Chapter 02: Working with MDACC President Dr. Lee Clark on Research Science Park, Bastrop

Title

Chapter 02: Working with MDACC President Dr. Lee Clark on Research Science Park, Bastrop

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Identifier

PickleJJ_01_20150315_C02

Publication Date

3-15-2005

Publisher

The Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library, The University of Texas Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interivew Subject's Story - Overview; MD Anderson History; MD Anderson Snapshot; Portraits; On Texas and Texans; Research; MD Anderson and Government

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Lesley Williams Brunet

Let me just test our meters and things.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

I can hear. Can you hear me?

Lesley Williams Brunet

Looks like they’re all working.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

I want to be sure you don’t miss a single word.

Lesley Williams Brunet

OK. This is

Lesley Williams Brunet and Dr. Earl Walborg.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Now, Leslie? I’m holding -- I’m trying to recall a lot of this from 30, 40 years ago. And I can’t remember, so history-wise, you all can put some of this together in the early stages before we got into the MD Anderson part of it.

Lesley Williams Brunet

All right.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

You’ll know that better than I will by form.

Earl Walborg

Well, there are probably some parts that you may well recollect. I'll try to tickle your mind.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

I know the point that I’m going to make, to make it for the record, and that’s the history part of it. When I was with -- years ago -- with the old National Youth Administration, I had best top county assigned to me, and us local Central Texas and state organizations used to go to the Bastrop State Park, which was built in the C.C.C. days of the early depression years. And they built a huge swimming pool at Bastrop State Park and some huts in connection with them. And at that time, most of the work was done by either C.C.C. workers or the old N.Y.E. workers. And so we built 10 or 12 condominiums in connection with a big swimming pool and kind of a play area down there, and a lot of time the people of the state organizations from primarily the center of Texas would go to Bastrop State Park and have a weekend. They had some facilities were you could not only have sleeping quarters but you’d also have a few card games if you wanted to. And I’m even told -- though I’ve never participated -- but I’ve been told that you can even go down there and hold some dice games (laughter). Like what you call “medical arts”. But we used to use that little facility down there for recreational purposes. And at one point years ago, the N.Y.E. what we would do was not only build some of that structure down there, but we were to make it a recreational area for the whole central state area. And we got ideas we could do that, and we decided that what we had to do was to build a little lumber camp, a lumber park you make it -- what you called it? -- a lumber yard?

Clifford Drummond

Or lumber mill?

Earl Walborg

Sawmill?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

We actually cut and dried the pine trees that made desks for schools and other places that needed them for the public use. So we actually used that facility down there not just for recreational but actually to have a Bastrop state lumber camp or manufacturing plant, and we made a lot of desks and chairs and things out of that lumber. We would actually cut the pines and leave them out to weather -- what do you call it?

Lesley Williams Brunet

To dry?

Clifford Drummond

To cure?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

And so we put it to good use. So over the years, we were familiar with that area, and we used it for a lot of purposes. And I was familiar with it because I was in with the 10th district N.Y.E. Well, along about that time, the state parts board decided they wanted to make a state parks system out of the Bastrop area. Instead of just a state park facility, they were really going to make a first-class preserve -- a whole area, I don’t know how many acres, 100 acres? I mean 100,000 acres or something in that -- and the reason was, there became kind of clamor for some way to preserve the lost pine area of central Texas. It’s a kind of phenomenon how the pines have come to grow right in that central part backdrop area, and it’s not anywhere in the state except in far east Texas, and it’s what we called then the “lost pine area”. So they wanted to make something out of it, and at that point -- I don’t know who really took the lead -- but at that point, the Texas wildlife department decided to enlarge the camp area and build a state wildlife park system there, a facility there. And I don’t know how many acres in the original land--

