The Outpost Theater was built in 1952/53 in conjunction with the construction of the Huettenweg housing area. It represented a component in organized troop entertainment. As at any other foreign base, the audience profited from the special conditions the American film industry provided to the US military, whose members enjoyed the most up-to-date movies at reduced ticket prices. In this regard, the Outpost was the family cinema of Berlin’s “Little America.” German audiences were not allowed in, unless an American friend or acquaintance chose to invite someone to a showing.
The Outpost was the largest American soldiers’ cinema in Berlin. It replaced the Onkel-Tom-Kino in the shopping arcade of that name, which had been confiscated in 1945 and was finally returned to its German owners. The US Army provided an architect for the new building: On the outside, Arnold Blauvelt’s design displayed architectural citations from American and British cinema buildings from the 1930s. On the inside, the building offered impressive projection technology and acoustics. The upper and lower sections provided 750 seats at the time of its opening. The low-lying stage, an orchestra pit, and artists’ dressing rooms made the Outpost into a multifunctional activity center. Its name arose from a competition among the US community. The multiply submitted winning suggestion reflected the prevailing American conception of Berlin as an outpost of freedom.
Since 1994, the Allied Museum has been using the landmarked structure as an exhibition and administrative building. It had passed into German hands following the withdrawal of the Western Powers. Long-term plans call for the Allied Museum to be moved into Hangar 7 of the former Tempelhof Central Airport. Until then, the exhibitions will remain at the Clayallee location.
Admission to the Allied Museum is free Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Outpost is home to the first part of the permanent exhibition mainly addressing the history of the Airlift. The Allied Museum also includes a neighboring building, the former library of the American garrison, which today houses the second part of the exhibition and the changing special exhibits. Built in 1979, it was later named after Arthur D. Nicholson, Jr., who had been shot in 1985 by a Soviet guard while performing a US liaison mission. The vacant area between the cinema and the library was formerly used as a parking lot. Today it accommodates a British “raisin bomber” from the time of the Airlift, the last guardhouse at Checkpoint Charlie, a French military railcar, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and a guard tower. Every Wednesday at 3 p.m., the Allied Museum offers a free tour of the grounds. The Airlift airplane can also be viewed from the inside on Sunday for the price of only one euro.
Starting from the Outpost, passing by Nicholson Memorial Library, two monuments appear a few meters down Clayallee. The sculpture The Day the Wall Came Down by American artist Veryl Goodnight shows wild horses jumping over the remains of the Berlin Wall. The transfer of the horse sculpture to Berlin occurred on July 2, 1998, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Airlift, in the presence of former US President George H. W. Bush. The monument, which was dedicated in 2002, was financed by American sponsors.
Nearby stands a statue of the Prussian-American commander Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, who made a considerable contribution toward the reorganization of the Continental Army during the American War for Independence. Modelled after a monument in Washington, it was placed here in 1987 in commemoration of Berlin’s 750th anniversary. A copy stands on the New Market in Potsdam.
Directions 1 > 2
The most impressive path from the Outpost to the US Army Chapel – the church of the American (military) community – first leads around the Allied Museum. Between Nicholson Memorial Library and the monument The Day the Wall Came Down, a footpath leads past the entrance to the library to Taylorstrasse. By following this street (leaving the museum grounds behind on the right), the area’s residential structure from the early 1950s comes into focus. After a long turn to the left, Taylorstrasse meets Hüttenweg, where the US Army Chapel is located on the immediate right.