In June 2022, I was at Berlin again, for five weeks. Berlin is my mother town. I explored some corners off the beaten tracks. So far, we have looked at the Rüdesheimer Platz at Steglitz and at the Fichtenberg.
The Bäke is our next topic. The Bäke is a creek that has its source at the Fichtenberg. Bäke meant “Bach” or “creek” in medieval Low German (see Wille, p. 45).
Before the year 1900, the Bäke meandered forming wild, largely impassable wetlands, 250 meters wide. The natural reserve Bäketal at Kleinmachnow shows, what the Bäke wetlands once might have looked like. Impassable, indeed.
After having meandered for about 20km, the Bäke joined the river Havel near Potsdam.
Around 1900, the Bäke wetlands the Teltow Channel was built and took over the bed of the Bäke. However, some marks of the Bäke are left.
Overview: The tracks of the Bäke from the source, along the Teltow Channel and up to the Havel near Potsdam
At the Fichtenberg, the Bäke has its source, under the ground (dotted red line). The Bäke shows up above the ground in the Bäke park (solid red line) and “disappears” in the Teltow Channel (again dotted line)The Bäke continues to live in the names of streets, bridges, parks, meadows and buildings, as indicated on the map.
The Teltow Channel was inaugurated in 1906. Ernst von Stubenrauch managed the construction. His objectives were to create a navigable water channel, to provide drainage for the rapidly growing settlements south of Berlin, to dry the wetlands to allow further settlement and to set the basis for further economic development of the Teltow district. By the way, the name “Teltow Channel” is based on the second name for the Bäke, which was “Telte”.
We will follow the tracks of the Bäke and investigate the area, now up to the Bäkestrasse/brücke, later from Kleinmachnow to the Havel near Potsdam.
The Bäke emerges at the Fichtenberg, I cannot find the source
The source of the Bäke is below the platform on the right hand side of the photo; however, I cannot find the source.
Does the trough in the meadow indicate the former bed of the Bäke?
Looking downhill from the same spot, I can see this trough continue.
I do not know, whether the Bäke is under the meadow here or whether the start has completely dried out.
The Bäke underground
The Bäke is said to continue under the Zeunepromenade steeply leading down to Steglitz (I look uphill here).
This path is called after Johann August Zeune who founded his school for blind and visually impaired people in 1806.
In 1914, Betty Hirsch initiated education for people that turned blind in the war, together with Paul Zille, as the plate next to her and her dog explains.
The Bäke fed a pond surrounding the neoclassical Wrangel castle; the pond has disappeared (Seeger/Zimmermann, p. 89).
Field marshal Wrangel set up his summer residence in the Wrangel castle in 1853. The Steglitz station of the new train from Potsdam to Berlin became busier and busier, and Wrangel asked it to be closed to stop all that noise. The station was reopened in 1869, when Wrangel stopped staying at his castle regularly (Seeger/Zimmermann, p. 89). The annexe of the Wrangel Castle is now a small theatre (Schlosspark Theater) with an excellent reputation.
Across the castle, the street is called “Am Bäkequell” or “at the source of the Bäke”.
The Bäke is still under the ground here. It crosses the suburban train (S-Bahn) and continues under the Oberlinweg.
Behind the suburban train, there once was a comfortable swimming pool of 900 square meters, with a restaurant, a park and a bowling alley. The owner Pantzier replaced the water supply from the then dirty Bäke by water from the Berlin channel system; he deemed hygiene to be important. The swimming pool has disappeared today; the last remaining buildings were pulled down in the 1960’s (Seeger/Zimmermann, p. 91f).
The Bäke shows up in the Bäke Park
The Bäke Park is a green reserve.
Under the bridge of the Haydnstrasse, the Bäke appears from under the ground.
It is not a beautiful place, not at all worthy for the old faithful Bäke.
Strictly tamed, it flows in a narrow channel through the Bäkepark. This small creek once fed wetlands 250 meters wide?
At the end of the Bäke Park, the Bäke is “allowed” to spread out as a pond.
As a matter of fact, this pond is a collecting tank to control the amount of water that the Bäke feeds into the Teltow Channel after heavy rainfall (Bernstengel, p. 60).
The Bäke taken over by the Teltow Channel
The Bäke Park and the open flow of the Bäke end at the Teltow Channel. The Teltow Channel, starting at Köpenick, seems to “swallow” the Bäke here.
Across is the Port of Steglitz. It is a “leftover” of the Bäke that made a wide turn to the west here; this eased the construction of the port. Around the port, there were a powerstation and storage place for coal. Now there is a museum about the production and distribution of electricity (Bernstengel, p. 58).
I follow the Teltow Channel, pass the Bäke Bridge and end my walk at Emil-Schulz-Brücke, as it starts to rain heavily.
I take the bus back home.
Let us continue looking for marks of the Bäke at Kleinmachnow in the following blog.
- Kurt Pomplun, “Berlin und kein Ende», Berliner Kaleidoskop Band 26, Verlag Bruno Hessling Berlin 1977
- «In Berlin zu Hause», B History, das Berliner Geschichtsmagazin, Nr 4/2022
- Olaf Seeger und Burkhard Zimmermann, «Steglitzer Geschichte(n), Berliner Reminiszenzen No 56, Haude & Spenzer, Berlin 1985
- Klaus Dieter Wille, “Spaziergänge I Steglitz”, Berliner Reminiszenzen No 60, Haude & Spenzer, Berlin 1989
- Rolf Bernstengel, “Wege am Wasser: Der Teltowkanal. Fünf Spaziergänge zwischen Glienicker Brücke und Grünau”, Verlag Pharus Plan, Berlin 2021.
- Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten of 25.09.2019 (https://www.pnn.de/potsdam-mittelmark/sanierung-in-kleinmachnow-historische-baekemuehle-wird-zur-arztpraxis/25052004.html)
- Albrechts Teerofen – wikipedia entry (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albrechts_Teerofen)
- Parforce Jagd – wikipedia entry https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parforcejagd
- Kohlhasenbrück – wikipedia entry https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlhasenbr%C3%BCck, also explains the nature reserve “Bäkewiese”
- Wanderung “rund um Berlin” https://my-sportblog-berlin.me/2020/11/15/wanderung-rund-um-berlin-etappe-3-suedwest-by-antje-waldschmidt/
- Homepage of Potsdam https://www.potsdam.de/content/klein-glienicke-1
- Wikipedia entry for Schloss Glienicke https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Glienicke
- Landesdenkmalamt Berlin https://www.berlin.de/landesdenkmalamt/welterbe/welterbestaetten/schloesser-und-gaerten-von-potsdam-und-berlin/schloss-klein-glienicke-und-schlosspark-654452.php