That time when Nollendorfplatz was Berlin's loveliest U-Bahn station

Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn, Berlin, circa 1905 showing fountain and park

It's still there, half-hidden beneath the railway viaduct. The so-called 'Nickelmann' fountain which, sadly, hasn't spouted water for almost a century and is now filled with dead leaves and litter.

Yet it once formed the centrepiece of an elegant miniature park - a picture-perfect oasis surrounding Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn.

The gardens were first created in the early 1860s, several decades before the arrival of the railway line.

When the overhead station was built in 1903, the railway company funded a redesign of the existing square that would not only provide a leafy setting for the grand, cupola-like entrance, but also convince Berliners that the transport network bisecting their streets could actually be rather beautiful.

A leafier, more beautiful Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn station, early 20th century

The fountain, accordingly, was constructed right inside the viaduct itself, a large cascade designed by sculptor Otto Westphal.

The 'Nickelmannbrunnen fountain, once part of a park and now half hidden beneath the railways tracks of Nollendorfplatz

Depicting a water spirit with huge, webbed hands, the pool and its surrounding flower beds certainly upheld the prevailing belief that even the most functional things in life should be lavishly decorated.

Nollendorfplatz, Berlin, early 20th century
Nollendorfplatz, Berlin, 1927

Nevertheless, as the 20th century progressed the park began to shrink in size, replaced by pavements and further additions to the expanding U-Bahn station.

And today, of course, little remains of the former square, except for the Nickelmann beneath the railway tracks, gazing at asphalt instead of water, lawns and flowers.

Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn and the Nickelmann-Brunnen fountain, 10783 Berlin.


See also:
Bülowstraße and its urban art gallery
The U-Bahn that ran through a house
Remains of a Potsdamer Platz entertainment palace
Berlin's loveliest U-Bahn line
Vanished Berlin

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