Even before the destruction of the Second World War, the mediaeval town center of Duisburg had been reduced to an insignificant part of the city. It could hardly be said there was any thought of looking after the Altstadt. Duisburg's new standing as a forceful industrial city with the largest goods traffic in the world, took place during the last third of the 19th. century with a ferocity that little consideration was given to the historical assets that the town possessed. Even before the full-scale population boom occasioned by the Industrial Revolution hit Duisburg, the size of the population threatened to break free from its mediaeval confines. The first settlement outside the walls was adjacent to Kuhtor, from the 1820s onwards.
This led to the development of the east-west running Königstrasse and its continuation as the Mülheimer Straße, as well as Düsseldorf Straße running perpendicular to it in a southerly direction. This was later complemented by the region around the Königsplatz, since 1936 known as König-Heinrich-Platz, echoing the confidence of the middle-class.
The Königstraße was originally divided by a line of trees, the Schwedenallee, a name stemming from a delayed payment from Sweden for quartering of its troops in the area during the Wars of Liberation. This partly fell victim in 1880 to the building of a tramway leading from a hub at the Kuhtor. This tram was horse-drawn at first, later was known as »feuriger Elias« and then finally from 1897 was electrified. It connected Duisburg with Mülheim and Düsseldorf.
In 1905, the town erected the obligatory Bismarck Monumnet (on his 90th birthday) at the junction of König- and Düisseldorfer Straße. The 'Germaniadenkmal' commemorates the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. The day of Sedan, the 2nd. September, was made a day of National Rememberance and even today a Germania monument is absent from no German town. In Duisburg it is known as »Äppelfrau« (Apple Woman).
The merger with Ruhrort in 1904 required the improvemnet of road connections between the two towns and the construction of a road through the Altstadt leading to Mülheim via the Königstraße. This was brought about through the lengthening of the Münzstraße and several demolitions in the Altstadt (e.g. the family house of the Rath family fell victim to the project).