|• Mayor||Jochen Kirsch (SPD)|
|• Total||16.60 km2 (6.41 sq mi)|
|Elevation||40 m (130 ft)|
|• Density||690/km2 (1,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
The town is situated between the lakes Dämeritzsee, a part of the river Spree, and Flakensee, surrounded by a mainly forested landscape. Neighbouring municipalities are Woltersdorf in the north, Grünheide (Mark) in the east, Gosen-Neu Zittau in the south and Berlin in the west.
In 1579, Erkner was first mentioned in the Rüdersdorf church records as "Arckenow", a fishermen's place of residence („Mittwoch s post Convers, Pauli hat Hans der Fischer im Arckenow taufen lassen Und ist genant Maria.“). This field name developed to Erkenau-Erkener-Erkner. Until 1701 the settlement only grew up to seven houses.
This changed in 1712, when a coaching inn for the new Post road from Berlin to Frankfurt (Oder) was built. As of 1748, three Palatine farming families settled "on the Buchhorst" (a locality within Erkner). Later they moved their homesteads to the present-day Buchhorster Straße. One of those homesteads now houses the Heimatmuseum (local history museum) with Erkner's oldest house.
In 1752, Prussian king Friedrich II installed a Mulberry plantation with 1,500 trees, of which only one is still standing in today's Friedrichstraße.
The village grew up to 260 inhabitants in 1805. At this time Erkner was a barge-men's village with several localities: „The Erkner“, Neu Buchhorst, Schönschornstein, Alte Hausstelle, Hohenbinde, Jägerbude and until 1884 Woltersdorfer Schleuse. Settled along the waterways between the rivers Oder, Spree, Havel and Elbe, the mass transports of lime, coal and other materials from the limestone mine in nearby Rüdersdorf to Berlin and from the industrial areas of Silesia to Berlin respectively. In 1822, two thirds of the families had a barge-men as head of the household. Supported also by five wharfs in the village, this profession continued to be important for Erkner until the end of the 19th century.
In 1842, the Berlin-Frankfurt Railway opened with a stop in Erkner, which was upgraded to a railway station the following year due to the huge reception by Berlin excursionists. Since 1846, this railway connects Berlin via Erkner with Breslau and thereby two important industrial areas of Prussia.
The industrialisation of Erkner began in 1860 with the founding of the first Continental European tar destillation by Julius Rütgers. In 1909, the world's first industrialised production of Plastics (Bakelite) began on his premises in cooperation with Leo Baekeland. On May 25, 1910 the Bakelite Gesellschaft m.b.H. Berlin-Erkner (Link to German Wikipedia) was founded here. A few months later, on October 10, Baekeland founded the General Bakelite Company in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
From 1885-1889 the German writer Gerhard Hauptmann has lived in Erkner. His three sons were born in this time. In 1888, the town officially adopted the name Erkner. The Catholic parish St. Boniface Erkner was founded in 1910.
Culture and Sights
- Gerhart-Hauptmann-Museum, hosting a permanent exhibition about the life and work of Gerhart Hauptmann (writer and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature), and a research library.
- Heimatmuseum, local history museum with a permanent exhibition about the history of Erkner and since 2008 hosting an additional exhibition about the town's industrial development.
- Protestant Genezareth Church (built 1896, destroyed March 8, 1944, rebuilt 1945-46)
- Catholic St. Boniface Church (built 1932, destroyed March 8, 1944, rebuilt 1949)
- New Apostolic Church (built 1996)
- Memorial to all victims of fascism, war and tyranny on the corner of Neu-Zittauer Straße and Hohenbinder Weg.
- Erkner.de Official website (English)
Media related to Erkner at Wikimedia Commons