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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin
(1997)

Small animal house,   pp. 246-247


Page 247

which later became Herrick Drive. Probably this was to eliminate the presence of diseased animals in
a central campus area; the west end location already held the hog cholera labs and the state animal
disease control lab. Contracts for the small animal building were let by the regents on July 26, 1941,
with the general contract going to George Nelson and Son for $7,149. Total contracts let were for
$15,500, with funding coming from a $12,000 WARF grant and the $3500 balance from the regents
unassigned fund.1
The building was a 34 by 50 foot, one story wood frame building sheathed in asbestos insula-
tion board. The building had special features due to Dr. Clark's use of monkeys. These included
special sealing of the walls to prevent the monkeys from stuffing them with trash, and small doors to
the outside which allowed the monkeys (Macaca mullata) access to the outdoor pens from their indi-
vidual indoor pens.
Dr. Clark spoke highly of the new facility, and gave much of the credit to his colleague Dr. Conrad
Elvehjem. After a decade (1942-1952) of research on polio and other viral diseases, and the effects of
nutrition on disease in the new building, Dr. Clark reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 and was
retired in 1952; by this time Elvehjem was dean of the graduate school, and "we both realized that our
story had been told and gave up the 'virus laboratory' for nutritional studies in fur bearing animals"2
The study of fur bearing animals had been going on at the University since October 1937 when
two legislators appeared before the board of regents to describe the ravages of disease in silver fox
and other fur bearing animals. The regents asked the emergency board for funding and in July 1938 the
board appropriated $10,000 for this use. The 1938 state legislature appropriated $15,000 per year for
fur research in fox and mink. This funding was gradually discontinued in the 1940s. Wisconsin has
always been a major producer of mink.3
Into this situation came a young new faculty member named Richard M. Shackelford. He had
recently graduated from the genetics program and was offered a position studying the genetics of fur-
bearing animals. He accepted the position in 1940 and began his woik in quarters in an old barn on the
agriculture campus that had been partially destroyed by fire. In 1951 when asked by Dr. Elvehjem if he
would like to take over the old "polio lab", he was overjoyed. The regents approved money for
remodelling the "polio lab" in September 1951. The monkey cages were removed, but the outside
animal doors still remain (see Fig. 1). Dr. Shackelford's mink and fox research program did not
survive his retirement in 1974. In 1985, The Virus and Fur Research Building was renamed Herrick
Drive 2105, and became the home of the Physical plant director, and part of the sea grant program.4
1) Annotated Bibliography, Paul F. Clark, 1969 p. 15. Archives, Paul F. Clark biographical file; Regent's Minutes,
January 18, 1941, March 8, 1941, Oral History, Paul Clark, 1972, archives oral history project; Executive Committee
meeting, July 26, 1941. Contracts, series 1/8 contract #85-1.
2) Annotated Bibliography, Paul F. Clark, 1969 p. 22. Archives, Paul F. Clark biographical file; p. 22;
3) Regent's Minutes, October 12-13, 1937, August 16, 1938, October 1, 1938, October 29-30, 1937, ; Executive
Committee Minutes, June 13, 1938.
4) Regent's Minutes, September 8, 1951, Richard M. Shackleford, interview by the author, fall 1994.
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