Marionville’s claim to fame runs all over town – but only when visitors aren’t touring solo

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Squirrel_2+One of Marionville’s white squirrels poses for the camera.

Ask Marionville locals, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t basically on a first-name basis with the town’s colony of white squirrels.

– “They’re everywhere,” says the local gas station attendant. “You can just be driving and ‘bam’ there’s one.

– “Oh yeah, I’ve seen ‘em,” says a man, taking a break from scratching his lottery tickets. “They’re not hard to find.”

– “I saw one playing just this morning,” recounts a man as he enters City Hall.

Furriners, however, are a different story. The squirrels’ white fur must give them supernatural abilities – some kind of psychic power – to know when an outsider is looking for them. It is a fact that they have disappeared when well-intentioned visitors whipped out their cameras and tried to catch a glimpse. Of course, once longtime Marionville resident Doris Rapp appears, they come out frolicking with careless abandon. But she says that the squirrels’ absence can be linked to timing, not conspiracy.

One time I was walking up around the manor…and I counted 13,” says Doris. “If you’re around at the right time, you can see all you want to see.”

“One time I was walking up around the manor…and I counted 13,” says Doris. “If you’re around at the right time, you can see all you want to see.”

But why are these curious critters in Marionville in the first place?

“Well, there’s lot of stories about that,” says Doris, who is also Marionville’s mayor and historian. “Some of ‘em claim they were genetically bred somehow, you know. Others say they escaped from the circus train. And another says some guy brought them home for his daughters and they got loose and they just started multiplying in town.”

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