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Belvedere train station

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Belvedere House, view from the southeast, in April 2007

Belvedere Station (also: Haus Belvedere) is the former reception building of Müngersdorf Station, which was the terminus of the seven-kilometre railway line of the Rheinische Eisenbahngesellschaft from Cologne’s Am Thürmchen station to Müngersdorf, opened on 2 August 1839. The building in today’s Cologne district is the oldest station building in Germany that has been preserved in its original form.[1][2]

History

Drawing of the station from the first half of the 19th century

Photography of Belvedere Station (2021)

Station

The station was located at the terminus of the first section of the planned, world’s first international railway line Cologne-Aachen-Antwerp. The client for the construction, completed in 1839, was the Rhenish Railway Company. The reception building was situated on a hill at a short distance from the tracks with a view of Cologne and, as an inn, also accommodated excursion guests from Cologne. A text from the construction period of the line said: “The people of Müngersdorf, however, are looking forward to the construction because they will then see the people of Cologne arriving with the steam car. This is only a small beginning, but therefore no less welcome, because – all beginnings are difficult.”[3]

On 2 August 1839, the festive inauguration of the line from Cologne to Müngersdorf took place with a special trip for invited guests. The train from Cologne reached “in 10 minutes the Belvedere at Müngersdorf, which is a mile away, affords a beautiful view, and is newly and tastefully furnished”.[4] At the Müngersdorf station “a garden had been laid out and a small but splendid station building had been added, in which at the same time a restaurant was run”.[5] From 16 August of that year, six pairs of trains ran between Cologne and Müngersdorf on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and on Sundays there was an additional return journey from Müngersdorf in the evening.[6]

Sales, however, did not develop as hoped. “In the early days, the railway-loving public had diligently visited this strange place of amusement in the middle of the field, but soon the desire waned, and the rides no longer brought in enough to cover the costs”.[5] With the extension of the line to Aachen in 1840/41, the importance of the station declined further. It was closed down in the 19th century.

Re-use

Stumbling stone for Klara Stoffels in front of Belvedere station

The building came into the possession of the city of Cologne in 1892, which used it as a residential building. From 1935 until her arrest in 1943, Klara Stoffels, who was murdered by the National Socialist justice system in 1944, lived there. Since the 1950s, two artists lived and worked there. Since 1980, it has been listed under monument number 268 and is part of the Belvedere Landscape Park, for which it was named.

Since 2010, Belvedere Station was vacant and in need of major renovation.[7] In December 2010, the Förderkreis Bahnhof Belvedere e. V. was founded. , which organized the funds for the redevelopment, took over the building sponsorship for it and strives for a cultural use of the building.[8][9] At its meeting on 23 June 2015, the Cologne City Council voted unanimously in favour of the redevelopment of the historic Bahnhof Belvedere. The city transferred the building to the Förderkreis on a heritable building right basis and is contributing to the costs of renovation and expansion.[10] On 29 October 2018, the Förderkreis was awarded the German Prize for Monument Protection 2018, the Silver Hemisphere, for its services to the preservation of the building and its commitment.[11][12]

Belvedere Station is part of the Via Industrialis network in Cologne.[13]

Description

Natural monument group of plane trees

The plans for the building were probably made by the architect and city architect Johann Peter Weyer or – according to Walter Buschmann – by the Cologne city architect Matthias Biercher, who was a student of the Berlin Bauakademie and thus associated with the Schinkel School. The two-storey building, constructed in the classicist country house style, is today the oldest surviving railway station building in the German-speaking world and one of the few buildings of the Schinkel School in the Rhineland.[7] The plastered building with its conspicuously high windows is situated on the side above the railway line on Belvederestraße, named after the station. The middle section of the street-side façade has a balcony supported by volutes. On the garden side, a winter garden is followed by a terrace garden.

The property belonging to the house was placed under protection in 1991 as a protected landscape feature.[7] In the green area belonging to the house there are seven approx. 150 year old plane trees.

Literature

  • Alexander Kierdorf (ed.): Cologne. An Architectural Guide. Architectural Guide to Cologne. Reimer, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-496-01181-5.

Web links

Commons: House Belvedere– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Bahnhof Belvedere in the calendar of events of the city of Cologne
  2. Walter Buschmann, Alexander Kierdorf Cologne Belvedere Station. Rheinische Industriekultur e. V.
  3. Allgemeines Organ für Handel und Gewerbe, fifth volume, Cologne, 1839, p. 95.
  4. Friedrich Ev. von Mering, Ludwig Reischert ZurGeschichte der Stadt Köln am Rheine, dritter Band, Druck und Verlag von Joh. Wilh. Dietz, Köln 1839, p. 300.
  5. a b A. W. Beyse, Beiträge zum practischen Eisenbahnbau, printed and published by C. Macklot, Karlsruhe 1840, pp. 114-115.
  6. Allgemeines Organ für Handel und Gewerbe, fifth volume, Cologne 1839, p. 432.
  7. a b c Förderkreis Bahnhof Belvedere (ed.): Belvedere Station – a new future for Germany’s oldest station building. Information flyer. Förderkreis Bahnhof Belvedere e. V., Cologne o. J.
  8. End of the line Belvedere? In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Issue of 10 September 2011, p. 49.
  9. Lövenich im Brennpunkt e.V. – Magazine(Memento of the Originals of April 8, 2016 in the Internet Archive) Info:The archive linkwas inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check original and archive link according to instructions and then remove this notice.@1@2Template:Webachiv/IABot/www.loevenich-im-brennpunkt.de, p. 20, retrieved 21 December 2015.
  10. Redevelopment resolution of the City of Cologne from 2015 described on the website of the Förderkreis.
  11. German National Committee for Monument Protection (ed.): Deutscher Preis für Denkmalschutz 2018. Berlin 2018, p. 18f
  12. Prize winners 2018 on the homepage of the German National Committee for Monument Protection (currently not updated); retrieved 3 November 2018
  13. http://www.via-industrialis.de/seiten/routen/westen.html#belvedere

Coordinates 50° 56′ 49.5″ N, 6° 52′ 17.7″ E