Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Saturday, July 26, 2008

American Village

These from Sarj from around Christmas of 1962:

The place was called American Village and it was on the road to Grass Mountain, but before the road turned north. I think that at one time it may have had a guard house and gate. I chose this place because it was where most American families lived at the time.
Another reason for the back yard photo was to remind us of how the houses and compounds in those days had broken glass embedded in the mortar on top of the surrounding walls. This was one of my first impressions that I wrote home about. Notice the insert that shows the glass. Not a good photo, but all I seem to be able to find.
I hope that somone can respond to the Village and maybe the school near there. Was it an American school? I can't remember.

The backyard at American Village and the neighbor's kids' swing set.

Insert showing broken glass pieces embedded in top of wall -- very common in those days.
This was the school yard area.

This was the front of our house in American Village. This is where I really learned about earthquakes. One hit while I was inside one day and I thought the ceiling would come down so I ran outside and then it looked like the telephone pole would fall and hit me. So I stayed in the doorway, which I found out later was the recommended place to stay.


Misty said...

Glass on the walls was a consequence of the increased crime that arrived with the KMT/Mainlanders from '45 onwards. It was hell for the birds, monkeys and other small creatures.

I'd love to be able to say that I know where this place is but I've no idea.

You say the road the Grass mountain. Before it started up the hill or after that?

Don said...

Around that same time, I was a young airman stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. One day another guy and I caught a hop on a C-47 from Kadena to Taipei and spent a couple of days there.

More than anything else, I remember those shards of broken glass stuck in mortar on the tops of walls all over town. When I returned about ten years later, much of it was still there.

I wrote about crime in Taipei several months ago, saying that I never feared for my personal safety while I was there, but the possibility of having something stolen was always there.


sarj said...

American Village was west of TDC over the bridge and then due west for only a few miles as I remember it. It was well before you headed north and up the mountain. It was on flat land that flooded and I seem to remember even crossing a railroad track before entering. Entering straight you would go to the school turning left you would go to the housing that was also surrounded by ,as you can see, Chinese housing and buildings. I know someone out there has to remember this place from that time, because almost all married American families lived there.

Anonymous said...

Is this the place you were talking about?

Misty said...

I think it is probably illegal to glass walls now, but also there are far fewer private houses. It wasn't just glass either, nails and barbed wire were common also. I got one of those nails through my hand once, purely by accident, and ended up down the Navy Hospital to receive a tetanus. It hurt more than the nail.

Tienmu glass circa 1976:

Misty said...

I just looked at the link 'anon; posted and that is the BOT housing up on Grass Mountain that was built for US Advisors/Servicemen in the '50s. So it's not the same as the place Sarj is refering to, which from his directions must have been in Shilin. Also, the train ran through Shilin and it used to flood all the time because of the old river course. However, it has changed a lot.

Find a big school in Shilin and you'll probably have your location.

sarj said...
this place by anonymous is not the place. There was another place near Tien Mou that also housed american bamilies. Maybe this was the other place. American village was row houses two stories.

sarj said...

Misty.........I agree it must have been Shilin, but I imagine it is all covered over now. Maybe someday a photo of the place will show up.
thanks for trying to locate it everyone.sqegjw

Anonymous said...


We lived among Americans in the Bank of Taiwan housing in Tien Mu.
You went thru Shilin, then onto Road 1 in Tien Mu.

Just past the bowling alley/swimming pool you could go all the way to the top of Road 1 where there was a Police Station and a local bus terminus. Off to your left from the Police Station was the BOT housing, each complete with a Japanese built bomb shelter in the yard.

Jim Sartor

sarj said...

Jim......thanks for responding but I think that the place you describe is farther away. I did have a married friend who lived up in that area. I believe my American Village was still down in the flood plain, before you went up to Tein Mou.