The destruction of Cologne during WWII was devastating. Some jocularly view even the reconstruction of the city as its second demolition. But for me there are a lot of stories to tell about change and transition from the process of reconstruction. The Williamsbau tells one of those stories.
The Williamsbau was a provisional event center between 1947 and 1955. In the beginning it was used as the winter quarters of the Circus Williams, but due to the lack of suitable alternatives, they used to hold a great variety of events there: political events, concerts (e.g. Louis Armstrong), boxing matches and of course all sorts of events related to carnival.
According to legend, is was this specific building where circus director Carola Williams handed over a goat to the 1. FC Köln. This goat peed on the player Hennes Weißweiler. Since then, and until the end of time, all mascots of the city’s soccer club are (and shall be) goats named Hennes.
In 1955 the event center gave way to a park — the Carola-Williams-Park — and a monument to remind us of the Williamsbau. Standing there and imagining a huge event center and all the buzz gives me a special understanding of this city’s history and the changes Cologne went through.