TODAY IN KREUZBERG: MARCH 6 – HERMANN BLANKENSTEIN
Hermann Blankenstein (actually, Hermann Wilhelm Albert Blankenstein), an architect, dies in Berlin. Without him the borough of Kreuzberg would certainly not be what it is and surely not what it was. For try to imagine this place without:
- its municipal Markthallen or market halls – all of them: the XI known as Marheineke Markthalle, the IX or Eisenbahn Markthalle, the VII Markthalle between Dresdner Strasse, the then Luisenufer (today Legiendamm) and former Buckowerstrasse which is called Waldemarstrasse today. In fact, Blankenstein designed all of Berlin´s municipal market halls – all 15 of them.
- Krankenhaus am Urban – the hospital was designed by Blankenstein together with another famous architect, Frobenius. Other hospitals Berlin owes to him are: the mental asylums of Dallenberg and Herzberge in Lichtenberg (today a regular hospital known as Königin-Elisabeth-Herzberge Krankenhaus), Kaiserin-Augusta-Hospital in Scharnhornstrasse, the hospital in Fröbelstrasse, Moabit Krankenhaus originally built as a quarantine station for small pox and cholera victims, and the Epileptische Anstalt Wuhlgarten (Epileptic Clinic Wuhlgarten).
- Villa Tomasa in Kreuzbergstrasse – what we know as a busy restaurant on the edge of Viktoriapark was originally called Villa Kreuzberg and was erected as a waterfall pump-house (the smaller red brick house behind the main building) and gardener´s accommodation for the new park.
- most of Kreuzberg´s old schools (Askanisches Gymnasium in Hallesche Strasse known since 1992 as “Clara-Grunwald” Montesorri Primary School, former Leibnitz-Gymnasium in Mariannenplatz and another Montessori Primary School today, the schools in Arndstrasse / Bergmannstrasse, Alexandrinnenstrasse, Skalitzer Strasse, Görlitzer Strasse, Diffenbachstrasse. He was indeed a very busy man considering that the total number of Berlin schools that he designed single-handedly was somewhere around… 120.
The grave of Hermann Blankenstein in Zossener Strasse in Kreuzberg (image private)
It is only fitting then that Hermann Blankenstein should be buried here as well: you will find his grave at the Friedhöfe vor dem Halleschem Tor – the cemeteries between Zossener-, Baruther-, Blücherstrasse and Mehringdamm: at the Friedhof I der Jerusalems- und Neuen Kirchengemeinde, Abteilung 2/2 to be exact. Sadly, I am unable to say who designed it but we can rest assured that for a change it was not Hermann Blankenstein himself.