Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Earl of Squirrels

When something of interest landed on Lew Wallace’s radar, he just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Late in life he purchased acreage outside of town and created his country home Water Babble where he began improving the property; partly with the idea of creating a fish hatchery. This wasn’t his only foray into animal husbandry. Our visitors often comment on the large size and reddish color of the squirrels here. There is a reason the squirrels on the Study grounds look a little different than their downtown neighbors. As reported in The Crawfordsville Journal on July 15, 1901:

After four years of trial General Wallace has located a splendid colony of fox squirrels in the big forest trees about his residence. The pretty little animals and their young can be seen at all hours frisking about the lawn and they are jealously guarded from dogs and the air gun boy.”

Perhaps General Wallace felt that the large size and reddish color of the squirrels better complimented the artistic effect of the Study. Whatever the reason, after 110 years, the descendants of the General’s efforts at selective breeding are still frisking about on the lawn.

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