In the aftermath of WW2 most of Berlin’s houses and industry stood in ruins. The debris that had piled up on the roads had to be moved out of the city to make space for new buildings. The area the Teufelsberg is found today used to be level ground with a military building in its place. What started as a temporary dumpsite quickly became Berlin’s largest artificial hill. During a period of 22 years up to 800 lorries emptied 7000 cubic metres of rubble daily, resulting in a total of 26 million cubic metres.
In 1972 the last lorry was emptied. In an effort to recultivate the area an estimated one million trees were planted. Through the construction of a cable lift, ski slopes and a ski jumping hill the senate hoped to establish a new winter resort for west berlin to compensate for the lost one in the east, which had been called Teufelsberg.
At the same time the US realised the potential of the position and size of the new hill and built one of its largest listening stations on top. Initially only a temporary installation monitored the air travel between Berlin and the BRD. The NSA however quickly realised the potential and constructed the five antenna domes which could listen into the eastern block.
At the request of US government, the ski lifts were removed because they allegedly disturbed the signals. The station continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall.
In the 1990s, a group of investors bought the former listening station area from the City of Berlin with the intention to build hotels and apartments. Some foundations were constructed. However, due to political pressure from local residents and environmentalists the development had to be stopped and the area has since been left abandoned.