THE STORY OF BERLIN " KONRADSHÖHE "

( in english = Conradsheights, a suburb of the City of Berlin )

By: Peter von Pazatka Lipinsky

" Nothing wagered, nothing gained " must have been the motto of the Berliner master copper smith Theodor Rhomann. In the year 1865, Theodor Rhomann purchased 20 acres of heather land from the farmer Lemke in the area of the uninhabited hinterland , about 1/2 mile south of the village of Heiligensee. The area where the land was located was sandy, overgrown with heather and was known as the " Hühnerstücken ". It was not suitable for agriculture of any kind. Farmer Lemke was happy that he was able to sell the land for 1000 Prussian Thalers.

On November 22. 1865, Theodor Rhomann applied to the Berliner Landesamt / Land Titles office / for a permit to build a house, barn and work shop, including a stone wall for around the buildings. The building permit was however not granted , on account that Theodor Rhoman's blueprints for the buildings did not meet the fire department's regulation and building code. Besides that, there was some opposition from the people of the village of Heiligensee. The people were concerned about the local police not being able to police this new developed area and also to prevent possible expansion. Above all this, farmer Lemke was still waiting to get paid for the land.

Th. Rhomann completely disregarded the fact that the building permit had been denied and started to build in November anyway. The mayor's office in the village of Heiligensee reported this immediately to the district commissioner Mr. Scharnweber, that 3 bricklayers had started to work at Rhomann's place without a building permit. The report also mentioned, that Rhomann had instructed the bricklayers to keep on working and that everything was in order. Even a immediately issued fine of 50 Prussian Thalers did not deter Rhomann from continuing to build. 3 years later, the building permit was granted by the district office in Spandau. By then however, all buildings had already been completed for some time.

Theodor Rhomann house

This is the house that Theodor Rohmann built in 1865,
without getting a building permit.

My maternal grandmother Minna Alma
Elise Rohmann was born in this house November 12, 1883.

Rhomann named his place " Conrads-Höhe " / " Conrads Height's ", after his son Conrad. In 1874 a boiler room and a 20 meter high chimney was added to the property. Rhoman now called his place " Dampfwerk für Eiserne Verschraubungen und Apperatringe " /" Steamworks for Iron Works etc ". Theodor Rhomann managed to keep this little manufacturing plant going for the next 25 years. In 1891, Rhomann remodeled the boiler room and the copper smith shop and converted the area into a restaurant. The old barn was also remodeled and became the kitchen.

The story goes, that people going for a leisurely walk through the woods down to the " Havel " river, had to cross Rhomann's property to get to the river.. Rhomann made these trespassers pay the equivalent of a glass of beer, a few pennies, which the people gladly paid. Even way back then, there used to be a saying : " A Berliner need's 3 things to be happy:"" Water, Sun and Beer ".

The restaurant was named " Konradshöher Terrassen ", and later re-named " Feengrotte " / Fairygrotto ". In the meantime, the surrounding area was developed, new home were build and the suburb of " Konradshöhe " came into being. The " Feengrotte " was demolished in 1979 and the property was re-zoned and re-developed for attractive family homes. From the old Rhomann residence, there is still today a part of the old stone wall and entrance gate left, which is now under the protection of the Berliner Historical Society.Today, this old gate serves as a reminder of a once strong willed enterprising Berliner and thanks to him, we have today " Konradshöhe ".

In memory of my maternal Great-Grandfather:

AUGUST, FRIEDRICH, THEODOR RHOMANN 1828 - 1902

The map of Konradshöhe: