Our hotel is inside two former apartment buildings at Kastanienallee number 65 and 66 in the district Berlin Mitte. As one of the first buildings in this neighborhood they were constructed in 1865. Houses without balconies were common in that era. The stucco from the façade was removed in the 1960’s. Today the straight looking facade has been embellished with outside blinds for all windows and light-bands.
For over 70 years the buildings belong to the family Hauptmann. Their grandfather, Boleslaus Schulz, who had a butcher shop a few doors down, bought the buildings in the beginning of the 1930’s.
The buildings survived the 2nd World War well. In 1945 the house Kastanienallee 66 was turned into Russian headquarters. In the time of the GDR both buildings were used again as apartment houses. In this time the building’s structure was kept up only by personal commitment.
After the reunification of Germany the family Hauptmann decided to open a hotel/ guesthouse. They carefully started the reconstruction of the two houses. On April 1st 1992 the hotel opened for business with six guest rooms – today the hotel counts 35 rooms. In 2005 the façade of the hotel was renovated so now also the outside of the former apartment buildings as been transformed into a hotel.
Chronicle of Kastanieallee no. 65 / 66
Kastanieallee no. 65 / 66
In 1826 the Kastanienallee was built by Wilhelm Griebenow (1784-1865) between “Verlorenem Weg” (today “Schwedter Straße”) and the Schönhauser Allee. The chestnut trees on both sides of the street gave it the name “Kastanienallee” which translates to Chestnut Avenue.
1837 At the northern end of the Kastanienallee was a resting place for wagons with a beer stand. This was the forerunner of the later known beer bar “Prater”. 1856 The Kastanienallee was being extended up to the today known Fehrbelliner Strasse. 1858 At the most southern boundary of the property, on the side a three-story high house was constructed. It’s the oldest part of the today’s buildings.
1862 The city council authorized to purchase the land and to build the Kastanienallee up to the Weinbergsweg: 297.5 “Quadrat-Ruthen” (4219.74 square meters) 4500 Taler (former German Silver coins) plus 1500 Taler for the enclosure along the street. 1863 Enactment to regulate the pavement of the Kastaneinalle from the Weinbergsweg up to the Schedterstrasse, cost 6500 Taler.
1865 The city council authorized the paving of the pedestrian walkway in extension of the Weinbergsweg. 1866 The house numbers were changed at Kastanienallee (40)65 and 41(66). In the middle of the 19th century at the southern part of the street there were only a few buildings. Maps from that time period show a building called the “Kurtzsche Haus” on the land where now the Kastanienhof Hotel can be found. That house was set back from the street in the middle of a large property that went all the way to the “Verlorener Weg” (Schwedter Strasse).
1865/66 On the premises two four-story houses were built. According to the papers of the fire insurance back then, a well with an iron level and a sewage pit were part of the estate, as long as the houses were not connected to the public drinking water supply and the drainage system (around 1877). 1876 Between Fehrbelliner Strasse und Schönhauser Allee 14 gas lanterns were installed. 1885 The pedestrian walkway in front of the premises of Kastanienallee 65+66 was bought for 10 Mark per square meter. The city took over the “pedestrian-walkway-regulation-costs”.
1886 to 1887 The pavement of the Kastanienallee was exchanged to accommodate the new horse pulled streetcar. 1889 to 1890 200 Trees were planted between Zionskirchstrasse and Schönhauser Allee. Costs: 15 Mark per tree. 1896 Towards the end of the 19th century the development of the Kastanienallee was concluded. Many stores, restaurants and bars moved there. In that time the modern horse pulled streetcar ran along the Kastanienallee. The ground floor of number 65/66 was occupied by a storage space, a watchmaker and a second hand store. In the courtyard one found a mail order business.
1913 17 years later the stores on the ground floor changed. Here one now found furniture stores, like so many others around the Zionskirchplatz (for example “Höffner” in the Veteranenstrasse). The Kastanienallee and its neighborhood became one of the most frequently visited parts of the city. One reason was that one could reach it by the new electric streetcars and had the choice of 6 lines. The building Kastanienalle 65/66 was sold by the legal heirs to a foundation. After that it had a few different owners. The grandparents of the current owners bought the building. At that time the first major renovation work was done, like moving the sanitary facilities from the courtyard inside the house. The 2nd World War had left many marks in the Kastanienallee, but the buildings 65/66 were still in pretty good shape. Right after the war the Russians confiscated the house number 66 to use as their headquarters. 1946 Die buildings were reconstructed. The first streetcar ran down the Kastanienallee again.
1947 The headquarters of the Russians were closed and both building were used for housing again.
1965 The GDR enforced a reconstruction where the stucco on the façade was replace by roughcast.
Around the hotel
The history of a street? That doesn’t sound very interesting. But the history of a city always takes place on its streets. In the Brunnenstrasse you can see how a sand desert was populated, how the poorest people settled close to it, how the citizens used it to get to their restaurants at the Gesundbrunnen.
Stories of Berlin Breweries
Since the middle of the 19th century breweries settled at the Prenzlauer Berg. One of the first was the Königsstadt AG Brewery in the Saarbrücker Strasse. Today it is an association of business. And another one was the former Schultheiss AG Brewery, today that is the Kulturbrauerei in the Knaakstrasse.
The structures underneath the streets of Prenzlauer Berg are a reflection of Berlin since 1850. They tell the story of the industrial revolution, of a thriving city with its modern technology, its working class, of the terror of the Nazis, the economic situation in the GDR and of today’s art and design scene. Guided tours through this “underworld” of the Prenzlauer Berg are organized by “Unter Berlin e.V.”
The history of public transportation
The city lay in ruins. 80 million tons of debris had to be removed. The tracks of the streetcars were heavily damaged. 95 % of the electrical poles couldn’t be used anymore and four of the train stations with a train depot were almost completely destroyed …