting older, I guess. He was mayor of the 216:00city, I guess, about that time, and he had other duties.

JL: What kind of a politician was George Peavy?

TS: Well, he was a fellow-well-met. He made lots of friends, I think. I am not a politician, though, (chuckles)

JL: You're interested in politics, but not a politician?

TS: For instance, to show you I am not a very good politician, I sat next to ex-mayor Ken McGregor one day in church, and he said, "T. J., you're just out in [left] field on that continuing to keep the old depot. That piece of property 217:00there is worth a half a million dollars. That's just too expensive for a public toilet." [A citizen's group interested in preventing the then imminent demolition of the old Southern Pacific depot, at 6th and Monroe, had proposed it be renovated and used as a community or youth center; it would have included a public restroom. In 1981 the depot was moved to the river front and remodeled to serve as Michael's Landing restaurant.] Well, I have a darned good answer for that, but I'm not going to put it in the public press.

JL: What kind of an administrator was Peavy?

TS: I think most of the faculty and the students got along with him. In fact, I think the students were very loyal, because they got together and made a pot full of money and built him a cabin out on the Arboretum, on the lookout there. 218:00You don't do those kinds of things for people you don't like.

JL: So he was popular, but was he a good administrator?

TS: I would rather not say.

JL: Did you have any part in the decision as to where to put Cronemiller Lake?

TS: I don't think so. No, I don't think I was consulted at all. I had made 219:00enough decisions about where the trees were planted in the Peavy Arboretum and on the McDonald Forest. Had Schreiner build Schreiner Road.

JL: So you really managed the forest then?

TS: Oh yeah, for a long time. Saturdays and Sundays. I even sold timber off of them.

JL: Where did the money go from the timber that you sold?

TS: It went into the general fund, I guess, for the School of Forestry. I never saw any of it.

JL: Why were you willing to work overtime?

TS: Well, I thought it was kind of a part of my job as a forester. I even 220:00invented the brass caps that mark the section line corners.

JL: In Mac Forest?

TS: In Mac Forest. That really took my time.

JL: I wanted to ask some questions about the management of Mac Forest. What rules did you follow in managing Mac Forest?

TS: Well, of course, the main objective was the instruction of the young foresters. I had a box full of experiments, apple box full. It disappeared along with that map I told you about. For instance, the French people have the 221:00practice of gathering up all the twigs and litter in their forest and use it for fuel and bedding and things of that kind for their animals. They call it soutirage, and so we had an experiment on the same basis. We picked it up on a plot and put it on another plot to see whether it would help the other plot, and whether it would hurt the plot from which we removed it. We had thinning experiments. We had pruning experiments. I laid out the roads-that is, the general topography; the engineering Profs, Schreiner and Patterson did the detail.


JL: So the three of you really managed the forest then?

TS: Well, as far as managing the forest--that is, the timber part-at the start I did all of that. I'd go out on Saturdays or Sundays and make a timber sale.

JL: Who would you contract with?

TS: Oh, a man like Stan Wilt who had a sawmill, or anybody who wanted to buy stumpage.

JL: Where was Stan Wilt's sawmill?

TS: Just down there on South Third Street. I was his partner for a while at least. We called it the Dog Face Lumber Company. We had a log brand that had a dog face; still have it.


JL: How much timber would you cut then?

TS: Oh, we never cut a large amount. Just the areas where I considered it was at least advantageous to release some of the younger trees, and things of that kind, you know. We took in some money; I don't know where it went to.

JL: Who did you give it to?

TS: I don't know, (laughter) probably the business office.

JL: After you left, who managed the forest?

TS: Well, I don't know who the successors were. Yeah, Harry Nettleton followed me.

JL: How was he as a manager?


TS: You ask me embarrassing questions. Rowley's the present manager [Marvin L. Rowley, "Forest Properties Manager" since 1973]. He lives in Philomath, and I think he is taking an active part in it.

JL: What do you think of Rowley's management techniques?


