Berlin Wall Monument

1900 N Western Ave Chicago

Western Brown Line/Berlin Wall Monument
Chicago Scene
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While Lincoln Square is a diverse neighborhood, it has a huge German culture, celebrating the country's heritage but also giving a somber nod the past. Inside of the Western Brown Line Station is a monument to a dark chapter in history. The piece of concrete, approximately 12 ft. high and 2 ft. long has one side (facing west) layered in graffiti, half of the letter ‘A’, and a green snow cap. The opposite side (facing east) is completely blank. This seemingly ordinary slab of concrete is a small piece of the 96-mile long Berlin Wall.

“So you’re talking about the free side, the side that the Americans were able to release at the end of (World War II). That’s why we have all this graffiti on it, because they were free, they were allowed to do things, and express themselves" -Nicholle Dombrowski, executive director of the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center.
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“The east side is traditionally clean, because they were under a communist government at that time, and they were not allowed to express themselves, whatsoever" -Dombrowski

Built in 1961 to divide East and West Berlin, the Berlin Wall was a long-standing symbol of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. When the wall finally fell in 1989, many pieces were donated around the world as a way to remember the past. Chicago was able to receive a piece in 2008 and Lincoln Square was the chosen neighborhood to display it because of its long history as Chicago's “Germantown”.

This section of the wall was part of the Grenzmauer 75 (Border Wall 75), the final and most sophisticated version of the wall built in 1975. In front of the Berlin Wall fragment is a small plaque stating its dedication from Germany and thanking the U.S. for their contribution in the reunification of Berlin and Germany as a whole.

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