Home of White Squirrels, Kenton, TN.

White Squirrel Wars

Olney, IL; Marionville, MO; Kenton, TN; Brevard, NC; Exeter, ON

Not one, but five towns use albino squirrels as their claims to fame, and none is particularly happy about the others.

Kenton, Tennessee

Kenton, Tennessee, accommodates about 200 of the furry rodents. Residents insist that the squirrels "have been here the longest" and claim they were left by a "Gypsy caravan" in 1869. Is Kenton, we asked, where the other towns got their white squirrels? "Well, they had to come from somewhere."

Olney, Illinois

Police force of Olney, IL.

Olney, Illinois, is the loudest booster of all albino squirrel towns, titling itself Home of the White Squirrels. It scoffs at the other towns' albinos. "Most of theirs have dark eyes," they told us. The town conducts and promotes an annual white squirrel count, when locals scour the landscape inch by inch to determine population or migration trends.

Laws on the Olney books give the squirrels right-of-way on every street; residents are fined if they try leave town with one. Local police patches bear an outline of a bushy-tailed albino. Big Squirrel is watching you.

[More about Olney, the Home of the White Squirrels]

Marionville, Missouri

Marionville, Missouri, also calls itself Home of the White Squirrels, and fines anyone $500 who tries to trap or sell one. This is a sensitive subject for Marionville, where the local lore is that Olney's first white squirrels were in fact kidnapped from Marionville. Former mayor and town historian Doris Rapp couldn't pinpoint exactly how Marionville got its white squirrels -- maybe a traveling circus, maybe a local mad scientist -- but she was certain that they'd been there since the 1800s.

White Squirrel.

[More about Marionville, the Home of the White Squirrels]

Brevard, North Carolina

As "Home of the White Squirrel," Brevard, North Carolina, also appreciates their white squirrels, although they have dark eyes and are not albino. There has also been some interbreeding between the white and grays [According to tipster Dan Hay, "causing some to have gray caps and sometimes gray strip down back."].

Brevard College's "White Squirrel Research Institute" has charted the geographic distribution of pale critters in their region. Brevard's white squirrels are legally "protected." The town holds a White Squirrel Festival around Memorial Day Weekend.

Exeter, Ontario

The northernmost white squirrel enclave is over the border in Canada. The town of Exeter, Ontario appears bent on total White Squirrel Supremacy, celebrating an annual White Squirrel Festival and cheerily publicizing their pale pals. A 1986 naming contest dubbed the mascot "White Wonder." There's even a song and a music video.

Exeter, Ontario White Squirrels.

But the Exeter squirrels aren't albinos -- their eyes are dark.

These communities revere their mascots, to the point of enacting stiff fines if humans should intentionally harm or even annoy a white squirrel.

Still, calamities do happen, whether it is a fall from a power line or an inattentive SUV driver on a cell phone (wait...that's all of them). Road crews quickly spirit away remains, shielding townsfolk and visitors from unpleasant views.

Marionville had come up with the best solution, preserving its most intact critters on ice and then shipping them to the Funeral Home with Perky Animal Dioramas, as we discovered during a visit.

Then there are ... Black Squirrel Squabbles.





Note:We are primarily interested in towns that promote their squirrel populations as symbols of civic pride. If your town has an annual squirrel festival, or you were Miss White Squirrel 2010, by all means let us know.

Also see: Not So Amazing Squirrel Stories

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Home of the White Squirrels

City Park

Address:
584 N. West St., Olney, IL
Directions:
In City Park, which is on the east side of Hwy 130/West St. about four blocks north of the intersection of Hwy 250/Main St. They are pictured in a mural at 300 E. Main St., and "White Squirrel Mini Golf" is at 701 N. West St.
Phone:
618-395-7302
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Home of the White Squirrels

Ozarks Methodist Manor

Address:
205 S. College Ave., Marionville, MO
Directions:
The best spot in Marionville for viewing white squirrels is reportedly outside the Ozarks Methodist Manor retirement home, but any yard with a lot of trees probably has one or two. Squirrels are most active in the early morning and evening.
Save to My Sights

White Squirrel Festival

Address:
2 W. Main St., Brevard, NC
Directions:
About 40 minutes southwest of Asheville, NC, at intersection of Hwy 64 and 276, not far from entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
Hours:
Last weekend May Sa 10am - 10 pm, Su Noon - 10 pm (Call to verify)
Phone:
828-884-3278
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Home of the White Squirrels

Address:
Poplar St., Kenton, TN
Directions:
I-40 exit 80B onto the Hwy 45 bypass; follow it to Hwy 45 west, then north to Kenton. Squirrels are around town. Feeder is at W. Taylor and Maple Heights Sts.
Hours:
Squirrels are most active at dawn and dusk. (Call to verify)
Phone:
731-749-5767
Save to My Sights

White Squirrel Town

Address:
Hwy. 4, Exeter, ON, Canada
Directions:
On Hwy 4.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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