Clifford Drummond

Several hundred?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Several hundred. It’s large acres. But they tied this slice out, a good hump of it said to protect the backdrop area, was the old pine loblolly pine, where it grew and developed, and so that became a kind of precious little project they wanted preserved. That appealed to the people in Bastrop and Smithville and Elgin. It appealed to them because it was going to preserve the lost pine area into a state park system. So it suited everybody fine. We had the land then and it was a pretty good-sized tract, pretty sections of land right through that area. And we’d all sit along happy we had the land, we were glad to have it, we wanted it to expand, but the question was: what do you really do to expand a wildlife park except to just have there for people to come out and visit where the loblollies grew? That didn’t have much glamour to it; didn’t have much appeal. It was just plain land and you’d just come to visit it. So we thought: what could you make of it? And so constantly the people in Smithville wanted to protect that land so to see that permanently, and we had some real strong people in the Smithville area. I think Dude Allen was part of it, Shyrocket family, and Bill Allen, I think, who was president of First State Bank -- one of the banks -- was on it, and they were a very active park of the science park, which then was called the Buescher Science Park. B-U-E-S-C-H-E-R. Buescher, Buescher. Old German family owned part of that land originally before it was made into the state parks board. So we got them interested in it and they tried to protect that land ‘cause they figured that was their land. That was Smithville-Bastrop land and they didn’t want people from Austin, Fort Worth, or Dallas to come down and get their land. Well, you couldn’t blame them for that attitude, and so they wanted then to make out of it. And we were trying to figure how do we put it to the best use rather than making it just a visitor center, ‘cause if we had a visitor center then you had a lot of people coming in to Bastrop State Park, and with them they brought a heck of a lot of pollution and we didn’t want that.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

And here we had a doctor at the MD Anderson in Houston named Lee Clark--

Clifford Drummond

Lee Price?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Price.

Lesley Williams Brunet

No, you were right. It’s Lee Clark.

Clifford Drummond

Oh, it was Lee Clark. Sorry.

Lesley Williams Brunet

Dr. Lee Clark.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Lee Clark. Lee Clark. And he wanted to have a laboratory in Smithville at the Buescher Science Park. But it was a big undertaking. There wasn’t anything out there except the old loblolly area and he couldn’t get any money to do it. Lee, Lee was then head of the board of regents, or he was with the board of regents--

Clifford Drummond

Yeah, he worked with the regents a lot.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

And so they decided Lee, Lee Price--

Lesley Williams Brunet

Lee Clark.

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Lee Clark--

Clifford Drummond

Remember it was--

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

He decided he ought to have a laboratory at the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston; he’d build one down there. But before he was going to get the money, why take the state parks program and build a laboratory place at the Buescher Science Park -- at that point it wasn’t a science park -- but Lee Clark used to go to my man at Bastrop--

Clifford Drummond

Dude Allen, or...?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Not Dude Allen.

Clifford Drummond

Or Catfish?

James Jarell “Jake” Pickle

Lee Clark. The university man would come to Frank Irwin and say, “I want to build a big laboratory down in Smithville.” Well, that was good but how are you going to do it and the state parks board is very jealous, very zealous of -- you don’t use that land for anything but what they say; they think they own it. Of course, they do, but they’re hard to deal with. So we thought maybe we could build a laboratory down there, but they weren’t for that very much. They did the entertaining but that was about all, but they didn’t have any money. The state parks board was strapped for money; they didn’t have any money, and Frank Irwin couldn’t get them the money to build a park-- a laboratory down there. And Lee Clark came beside himself He used to catch me on the airplane sometimes when I’d go from Austin to Washington, and he’d say now, “Jake, what we need is a laboratory, a big facility down there at Oracott.” “Yes sir, I hear you, thank you.” I wasn’t doing anything about it because I know myself, and I know how in the heck can we build it? Where we going to get the money? We didn’t have any money for that purpose. That was a parks division set up for that purpose and no other purpose. So we didn’t have a good figure. So then Lee would turn around and go see Frank Irwin, and he’d run Frank crazy because Frank was a powerhouse and he had the reputation -- and rightfully so! -- of building, he probably expanded the university’s campus as much as anybody, almost doubled and tripled his land, and increased the building facilities out there many fold over. ‘Cause Frank Irwin was a doer. He was a builder. But Frank had... he was chairman of the state board of regents, Connelly was governor, and Johnson was--

Lesley Williams Brunet

President.

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Chapter 02: Working with MDACC President Dr. Lee Clark on Research Science Park, Bastrop

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