By The Associated Press
OXFORD – Squirrels love the L.Q.C. Lamar House Museum.
The big, majestic trees surrounding the house are home to dozens of squirrels. The squirrels were happy in their wooden homes, until the historic Lamar House received a makeover.
“The squirrels basically fell in love with the Lamar House,” Hollis Green, director of the Oxford Conference Center said.
Officials say the damage by the squirrels began about two years ago.
Green said the squirrels have been working overtime to get inside of the historic home, Green said.
“It’s been an ongoing, increasing problem since the renovations,” he said. “There’s an unusual amount of squirrels who live in that neighborhood.”
During renovations, a screen was placed under the roof eaves, which allows the attic to breath. However, it also gives the squirrels an easy access point.
“It takes them maybe 10 seconds to break through that screen,” Green said. “We’ve had them in the attic and in the house. They’ve begun chewing some of the wood on the house. They find it tasty, I guess.”
The Convention and Visitors Bureau is trying to eradicate the problem without harming the squirrels, which isn’t an easy task, Green said.
“We’re going to put a heavier screen up there, one they can’t gnaw through,” he said.
A price to repair the damage caused by the squirrels will be determined and Green said the cost to repair the home will come out of the museum’s maintenance budget.
L.Q.C. Lamar was a U.S. Supreme Court justice and Secretary of the Interior after representing Mississippi in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He died in 1893.
He wrote Mississippi’s ordinance of secession in 1860. He was included in John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” for his role in reunifying the nation after the Civil War.