TS: I think I expressed myself before, that sometimes I would like to see them cut more of their grouse ladders. A grouse ladder once [it is cut] is never any better than a number three log. They ought to replace it with something that would make at least a two-peeler.

JL: He manages the forest much more intensely than it was when you were manager?

TS: I think he spends more time at it, yes. The time I spent was after hours and Saturdays and Sundays, and holidays.

JL: Do you think it has something to do with the fact that more research has been done, and more is known about how to manage the Forest?


TS: (long silence)

JL: Is that another embarrassing question?

TS: Might be.

JL: What happened too many of the structures that were on Mac Forest?

TS: Well, the only structures that I recall on there was put on there by the School of Forestry. We had a powder house; and we had a [Forestry Club] cabin [built in 1925-1926]. One of my students [Kelly B. McGuire, class of 1926] was a leader in constructing that; he became one of the members of the State Board of Forestry in California [served as board member, 1958-1970].

JL: Who was he?

TS: I can't think of his name right now. It might be in that history, I don't 227:00know (nodding to the book he had written about the Forest). But it burned down [in February, 1949; it was rebuilt in 1950]. It was too bad, because when I was at the

University I collected a whole room full of wooden artifacts, you might call them, including a piece of an airplane that went down in Alaska [in 1935] with Wiley Post and Will Rogers; I believe [they] were the occupants. Part of the plane was sent to me by one of my ex-students. Ex-students would give to me old trees of odd shapes, and any curiosities that happened to be in the Forest. They all burned up in that fire.


JL: We were talking about your management of Mac Forest.

TS: Well, I bought each piece. This and this and this. In fact, in my history I said I learned a lesson about buying land in my connection with Oregon 229:00Agricultural College. I saw this man one time, and he had 80 acres, and we decided on the price. I said, "Do you want a down payment?" He said, "No, my word is good." I said, "Well, I want to go back and see Dean Peavy, and see if 230:00it's okay to buy this piece, because he's really the boss." I went back a couple of nights after that and he said, "Well, my son was over last night and we decided that we ought to keep the place." So I learned a lesson. But I also put in there [in the aforementioned history] that a few years later we did buy it, and that's where the nursery is.

JL: What was the lesson you learned about buying property?

TS: Get a down payment on the property.

JL: Did you plan the nursery, also?

TS: No, I didn't. I didn't have very much to do [with it]. One of my students, 231:00McDaniels, spent his whole life there practically. His professional career, anyhow. Yeah, Vern McDaniel. He ran that nursery for years.

JL: You taught him management skills when he was a student?

TS: Some of them, anyhow.

JL: You showed me this list on "How to Succeed"? (Copy of list in file) Do you think that people, foresters for example, follow them today?

TS: It might affect some people. They might follow it, yeah. "Hire good brains 232:00but run a one man show." (Chuckles)

JL: Do you think students have changed from when you were a teacher?

TS: Oh, I don't know. I suppose they run along the same. As I say, when I first started I had older students. I sure like this one, "Above all, shun taxable income like poison." How do you do it?

JL: Where did you get your sense of humor? From your dad?

TS: I don't know. I don't know. Did you ever hear that one about the sign in the bank?

JL: No.

TS: Don't kiss our girls; they're all tellers. (Laughter) I told that to one of 233:00the girls down at the U.S. Bank and she says, "I'm embarrassed," I don't know whether she wanted to be kissed or wanted to just tell. I thought that was a pretty good sign, though.

JL: What's your political philosophy, T. J.? I know you write a lot of letters to the papers about governmental issues.

TS: I write a lot [about the government], because I'm a conservative tightwad [as] I call myself (laughter) and we've got to cut down spending. Our legislature and our congress can vote their own salaries. That's the wrong thing to do! They oughtn't to be allowed to do that. And look at the cost of our legislature. Every day it costs--I don't know, what is it--$20,000 a day. Some darn crazy figure to keep those legislatures going down there.

JL: Do you think the country is getting more conservative or more liberal?

