Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Almost two weeks of a delay on our time-machine flight but never mind. For as the Russians say: Ти́ше е́дешь — да́льше бу́дешь. The slower you go, the further you get. Exactly my kind of a proverb. So here is the last day of August.


The Berliner Morgenpost (yes, it was out already then!) informs the readers about the results of their field research in the world – or as a Berliner such as Heinrich Zille would say millöh – of Berlin´s coachmen.

As it turns out, the tallest coachman in the capital of Prussia was a certain “Lange Bindeboom”, who when sporting a top-hat typical of his profession would measure more than 2 metres.

His coach bearing the number 44991 could be found waiting at the coach station on the corner of Yorck- and Hornstrasse in today´s Kreuzberg.

And since we have already mentioned Berlin´s tallest coachman, it is only fair to mention the winner in the opposite category as well. The smallest person driving a coach in Berlin at the time was more less half the size of Lange Bindeboom´s and had his regular post at the new Abgeordnetenhaus. In order to use his services, you would have had to ask for the coach number 6677. It was a bit, ehm, shorter and therefore easier to remember.


This year needs to be mentioned for exactly 4 reasons. Here they are:

1. Lankwitzstrasse is re-named Ruhlsdorfer Strasse. Lankwitzstrasse, if you remember, was were the Salvation Army opened the first shelter for young and poor mothers who happened to be fallen women, too.

2. Britzer Strasse  ceases to be called that and turns into Kohlfurter Strasse instead. Britzer Strasse was built in 1861 by a gentleman called Winkler and it was supposed to be called Winkler Strasse if his wish had been respected. But it had not: the authorities chose to honour the neighbouring village of Britz instead. Kohlfurt, today Wegliniec, is a relatively small town in Lower Silesia. Why it was more attractive as a name patron than Britz remains a riddle to us all.

3. Bahnhofstrasse (itself named as early as 1847) is re-named Güstener Strasse. No idea where it is? And no wonder – in 1987 Güstener Strasse was removed to make space for a new building. A school.

Bahnhofstrasse on a city plan of 1937 (see left of Anhalter Bahnhof)

4. Grünauer Strasse undergoes a linguistic metamorphosis and re-emerges as Ohlauer Strasse. If you don´t know Ohlauer Strasse, you have probably never been to SO36. If you have never been to SO36, then what are you waiting for?!

Corner Wiener and Grünauer (today Ohlauer) Strasse in the 1930s

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