CHICAGO (CBS) — The so-calledon a sidewalk in Roscoe Village has become a nationally-known icon – to the point where it has been the site for a marriage proposal and even a wedding.
On Tuesday, yet another couple made a date out of their visit to thein front of a blond brick three-flat building at 1918 W. Roscoe St.
But while there is plenty of love for the “rat hole” – now named “Splatatouille” following a contest put on by the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce – many residents have had it. They are sick and tired of their residential block being a tourist attraction.
The rat hole is not new – some have said it has been around for 20 years. But people have been flocking to it ever since artist Winslow Dumaine showed the sidewalk imprint in a post on X, formerly Twitter, earlier just this month.
And for weeks since, the impression of a rat – or some other rodent; many speculate it was probably a squirrel – has left a lasting impression on visitors to the block.
“It’s kind of crazy how much this has blown up,” said Jacob King.
Romantics see art.
“It’s just so simple and like so artistic,” said passerby said.
Others see themselves.
“You know, I’ve got a long rat tail myself,” said King – referring to his hairstyle. “I had to memorialize it in some way.”
King was spotted trying to make a mold of the rat hole using silicon mold putty. He assumed he couldn’t be the only one to try to do such a thing.
But not everyone in the neighborhood is still amused. Some neighbors have gotten past annoyed – and the rat itself that left the impression is not the nuisance.
One resident took to Reddit, venting in the Chicago subreddit about living with virality.
The post is titled, “A gentle plea from Rat Hole Residents” – and included a bullet-point list of annoying issues the people of the 1900 block of West Roscoe Street have had to deal with lately:
- Garbage piling up, including vapes, cigarettes, alcohol, and food
- People partying outside our house, doing shots, pouring alcohol on the sidewalk, and leaving the empty liquor bottles in our parkway, at all hours of the day and night
- Cars honking as they drive by
- Total loss of privacy, especially for the ground floor tenants
- People filming videos to promote things, like improv shows, radio stations, businesses, etc… and leaving advertisements and flyers on our property
- Reporters waiting outside our house and trying to interview us when we come out
- Our mail carrier has been skipping our house due to the crowds and news crews
- Street parking being taken up all throughout our neighborhood
- People doing weird-ass “rituals” like prayer circles and chants late at night?
- People accusing my neighbors and I of trying to fill in the hole (we did not, and we don’t know who did, but I’m honestly afraid someone is going to throw a brick through our window)
The resident also reminded readers that the rat hole is not new – and was a known neighborhood quirk a long time ago.
“This past weekend was absolute hell for me and my neighbors. We have always liked the rat (or squirrel) – it was a cute, quirky little thing in our neighborhood. People would smile and laugh as they walked by, and that was it. It’s been there at least 20 years, afaik,” the neighbor wrote. “But now the internet has learned about it, and taken things waaaaay too far. What was once a fun little quirk has become a trashy, cheap marketing ploy. Everyone just wants to capitalize on it and get their internet clout. I think someone even started making t-shirts??”
The resident wrote they were glad the rat hole has brought people joy, “[b]ut we need you all to chill out. Please.”
The resident who posted to Reddit later added an update saying Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd)’s office had said the city plans to replace the slab where the rat hole is located. This could not immediately be confirmed.
“Don’t know if they’re going to preserve the old slab or what, but I don’t care anymore, because we’ve actually started seeing some really disturbing and threatening tweets about people coming here and inciting violence over this stupid rat hole. (Authorities have been notified.),” the neighbor posted to Reddit. “That’s the official last straw for me, folks.”
King also said he too expects the city will be removing the rat hole.
“I already know that the alderman and the city is going to be probably getting rid of this soon, just with all the commotion,” he said.
A Roscoe Village resident of four years himself, King can imagine what his neighbors whose sidewalk has become a shrine to a deceased rodent are going through. But he can only guess how long the impression will last.
“The internet does wild things,” King said.