Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels
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Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

This Roadside Attraction

Olney City Park, 502 White Squirrel Cir, Olney, IL 62450

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Many towns in America profess themselves to be a “home of the white squirrels”: pockets of suburbia where these curious albino squirrels seem to congregate.

Olney, Illinois is one of the most boastful. About 200 or so of the tiny mammals currently inhabit the town. At its peak though, there were around 1,000. Every fall the town holds a squirrel count.

It’s a town where squirrels rule: they have the right of way on every street. There’s a fine for taking them out of town.

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I visited Olney on a road trip around Illinois some years ago. My friends and I hit the town’s park and went around looking. We spotted many squirrels of the regular, everyday, brown and gray varieties. But, with limited time to devote to the town, we weren’t able to spot one of the famed white furry residents of Olney. Next time? Hopefully.

Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

HISTORY OF THE OLNEY ALBINO GRAY SQUIRREL
There were two people who discovered the Olney Albino Gray Squirrel at about the same time, but in different places. William Yates Stroup caught albinos near his farmhouse four miles southwest of Olney. George W. Ridgeley captured albinos on his farm six miles southeast of Sumner, IL. In 1902, both brought their squirrels to Olney and they were displayed in the window of Jasper Banks Saloon on Main Stree. Later they were brought to a woods near Douglas and Silver Streets, and so populates the City of Olney.

Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

Squirrel Crossing Sign -  Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels Squirrel Crossing Sign[/caption]

 

While we didn’t spot any white squirrels, we saw many regular squirrels…

Squirrels in Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

Squirrels in Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

Squirrels in Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

Squirrels in Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

Squirrels in Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels

Site: Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels
Location: Look for squirrels in Olney City Park, 502 White Squirrel Cir, Olney, IL 62450
Hours: Park Closes at 11:00pm
Cost: Free to See

 

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Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels
Olney, Illinois: Home of the White Squirrels
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Val

Val is the founder and head road tripper at Silly America. Having grown up near Berwyn's famed car kabob, The Spindle, and a restaurant with a cow on its roof, her fascination to roadside attractions started early. Val blogs about her life, travels, and cats on her personal blog, Choosing Figs.

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