The History of the Princeton Black Squirrel

In reality, black squirrels are not all that rare - they are actually a genetic sub-group of the common Eastern Gray Squirrel. Generally, black squirrels can be found in Canada and some Midwestern states. On the east coast they are not common, found in just a select few geographical regions, including our town of Princeton, New Jersey.

How these squirrels came to Princeton is another matter.

One popular but highly doubtful legend suggests that black squirrels were created as a campus science project - the squirrels were allegedly released by student protesters seeking to free the animals. However, another legend links the black squirrels to one of Princeton's most devoted residents, Moses Taylor Pyne. Affectionately known as "Momo" to friends, Pyne was a 1877 graduate of the University, a town resident and a philanthropist. He created his legacy both to the University and to the town by his contributions of both time and money. He made significant donations to the University throughout his life while also being deeply engaged with area civic organizations, among them two hospitals, two schools, the YMCA, four churches, and the Township governing board. He also donated land to the town to support the building of our hospital. He remained a fixture in Princeton until his death in 1921, at which time Momo was honored by a funeral procession of university and townspeople numbering in the thousands.

Perhaps the most curious gift Momo offered to both the university and townspeople were our iconic squirrels. Legend has it that Pyne imported both orange (red squirrels) and black squirrels, in the tradition of the university's colors. Over time, the weaker orange squirrels have disappeared, leaving the black ones as a legacy to Mr Pyne's love for this town.

The Princeton Black Squirrel symbolizes our belief that we are all capable of creating a significant legacy to Princeton through our actions. Show your support for our town and all it offers with Princeton Black Squirrel logo items whether you are a native, a transplant, a visitor, or a student.

© 2014 Princeton Black Squirrel, LLC
Although we're huge fans, Princeton Black Squirrel is not affiliated with Princeton University.