City removes and preserves Chicago Rat Hole after complaints from neighbors

It’s the end of an era for Chicago Rat Hole enthusiasts. After a series of complaints from neighbors, the infamous rodent-shaped sidewalk dent was removed and preserved Wednesday morning, officials said.

“Crews removed and successfully preserved the square of sidewalk containing the famous ‘Chicago Rat Hole’ and are storing it temporarily while its future location is determined,” a spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Transportation said in a statement.

Photos from the scene show workers removing the slab of Roscoe Village sidewalk before refilling it with cement. It’s still unclear where the beloved imprint will be displayed next, though CDOT confirmed that it would be saved.

“There’s discussion about what could or should happen with it,” said Paul Sajovec, chief of staff for 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack, who represents the area. “It’s a piece of city infrastructure.”

The rat hole first went viral in January when a photo garnered millions of views on the social platform X. It quickly became an offbeat tourist attraction, drawing hundreds of devoted fans to West Roscoe Street.

At its peak, a makeshift shrine was erected at the site, featuring a framed photo of a mouse, a cardboard coffin and dozens of coins strewn across the sidewalk. Lines of eager visitors would stretch down the block.

But neighbors expressed frustration at the crowds, as well as the trash and food littered at the site. Roscoe Village residents said the dent has existed for decades. Suddenly, it was drawing complaints, according to Sajovec.

The hole had been filled in and dug out on multiple occasions since January, though the culprits remain unknown.

“It runs the gamut,” Sajovec said. “There are some neighbors that expected someone to rip it out the second it became an issue. We heard from other people that they liked it the way it was.”

Amid neighbors’ frustrations, the alderman’s office asked CDOT to determine if the section of sidewalk met the criteria for repair and removal. The office was notified ahead of the project Wednesday. At first, it was unclear if crews would be able extract the slab in one piece, Sajovec added.

“Given the notoriety, the goal was to remove it intact,” he said.

The imprint is now safely stored by CDOT. As fans took to social media Wednesday, the spirit of the Chicago Rat Hole seemed to live on.

“It belongs in a museum,” one user posted on X.

Another simply wrote, “FREE THE RAT HOLE.”