Monday, March 5, 2012

some U-Bahn history

One thing I always love about being in Europe are how the street names (and U-Bahn station names) are always tied to history, culture, and geography. It's not 5th Ave and 10th Street, random numbers and coordinates like on a US city grid, but "Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz" and "Kleistpark," "Straße des 17. Juni" and "Bismarckstr.". (This has always impressed me in visiting, Paris, too.) And sometimes, with the ups and downs of history, the street names change. The Third Reich is only the most obvious example: Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz was "Horst-Wessel-Platz"; Theodor-Heuss-Platz was Adolf-Hitler-Platz 1933-1945.

Michael noticed that one of our regular stations, Platz der Luftbrücke, has a plaque that the station used to be called "Kreuzberg" (see picture above). Well, it's obvious that the name "Platz der Luftbrücke" [the Berlin Air Lift] is a relatively recent name. So I looked into it...and found this amazing website, http://www.alt-berlin.info  with great old maps of the city. The history of the U-Bahn is relatively recent but they have maps of the city going back to 1738.  Here is another super amazing (I know, so nerdy...) site with info about all the stations: http://www.untergrundbahn.de/, and even some historic pictures.


So you can see above the station is called "Kreuzberg", you can also see the Viktoria Park. And in the map below from 1926, the stop is marked with an open circle (incomplete?). In the last one below, it's already renamed "Flughafen" (Airport).
1926
1939
Hallesches Tor - today and before the war

1 comment:

  1. Gunstling Tante MargueriteMarch 5, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Du muss eine Buche schreiben!!!

    ReplyDelete