TS: Well, I think it's getting more conservative. I think that people are desiring less taxes. We voted down both Number Six--what was it? Thirteen? 234:00Eleven, I guess it was. Thirteen down in California. And I hope the legislature got that message. I voted against both of them, because I didn't think they did the job, and I felt the legislature with [Victor] Atiyeh [governor of Oregon since January, 1979] in there ought to come up with a good tax bill, particularly for timber.

JL: You think there is too much government regulation now?

TS: Oh, absolutely, by people that don't know what they are talking about--DEQ [State Department of Environmental Quality], land zoning. I'm a great believer in the value of private property; and I think as long as I don't 235:00hurt my neighbor, and my neighbor don't hurt me, I can get along without a lot of this zoning. That's the way I feel about it. The golden rule is pretty darn good rule to follow.

JL: What do you think you owe your success to?

TS: Work. (Laughter)

JL: You believe in hard work?

TS: You betcha.


JL: If you were starting out as a young man today, do you think you could accomplish in a lifetime what you have been able to accomplish up until now?

TS: No, I think the opportunities for buying up timberland are much decreased, for instance. There might be some other things I could think of, but that's under the wagon as far as buying up timberland is concerned. It's pretty closely held now, and high-priced.

JL: Were there any people that were particularly influential on your life? Anybody that stands out in your mind?


TS: Well, I don't know. Maybe Professor Roth at Michigan was about as influential....

JL: Professor Roth was one of the most influential men with regard to your career then?

TS: I would think so.

JL: Anyone that's influenced you in any other way, like a church leader or a member of your family, or anyone like that?

TS: Oh, I think I've been pretty much of an individual.

JL: Could you tell me something about your wife?

TS: I guess the best description would be to say one in a million. I'll show you 238:00her picture in there. As I recall, we only ever had one little spat, and I was to blame, (laughter)

JL: Oh, what was that about, do you remember?

TS: Yes. She went to see her mother, and stayed too long, (laughter) I'll admit that I was ornery about it.


JL: Did your wife work?

TS: When we were first married, she taught school, yes. Not after that. No. After we had children, she didn't work. She was a very good teacher as I understand from principals and superintendents.

JL: How long were you married? How many years?

TS: Just about 50 years.

JL: Your wife is dead now, is she not?

TS: Yes. She's been gone about eight years [Mrs. Starker died October 8, 1964].

JL: Did you move several times in Corvallis?


TS: Well, let's see. I built the first house in Cedarhurst which.... is Harrison Street goes this way and 35th goes this way (gesturing]-thirty-two acres in there was Cedarhurst; I owned that. It was a barley field when I bought it. I built the first house on the end, the last house next to the college farm--the dairy farm. It's a big, long house there. I had two children at that time.

JL: Did you buy it to build a house on it?

TS: Yes. Then I subdivided it, and I gave my son Bruce a big lot, and I gave Jean a big piece of property. She still lives there, and they have the 241:00Cedarhurst picnic on that particular lake and lot. But pretty near every lot has a house on it. It's a nice district; some very nice people live there; it's nicely landscaped and it's all paved.

JL: How long did you live there?

TS: X number of years, (laughter) the first house I built was on 320 North 23rd--I lived there five or six years-then I built out there. That's two. I think I built three more houses on Jackson Street, on Harrison Street, and about 242:00three more, no, four more, seven, eight. I didn't live in those houses, though, except one. Let's see, I moved from 23rd to out there, that's two; I moved next door, that's three; and I moved back down on 35th Street is four; I moved to an apartment on Van Buren is five; and I moved

out here-I guess that will be six.

JL: Why did you move so many times?

TS: Well, my friends said, "Old T. J. doesn't let the plaster get dry." When I was teaching I was either running a party for the Forest Service or dry kilning, 243:00or something, or I'd build a house, see? I'd come home at noontime, and I was so darn tired I just lay down on the carpet and wait for dinner. But, then I'd sell those houses and buy another piece of timber, and that's the way we did it.

