Chicago's Infamous "Rat Hole" is Gone

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.26 - 2024 11:13 AM CET

Photo: YouTube
Photo: YouTube
Chicago's "rat hole" has been removed after the city determined that a sidewalk with an animal impression was damaged.

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Chicago's North Side neighborhood of Roscoe Village lost a quirky landmark known as the "rat hole" after city officials removed a section of sidewalk bearing the animal's imprint.

The city determined the slab was damaged and needed replacement, but the removal also addressed complaints from neighbors about visitors flocking to see the imprint.

The Chicago "Rat Hole" filled with offerings, consisting of mostly coins (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The "Rat Hole" and Its Popularity

The "rat hole" became an unusual attraction in the residential neighborhood, featuring an impression resembling a rat's outline—complete with claws and tail.

Although it had been a neighborhood curiosity for years, the imprint gained fresh worldwide attention in January when a Chicago comedian shared a photo of it on the social platform X (formerly Twitter).

The newfound fame quickly wore on local residents, who complained about visitors arriving at all hours, sometimes leaving coins and other items scattered across the sidewalk. Some neighbors also argued that the imprint was likely caused by a squirrel, not a rat.

The increase in foot traffic led to safety concerns due to the sidewalk's unevenness and disruptions caused by late-night visitors.

City's Decision to Remove the Landmark

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) removed the slab on Wednesday after inspecting it and determining it needed replacement due to damage. Erica Schroeder, a CDOT spokesperson, confirmed that the "rat hole" section is now in temporary storage while the city decides its ultimate fate. New concrete was poured on the same day to replace the removed section.

Alderman Scott Waguespack's office had been receiving complaints for months about the sidewalk's condition and the disruptions caused by visitors to the "rat hole."

Paul Sajovec, Waguespack's chief of staff, explained that the decision to remove the slab was influenced by these complaints, combined with the need to fix the uneven sidewalk.

While the "rat hole" has been removed from its original location, its future is uncertain.

Schroeder mentioned that the decision on where the slab will ultimately end up will be made in collaboration with various city departments and the mayor's office. It could potentially be relocated to a place where it can be appreciated without causing disturbances for residents.

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