Memorial Wall

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About the Artist/Site

For at least a dozen years local residents of the Aptos/Rio del Mar area on the central coast of California have been attaching memorials and homages to friends and family members onto the concrete tiles of a 10-foot-high retaining wall located on the north end of Seacliff State Beach. The wall includes a variety of remembrances, from casual notes created in magic marker to fully three-dimensional bronze sculptures. Ceramic tiles, photographs, flowers, and numerous heartfelt notes have been placed over the years by locals who chose to memorialize their departed in this shaded and tranquil oceanside spot.

Most people believed that this wall was on state property, as it faces the state beach and does not infringe on the private property adjacent to and behind the wall on the north. However, during summer 2014, the adjacent homeowner, who does not live locally, announced plans to tear down the memorial, and has filed an official vandalism report. Despite many attempts by the media and various community groups to contact her, she has not commented about why she intends to remove this esteemed community memorial. If she were to remove the wall herself, she would need to file a permit application, and to date no such application has been filed, according to the Coastal Commission.

The Sheriff’s office has posted signs giving thirty days to those who have left mementos on the wall time to remove them, and, indeed, some have been removed. However, other community groups and neighbors have vowed to fight the demolition; some hope to find an area for a replacement wall, but most still hope that once the property owner understands how important this wall has been for the community, she will change her mind.

The wall was finally removed in February, 2016, and is no longer viewable at the north end of the Rio del Mar beach walk

~Jo Farb Hernández

Map and site information

201 State Park Drive
Aptos, California, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 36.972222 / -121.913889


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