JL: As you look back over your life, is there anything you would have done differently?

TS: Well, that's a hard question. I married an awfully nice girl, and I had two nice children. I never had to go on relief. I worked hard. I've had 244:00a pretty happy life, I figure as I look back on it.

JL: You have no regrets in your life?

TS: Well, of course, I regret losing that boy. I regret losing my wife. We had 50 happy years together. Things like that, that just come along as a natural 245:00sequence. But I am proud that I am a forester.

JL: What do you see in the future for your grandkids?

TS: I think it's rosy for them.

JL: You have great grandkids, too?

TS: Yes. I've got two great grandkids. They belong to the Roth family.

JL: Oh. That's your daughter's family.

TS: That group right there, right next to my picture, (pointing to photo) That 246:00picture [next to the photo] has a little story, too. After World War I, a couple of young fellows that had been in the feed-and-grain business and had experience came to me to help them finance the warehouse up at Rickreal. One of them didn't pay back what I gave him--the other one died too soon--and one year at Christmas time he gave me that picture (indicating a picture). A young artist up north of 247:00McMinnville painted that (indicating a second picture).

JL: The picture of you next to the tree?

TS: Yes, and when she came down she had painted a picture about this square. When she saw me, she said, "Well, I'll have to paint a bigger one." So when she brought it down, I had her sharpen the ax: put a little white paint around the ax blade there. She got the squint of the eyes, I thought, perfectly. I had her put more red in the shirt and fix up the tree so it would look more like Douglas-fir. Her mother painted this one. I asked this young lady where she learned to paint and she said she was born with a paint brush in her hand. I think that's a nice picture, too (indicating a third picture); there's a deer 248:00standing in there if you can see it.

JL: What do you see in the future for America? Are things getting better or worse?

TS: Well, I don't believe we've got a very strong President. I'd say that. I think our politicians need an education in the value of a dollar. As I pointed out I think it's the wrong policy to have people raise their own salaries; they knew what that particular job paid when they ran for the office, and they shouldn't be allowed to raise their pay at least within five years after that.


JL: Do you think values are different now from when you were a young man?

TS: Well, don't you read about more skulduggery? Seems to me that we do now. The thing that bothers me is the value of a human life. It seems like you read the papers, and your life isn't worth very much. People are stabbing each other, and making the kids take poison, and it just doesn't make sense.

JL: What do you attribute that to?

TS: I don't know. We've mentioned the word "Carter the peanut" for a Presi-dent. 250:00So I wrote Carter a letter and sent him some peanuts that I bought in Corvallis. I pointed out to him that as a high school boy I sold peanuts at the county fair in Burlington, Iowa; it looked to me like these peanuts hadn't been improved a bit over the ones I sold in Burlington, Iowa in 1907, or whatever it was, 1906 maybe. I got a letter back from the Department of Agriculture saying that they had improved the amount of peanuts that they raised per acre, which wasn't what I wanted. So then one of my friends down here on the river had given me some fil-berts. Do you know the difference between a filbert and a hazelnut? Well, I 251:00drew a picture of an Oregon hazelnut, which is just about the size of my little finger on the end, there [pointing]; and I drew a Barcelona (laughter) filbert over here; and I put an arrow over here; [and I wrote,] "This nut went to college"; and sent it back to the Department of Agriculture, (laughter) Well, they got the point.

JL: Are you satisfied with the career that you chose?

TS: Absolutely.

JL: It's been a fulfilling one for you?

TS: I'm very happy.

JL: What stands out most in your mind as being important in your life and your career?

TS: I'm not a philosopher.

JL: What accomplishments are you particularly proud of?


TS: Starker Forests, I'd say. Oh, I've done a lot of other things. I've built that great big warehouse at Ninth and Washington. It's occupied now at the present by CH2M [Hill]. I built Pierce Auto Freight [at First and Monroe]. I built about four or five of the buildings out on North Ninth Street: Tum-A-Lum Lumber Company, and Beaver Electric, and all along there. So I kind of kept busy.

