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A Piece of Berlin in Lincoln Square

By Mona B

Fun Facts about Lincoln Square: Did you know you have a piece of some of the greatest history right here in Lincoln Square?

A piece of the Berlin Wall

If you ever wondered what that giant piece of stone wall is when you enter the lobby of the Western Brown Line CTA station you should have a closer look. It is not just a piece of Wall – It is a piece of the Berlin Wall!

Segments of the Berlin Wall have been given to various institutions since its fall on November 9, 1989.  When Chicago was offered a piece of the Berlin Wall in 2008, Lincoln Square was the natural choice for a location, considering its German roots. Germans have always comprised a major portion of ethnic whites in Chicago since the beginning of the city’s history. In 1900, one out of every four Chicago residents had either been born in Germany or had a parent born there granting them direct German heritage. And this still leads up until today. Lincoln Square is historically known as a heavily German influenced and populated neighborhood. Installing the Berlin Wall Monument here was just the right thing.

Did you know?!

The Berlin Wall was more than 87 miles long (!) and was originally build as a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (i.e. East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin.

If you have a closer look at the Monument on Western Avenue, you will notice that one side of the Wall is sprayed with colour and sayings (the side facing the West) whereas the other one is completely blank (the side facing the East) reflecting the two different regimes of East and West Berlin.

The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart” implying that neighbouring West Germany had not been fully de-Nazified. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame” judging East German’s restriction on Freedom of Movement.

So next time you will run through the Western CTA Station, take a minute and have a look at that great piece of history that the city brings right to you!

Art & the Berlin Wall

The DANK-Haus in Lincoln Square is currently hosting the Berlin Wall installation “Die, Mauer” an Urban Pop Art Project by Margarita Korol. “Die Mauer” is the German expression for “the Wall”. By setting a comma in between “Die”and “Mauer”, Margarita Kool introduces the English word “die” into the art project giving the audience an input to think! We love it!

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One comment on “A Piece of Berlin in Lincoln Square

  1. mattmaldre
    June 4, 2012

    Wow. I didn’t know the Berlin Wall was that long. It’s about the same distance from Joliet to Antioch, IL.

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This entry was posted on May 28, 2012 by in Fun Facts and tagged , , .
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