Advertisement

Chicago Rat Hole filled in with cement (again) and dug out by devoted fans (again)

CHICAGO — The infamous Chicago Rat Hole — a rodent-shaped dent in Roscoe Village that recently became an off-beat tourist attraction — was filled in with cement and, once again, dug out by devoted fans Wednesday.

The saga began in the early morning, when neighbors noticed a large splatter of wet cement over the hole in the sidewalk.

“It was just a big splat of cement on top,” said Gabrielle Plascak, 31, who lives next door. “They didn’t even fill in the tail. I was like, ‘You couldn’t at least smooth this out for us?’”

But by midafternoon, Rat Hole loyalists had apparently dug the cement out of the hole. Neighbor Emma Cheski, 25, said she saw a few people scooping it out with spoons and license plates.

“I’m glad they did,” Cheski said. “All the neighbors love it. It’s always been a fun part of the street.”

The Rat Hole was catapulted to international stardom in January. Chicagoan Winslow Dumaine posted a photo of the dent on X, formerly known as Twitter, garnering millions of views.

“Had to make a pilgrimage to the Chicago Rat Hole,” he captioned the post.

What followed was a cult-like obsession with the rodent imprint. Lines formed down the block, with fans eager just to catch a glimpse. The site was soon scattered with coins, cheese and other tokens of appreciation. At one point, the makeshift shrine included a cardboard coffin and framed photo of a mouse.

Nearby residents say the Rat Hole has existed for decades. And, despite its name, neighbors believe the dent was more likely made by a larger animal.

“People think it’s a rat, it’s not,” neighbor Teri Turner, 60, said. “It’s too big. It’s a squirrel.”

The last time the hole was filled in was Jan. 19, at the height of its fame. A group of neighbors and fans banded together to clean out a translucent, cement-like material that had been poured in the dent.

Much of the tourism surrounding the Rat Hole has since died down, neighbors said. Thursday morning, West Roscoe Street was quiet. Only a few pieces of litter surrounded the hole: green beads, an “I voted” sticker, a business card. The hole itself remained intact, aside for some dark discoloration, perhaps due to the recent splatter of cement.

The circumstances surrounding the cement — and who poured it — still remain a mystery.

“Why? What’s the point?” Turner said. “Who cares? It’s just nice to leave it.”

Cindy Nelson, 57, lives directly across the street from the site. She heard about the cement from the neighborhood group chat.

“It’s just sort of sad that someone would do this,” Nelson said. “Just let it be joyful.”

Twenty-year-old Sophia Matchett walks a dog twice a day for a nearby resident. When she first saw the hole, she didn’t think much of it.

“I was like, ‘That’s so gross,’” Matchett said with a laugh.

She’s since avoided that side of the street when she walks the family’s dog, Sadie, due to the trash, food and alcohol strewn across the sidewalk.

“Sadie is kinda shy, and we have these tourists coming,” Matchett said. “I was like, ‘Guys, it’s just a little rat.’”

But despite the occasional commotion surrounding the attraction, neighbors hope the Rat Hole is here to stay. All expressed relief that someone had cleared the cement.

“My favorite thing is people going around, saying, ‘Oh, I have an animal hole on my street.’ It’s like, ‘Oh, look at this frog print,’” Plascak said. “But you can’t outdo the rat. It’s the OG.”

____