Perhaps one of the last things a visitor might expect to encounter in Eureka, Illinois — a small town of about 5,000 between Peoria and Bloomington — is a four-foot by five foot, 2,200-pound chunk of the Berlin Wall. And yet there it is, a focal point in the Reagan Peace Garden on the campus of Eureka College.
Along with a bronze bust of Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, the worn gray slab of concrete and rebar commemorates Reagan’s historic commencement address on campus on May 9, 1982, the 50th anniversary of his own graduation from the school. It also recalls Reagan’s 1987 exhortation to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”
The 33-inch bust by renowned sculptor Lonnie Stewart sits on a pedestal with quotes from Reagan’s 1982 speech, including: “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means.”
The garden was donated by former Eureka College board chairman David Vaughan and his wife, Anne Vaughan, in 2000.
Know Before You Go
Nearby is the Reagan Museum at Eureka College, the largest collection of items from Reagan’s life and career outside of his presidential library in California. The museum is located in the Donald B. Cerf Center on the Eureka College campus.
During the school year:
Monday – Friday 8 am–9 pm
Saturday 10 am–6 pm
Sunday 12 pm–9 pm
Monday – Friday 8 am–4 pm
Saturday 10 am–2 pm
(Closed Sundays and Holidays)