Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
My absolutely favourite historic photo of the old U1 line (Hochbahn) in Berlin-Kreuzberg: very dynamic, very alive image created some time between 1905 and 1910.
Since the building to the left of the viaduct – Kaiserlicher Patentamt (today European Patent Office) – was only finished in 1905, the picture must have been made several years later but judging by the strong presence of young men who´d later disappear sucked in by the numerous front of WW1, definitely before 1914.
Unlike the Patent Office none of the houses visible to the right of the viaduct survived the next 40 years. Neither did the street that used to run along the Landwehrkanal at this spot: Sedan-Ufer (or Sedan Ufer) will disappear from the city map for good after 1945.
Something will be added, however. A new bridge will be built to span both sides of the canal at the height of the new, extended Zossener Strasse. Between 1910 and 1912 the original Zossener Brücke is going to appear where the big gathering of (mostly) men are standing. One of them, a teenager with no hat is looking straight at you as you focus your eyes on the group.
It´s his eyes and the women – one with a skirt flying behind her in the wind and the other smiling into the camera – as well as the two gentlemen in bowler-hats – both observing the gathered crowd without breaking their stride – who make this picture so extraordinary. Like a still from an impossible film.