This week’s mystery spot didn’t generate any concrete responses. Surprising, considering its prominent location in the heart of town.
It’s Rapid City’s monument to the fall of Communism, the Berlin Wall memorial!
The Berlin Wall memorial in Rapid City is one of the most comprehensive displays in the U.S. and includes two 12-foot tall sections of concrete wall and a pair of tank traps that served as an additional deterrent on the East Germany side. How they came to South Dakota is an interesting story.
Back in the mid-1990s, a traveling Berlin Wall exhibit made a stop at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. A local business executive was hosting one of the men associated with the exhibit and inquired about buying a piece of the wall for a permanent display. He paid for them out of his own pocket and ended up donating the pieces to the city in 1996. Interpretive signs were added and a display was erected in Memorial Park next to the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. The whole project was privately financed and, given Rapid City’s proximity to Mount Rushmore—the original Shrine of Democracy—oddly appropriate.
November 9, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s a perfect excuse to stop by and visit the memorial if you haven’t done so yet. You’ll walk away with a sobering reminder of the cost of freedom.