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Watch: Chicagoans work to preserve viral 'rat hole'

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Chicago's famous "rat hole," a rodent-shaped indentation in a concrete sidewalk, was filled in by an unknown person, leading fans to attempt to exhume the landmark.

The "rat hole," an indentation left when the cement was still wet in the 1900 block of West Roscoe Street in the 1990s, became a viral phenomenon this month when fans started posting photos and videos to social media.

Visitors left "offerings" including spare change and snacks as tribute to "Chimley," the name given to the animal that created the indentation.

The hole appeared to be rat-shaped, but some neighbors and animal experts said it was more likely left by a small squirrel that fell out of a tree.

Fans gathered at the rat hole on Friday discovered it had been filled in overnight with a concrete or plaster-like substance. Visitors worked to dig the still-wet substance out of the hole to preserve the landmark.

"As a Chicagoan, I feel the preservation of history is important," Johnathan Howell told NBC Chicago as he used a license plate to dig at the substance. "It has a plaque, so, you gotta dig it out."

The plaque was left at the hole this week by the organizers of Riot Fest. Other famous visitors to the hole this month include state Rep. Ann Williams, D-11th District, and Chicago Bulls mascot Bennie the Bull.

"I just don't understand why everyone's trying to block our good time," visitor Reese Klemm said. "All I wanted to do was leave a cute little quarter in respect of the rat hole, and now we have to dig it out with a license plate. That's not right. That's not right at all."