JL: You carried on your father's tradition, contracting?

TS: Well, I built those for myself, of course, and sold them.

JL: You did this while you were working at Oregon Agricultural College as a teacher?

TS: Well, or in the summers, yes. But, instead of drinking beer in the back 253:00end of the tavern on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, I was usually out looking for timber.

JL: As a person who chose his course at the very beginning and followed it to the end, what advice can you give the rest of us who have not been that clear-sighted?

TS: Maybe we've only got one point of view, (laughter) "Work like hell", that's a good one, too. I've done that. You know, in the summertime I'd build a house pretty near every summer while I was on vacation from the college. I could start in the basement - even holding the scraper, the drag with a team of horses, and 254:00plow out the basement; I could put in the concrete forms; I could pour the concrete; I could do pretty near everything on that house except plaster, the electric wiring, and plumbing. Those three things I couldn't do very well. But I could do pretty near all the carpentry work. I couldn't lay floor as well as this floor has been laid. That's an awful good job of floor laying. They put the boards together endo-tight, which a lot of floor layers don't do. I think that's awful good advice. You know my slogan on advice, don't you?

JL: Will Rogers . . . tell me again.

TS: Will Rogers, [yes,] he's my favorite humorist. Will Rogers said, "I've seen a lot of vice in my day, but the worst I have seen is advice." (Chuckles)


JL: I like that, too. Through your life what were you working toward?

TS: Oh, if I could sum it up I'd say to be a good forester.

JL: Why is that? What is a good forester?

TS: It's a renewable resource. I was invited out to a retired physics prof's home the other night, and we discussed energy, and one of the things he had to 256:00say was that the best way to store energy was to have a tree do it. I wrote Victor Atiyeh just the other day. I said, "Victor, he wasn't a forester. Plant a tree and have it collect all of that energy. Mother Nature does it for you."

JL: What do you like about forestry?

TS: Oh, open air. Good air. Good water. Furnishes me with fuel. Provides homes for a lot of people-also labor. One of the things I dislike about it are the tax situations. I would say, of the tax laws in the state of Oregon, that we have had inequitable administration, because pretty near every tax law in the state 257:00starts out with a paragraph that says, in essence, the object of this bill is to keep the hills green with trees, but the tax people definitely don't consider that part at all.

JL: So what you like about forestry then is its variety and diversity of uses?

TS: Maybe another thing is that there's always something to learn. For instance, I've let my two grandsons take over practically 100 percent on the herbicides. They know much more about it than I do. We had a big slash burn yesterday. Do 258:00you see the smoke? I called the boys this morning, and they said everything is fine. Should check on them again.

JL: What are your goals today?

TS: (laughter) Keep busy every day.

JL: Busy with what?

TS: Well, I'm interested in the 4-H Foundation. I'm interested in the Oregon State University Foundation. I've been the agent for the Congregational Church for almost 50 years. I like to keep my hand in managing 52,000 acres of 259:00timberland. We also have the question of managing five rock quarries.

JL: Are things getting better or worse in forestry?

TS: Oh, I think they've improved tremendously the last five years.

JL: Why five years?

TS: Well, I guess inflation is one thing that has helped the timber industry.

JL: Oh, financially forestry is getting more profitable?

TS: Well, we know more about how to do it. We ought to learn in 70 years.

JL: Do you think that the forestry students are being taught everything they should?



JL: What kind of a forestry program would you set up if you had control of teaching students and administration of classes?

TS: (softly) that's the same thing: just turned around a little. (Will not answer)

JL: Where do you get your energy from, T. J.?

TS: I eat a lot of candy.

JL: Candy does it, huh?

TS: Pretty near every meal I'll top it off with a piece of candy. My 261:00girlfriends give me candy, and I buy candy.

JL: You have girl friends?

TS: Oh, yes. Three or four. I swap around. Play the field. (Laughter) I've got some nice ones, too. Peggy Allworth and Mrs. Hanson--well, I'd better not name them, I guess, (laughter)