Chicago Kills Its 'Rat Hole'

Questionable landmark, an imprint of a rat on a sidewalk, is removed by DOT
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2024 12:13 PM CDT
Chicago's 'Rat Hole' Is No More
Chicago's iconic "rat hole," as seen on Jan. 19.   (Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File)

The "rat hole" is gone. A Chicago sidewalk landmark some residents affectionately called the "rat hole" was removed Wednesday after city officials determined the section bearing the imprint of an animal was damaged and needed to be replaced, reports the AP. The imprint has been a quirk of a residential block in Chicago's North Side neighborhood of Roscoe Village for years, but it found fresh fame in January after a Chicago comedian shared a photo on X. The attention, however, quickly grew old for neighbors who complained about visitors at all hours, who would sometimes leave coins and other items scattered across the sidewalk. Plus, many in the neighborhood argue that the imprint was actually caused by a squirrel.

Erica Schroeder, a spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said the square of sidewalk "containing the famous 'Chicago rat hole'" is now in temporary storage. She said that where the slab of sidewalk, which has an impression resembling the outline of a rat—claws, tail, and all—will eventually end up is expected to be a "collaborative decision between the city departments and the mayor's office." Schroeder said the rat hole section, as well as other portions of sidewalk along Roscoe Street, were removed by DOT crews on Wednesday morning after the agency inspected them and determined they needed to be replaced because of damage.

Georgina Ulrich, a neighbor, shot video of crews using a concrete saw, a forklift, and finally a truck to remove the slab. "All this for a rat imprint," Ulrich says in one of the clips. New concrete was poured later Wednesday, Schroeder said. "The alderman's office has definitely received complaints from neighbors about people gathering and people placing a bunch of different objects in the public way there," she told the AP. Alderman Scott Waguespack's office had been receiving complaints for several months, both about that portion of sidewalk being uneven and people congregating there, rep Paul Sajovec said. "It was just a combination of the fact that the sidewalk was uneven and also that people would show up at various times of the day and night and make a lot of noise and create other issues," he said.

(More Chicago stories.)

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