What’s With Glendale’s Giant Squirrel Statues?

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Photograph by Lance Adkins

If you’ve ever driven through Glendale, you’ve likely noticed the colorful 4-foot-tall squirrel statues scattered throughout the 1.7-square-mile village. What purpose do these larger-than-life squirrels serve? They pay homage to Glendale’s black squirrel population, which emerged in the 1940s thanks to Thomas Carruthers III, a local businessman who brought four black squirrels to Glendale from Harbor Springs, Michigan. The squirrels have since repopulated and become the village’s unofficial mascot. To celebrate Glendale’s sesquicentennial in 2005, then-Mayor Thomas Todd hired the same company that manufactured Cincinnati’s Big Pig Gig and Frisch’s Big Boy statues to create a fiberglass black squirrel, which local business owners could order, decorate, and display. In total, 25 squirrel statues were on view in 2005, and 13 can still be spotted today, including the firefighter squirrel outside the Glendale Fire Department. The remaining 12 were either relocated to private property or sold. “People come to Glendale to see them all the time,” says Walter Cordes, the village administrator. To catch sight of Glendale’s real black squirrels, Cordes suggests driving along Fountain Avenue, where there’s an abundance of mature nut- and fruit-bearing trees.

Click through our gallery to view more photos of Glendale’s squirrel statues:

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