Sunday, January 1, 2012

Squirrels In History: White House Squirrels

This is a new feature for this blog. Occasionally I will post a note about squirrels of the past taken from old newspaper or magazine accounts. It's amazing the kind of stuff you can find on Google.

The first item is from a November 7, 1912 article in the Rock Hill (SC) Herald. The headline is "Squirrels At White House Are Quite Tame." It describes the squirrels that lived on the White House grounds, which were in fact so tame that visitors
are expecting to see them do most anything that any well domesticated animal might do. They run across the President's front porch whenever they feel like it, paying no attention to the policemen there, burrow around the President's geraniums, play with each other about the drives, feed out of the hands of well-disposed persons, and on the whole seem to enjoy life much more than any living thing in the vicinity.
I'm not sure what was going on in the lives of the other living things in the vicinity, but it sounds like life was good for those White House squirrels!

Yes, life IS good!

By the way, although it is not mentioned in the article, the president at the time was William Howard Taft.

I like squirrels so much that I'm hiding one
in each nostril!

The article goes on to describe the squirrels' latest "stunt," climbing up the iron light poles and sitting on top of the glass globes. Scanning to the top of the newspaper page, we see that this article was a special interest story related to the top news of the day, Woodrow Wilson's landslide victory over Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 presidential election. So Taft's days in the White House were obviously numbered. Hopefully the election results didn't lead to any major changes in squirrel policy when Wilson moved in the following January.

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