National Geographic : 1937 Feb
CHANGING BERLIN () Douglas Chandler VISITORS, ON FIRST SEEING BERLIN, ARE AMAZED AT ITS ABUNDANT STATUARY Here even the top of the main building of Berlin University, former palace of Prince Henry of Prussia, is lined with human effigies. This seat of learning, which now enrolls about 7,000 students, is fairly new, compared with some European universities, not having opened its doors till 1810. Many Americans take courses here. At the left, a teacher and her schoolgirls stand before a monu ment of Karl Wilhelm von Humboldt, brother of the distinguished explorer, and founder of the University (page 146). It was Dorothea, wife of the Great Elec tor, who caused the wide boulevard to be laid out, and who herself planted the first linden tree in 1681. Perhaps it would have been only fair for her generation to name the avenue for the Electress instead of for the tree she planted. However, they made amends by giving her name to the street which parallels Unter den Linden one block north. HOGS BARRED FROM CITY STREETS In 1690 an ordinance was passed by the Elector Frederick III forbidding the burgh ers of the neighborhood to allow their hogs to root around on the public street, as they were injuring the trees! The winter of 1705 was one of extraordi nary severity. Such was the cold that the 24-year-old trees were destroyed and had to be replanted. But the heyday of Berlin's Main Street was during the time of Frederick the Great. Then there were six rows of lindens instead of the meager four of modern times. Berlin did not escape the westward-push ing urge which has possessed continents, countries, and cities. Oldsters of today tell of open fields and woodlands in western areas where now stretch illimitable acres of concrete streets and business blocks. The inexorable thrust of building enterprise has encircled lakes and linked once widely separated communi ties into an urban entity. In the galloping twenties of the postwar period came the realization of the realtor's dream of a Berlin Broadway-"Berlin in Light." The Kurfiirsten-Damm sowed its wild oats in the lurid early day of jazz, but has now settled down to a smug, bour geois middle age (page 156). The Emperor William Memorial Church (built as a monument to Kaiser William the First and his wife, Kaiserin Augusta), which forms the root of the West Berlin section, is as out of place amid its surround ing cafes, restaurants, and movie palaces as Trinity Church is in the hubbub of lower Broadway.