Thursday, January 02, 2014


Wednesday was a fitting day. My close friend Andrew Kerslake of Taiwan in Cycles had his first ride after recovering from a long period of problems, and what could be better than a flat ride through some local history? Drew took me over to a mansion from the 1930s built for a local landlord (his post from a while back with historical data). The building is now a minor historical site and is in a state of complete ruin. He said you used to be able to go upstairs but it is sealed off now. The site is surrounded by ugly modern cookie cutter buildings, sadly.

Location of mansion on southwest side of Taichung city, not far from the HSR station (Google link).

The courtyard looking towards the gate.

The veranda.

Vintage wallpaper?

The house is old enough that trees have sprouted in one of the outer rooms.

Mud bricks were used to construct it. They were faced with....

...a mixture of rice husks.

Guests once greeted in the finest style.

Perhaps they stayed in a room like this

Strolled about the veranda.

Read the latest calendars...

...and newspapers.

Drew studies a window.

Old wooden ceilings on the second floor.

We rode off to another set of old buildings in southwest Taichung, where I've visited before.

The settlement here dates from the 18th century though the houses are probably younger. It's near where Liming Road and Huanzhong Road intersect. You'll see a large temple to the west, turn onto the alley near there.

There are plenty of older buildings.

And some pretty nice old Sanheyuan houses.

You never know what treasures are out there waiting for you...

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


A nanotizen said...

What happened to the descendants of the landlord of the mansion in your pics? What happened to the ownership?

And the rice husk mixed mud, it was called 觀音土 by Cantonese, no idea how Taiwanese call it. It was a pretty common mixture to seal the walls, and actually very useful. But after western materials like plaster were introduced, it is just part of history now.

Anonymous said...

This post makes me happy. Thanks for the pics.

NONE said...

Here is some info on the house:

John Scott said...

Fascinating to see the ornamental details and also the close-ups of the construction techniques.

While wandering, I have happened upon so many places like this one, often a mere 100 meters off a busy road. Often it was a forgotten and abandoned house a couple of blocks from a famous tourist destination, as in the AnPing district of Tainan, or near DiHua (medicine) street in Taipei. You see these places that have been unused and forgotten for decades, that were obviously unusually fine structures when new, that some family had invested considerable sums of money to build. Ever seen The Mayor's House, in NeiHu?

From what I could gather, the interest in historic structures in Taiwan (other than the traditionally important sites) is a fairly recent phenomenon, as in the last 10 years. Old is just... old. The reason you can still see houses like this still standing is due only to a series of coincidences. The house wouldn't be there now, if the family had found some profitable use for that land.

If this one has gotten some kind of historic designation, then I'd be curious what's going to happen to a place like this. It's not safe for people to go inside. No city or county govt. is going to pay for restoration, partly because it can't really be restored, due to the fact that it really wasn't built to last a century, with the mud bricks and plaster to cover the thin wood/bamboo lath in the ceilings and walls. Anyway, historic designations aren't really any obstacle to developers who want to remove structures, are they?

Jonathan Benda said...

Was that mansion called 淨園? If so, Linda and I took wedding pictures there back in 1997. If not, have you ever seen/heard of 淨園?

Sir Loin of Beef said...

I'm planning to go there next week. Do you know if it's still standing? Google maps shows only one red building left.

Michael Turton said...

It's undoubtedly still there, but it's only one building shoe horned into that space