Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
The photo above shows the throbbing Potsdamer Platz some time around 19023-1924.
In the top right corner stands one of the famous Schinkel Gatehouses, two small Doric buildings designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for the new, 1824 Potsdamer Tor (Potsdam Gate). During WWII both gatehouses suffered relatively moderate damage and could have been restored to their former glory. However, in August 1961 they stood in the way of the largest edifice ever built in Berlin: the Wall. Both treasures of Schinkel´s architecture were duly demolished.
As for Potsdamer Platz itself, it was created by moving the old city gate further east towards Leipziger Platz and thus providing well-sized plot for a new central plaza. The construction of the Potsdamer Bahnhof, the first Berlin railway station opened in 1838, as well as the rapid development of the city transportation system, soon turned Potsdamer Platz into one of the busiest traffic knots in Europe.
In 1924, the year where the first Berlin traffic light was installed in the middle of the plaza, it was crossed by 26 street-tram lines, 5 bus lines and over 20,000 cars per day. Not to mention cyclists, regular pedestrians and the 83,000 passengers who arrived at or were leaving from the Potsdamer Bahnhof daily and wished to travel further down one of the 6 streets that met at Potsdamer Platz: Potsdamer Strasse, Linkstrasse, Bellevuestrasse, Leipziger Strasse, Königgratzer Strasse (Stresemannstrasse today) and Budapester Strasse (today known as Ebertstrasse).