"The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
"The crust of the earth is a vast museum."
Red Dirt Groundbreaker
In 1921, at the age of 24, Lloyd Noble borrowed $15,000 from his mother to buy his first oil drilling rig. From this first purchase, he became one of the most successful and respected onshore drilling contractors in the US.
As Noble's success in the oil business grew, he became more involved in Oklahoma's political and cultural activities. His greatest love lay with stewardship of the land. Noble owned three ranches in Carter County. He regularly flew in and out of Ardmore to manage his businesses. From the air he could see the erosion and other effects resulting from poor farming practices in Oklahoma and North Texas.
Noble regarded the land as very important to the future growth, prosperity and security of our country. In 1945 he formed the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
, now known as the Noble Research Institute. He named the foundation after his father, who he said was the most generous man he had ever known. The primary purpose of the foundation was to help farmers and ranchers preserve and restore their land through research and education programs. The Noble family still operates the foundaiton.
Olinka Hrdy is one of Oklahoma's first modern artists. She was born in 1902 near a small Czechoslovakian settlement in Prague, Oklahoma. She considered herself a "soddy," that is one who was born and grew up in a sod house. Olinka, Czech for "Olive," was of Czechoslovakian descent. After her parents divorced, she and her mother worked a large Sac and Fox lease near Prague. They tilled several hundred acres on their own. She remained there until she left to attend the University of Oklahoma.
She arrived at the University of Oklahoma with only fifty dollars for the entire year. Befriended by art faculty, she was given opportunities to paint her way through school with mural projects. After spending most of her career in New York and California, she returned to Oklahoma in the 1960s.