The skeleton still remains of Berlin’s department store past.

Today the shop Poco at Hallesches Tor is a shabby sight to see, but once it shone brightly in the Berlin night.

Originally built as the Hamburger department store on Belle-Alliance Straße (Today Mehringdamm) the Building was built in Ornate Wilhelminian design, and saw many royal processions pass from the marching field at Tempelhof to the city centre. It attracted the middle class occupants of the Kreuzberg area near the Belle-Alliance Platz. A rich diverse people located at the end of the north south road of Friedrichstraße they had money to spend.

Hamburger Kaufhaus
Hamburger Kaufhaus with Prussian Troops

As many Berlin’s did, they chose to do their shopping in one of the many department stores of the city. From Karstadt at Hermannplatz, to KaDeWe in Berlin’s West, or at the Hamburger Department store on their doorstep at Hallesches Tor.

In the early twenties the store passed into Hermann Tietz ownership with the facade being simplified and expanded. Even though the ornate objects of the Wilhelminian Berlin were gone the building was still grand. With a facade of light it attracted people to buy the wares within.

Then came the Second World War and like much of Berlin was destroyed during the bombing raid of February 3rd 1945, yet due to its modern construction methods the framework survived. The glass was broken, the walls were potmarked with bullet halls but the skeletal remains of Berlin’s department store past still stood.

The building was revived as a Hertie (Her(mann) Tie(tz) and a new even more simplified facade was built. However, with the removal of the tram tracks outside and the reworking of the street plans, the old Belle-Alliance Straße no longer running in front, it no longer enjoyed the prominent position it once commanded. With a lacklustre update of the facade, the building came into the hands of the budget home furnishings store Poco. But underneath the beauty of the old store still remains. Its structure is still there waiting for one day to be revived to its former glory.

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