I have recently come across a reference to a town or city in Taiwan, in the early 1960’s. I do not know which town or city it is, except that it is not Taipei. Can anyone help?
Nanking Road is a red-light district. On one side there is the “Sun, Moon, and Stars Brothel.” Across the street is the “hard white intricate frontage” of the “Temple of a Thousand Gods.”
Palace Street is in a harbor area, with docked junks. (A river flows into the sea.) References are made to a harbor wall and harbor steps, and to heaps of salt sitting along the side, waiting to be shoveled onto sampans. There is a one-story Palace Hotel, a radio station, and a Western Bar (which serves a primarily foreign clientele).
In between is a restaurant called the Golden Chopsticks, frequented by airmen from a U.S. airbase.
Atop a hill is a red-brick Catholic church.
The railway station may have a “glass roof.”
A nearby airfield has regular flights to Quemoy.
In the evening there is a breeze from the Taiwan Strait.
A short drive away is Sunset Rock, a red sandstone peak near sulferous springs.
So, where is this place? Danshui, perhaps…?
It could be somewhere in Kaohsiung.
Sounds like Tainan, though I have never been to Tainan (over a decade in TW too), but my guess is it is Tainan.
I think riceworm is right. There is a Nanjing Rd. in K-town but not in Tainan.
Doesn’t sound like any historical Tainan I’m familiar with. Could be wrong, but I’ve read a lot of Tainan city historical doc’s and none of this, road names, etc. fits into the scene. Although, Tainan Airfield was a prominent U.S. Airfield at one time.
Interesting quiz. I like it.
“Atop a hill” and “A short drive away is Sunset Rock, a red sandstone peak” make me think of Kaohsiung (which has hills by the ocean) rather than Tainan (wich is quite flat). But are there sulfurous springs near Kaohsiung?
Kaohsiung station has a partially glass roof (and was built before the 1960s). There is a red brick Catholic church in Lingya (I think it’s Lingya anyway), and Sunset Rock is in Pingdong (qualifies as a short drive). I think the sulphur bit may be in error - it’s the only thing that doesn’t fit with Kaohsiung.
The salt and hills make it sound like it’s in the south, while the church and sulfur hot spring makes it sound like it’s in the north. Supposedly sulfurous hot springs are only found in the north and on Green Island.
Can you provide the passage where this town was mentioned? Maybe there will be more clues in it. I take it this town was mentioned in something you read, not from a person so you don’t have someone who can confirm old photographs or anything? Because it would be easy enough to round up some photos of old train stations.
I would say Tainan as the salt reference and especially the American soldier presence…in the sixties, the Americans had a secret air force base in the central mountain range, they had some nukes there and used it as a first strike base to Vietnam and as a backup to the Japanese bases for China. I have met many US engineers that worked in that area and said that Tainan, next to Bangkok, was a good place to go for some ‘comfort’ during the Vietnam conflict.
Thanks everybody! To summarize:
*“Sunset Rock” is apparently a known spot in Pingdong County. (What’s its Chinese name?)
*Kaohsiung has both a Nanking Road, a glass-roofed railway station, and a red-bricked Catholic church (St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church at Lingya, built 1961).
*The river, harbor, and salt are consistent with Kaohsiung.
Yes, this is from an old text which is unfortunately not readable on the internet. I’ve had to summarize details which are spread all over the text. (I’ll double-check the part about sulferous springs.) No photographs, sorry.
Can anybody identify a “Palace Street” (apparently in the harbor area) and “Palace Hotel”?
And what about the Temple of a Thousand (or more likely, Ten Thousand) Gods? Does Kaohsiung’s Nanking Road have a Wan Shen Miao?
A part of me still wonders if this might not be the area around Songshan, in Taipei (along the river). Or Danshui… Would the mounds of salt rule that out?
First of all is the reference in a novel or a work of journalism or history? It could simply be made up or a composite of many places, or simply wrongly remembered.