Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Thursday, January 27, 2011

1953 Flooding of MAAG Compound

I decided to take a "sabbatical from sabbatical" because of material sent my way from old friend Sarj Bloom.  These images of flooding after a 1953 typhoon are all in the archives of the ROC Government Information Office and can be found at this link.

What makes these of interest to regular readers of this blog is that they show the west compound (the Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) compound) in 1953.

The first photo appears to have been taken at the entrance to the west compound (facing out and to the northeast).   In the distance, to the left of the picture, you can see the roof of what appears to be the Story House, which is still there today.  I originally thought it might have been taken from the east compound, but I now think the angle of the Story House indicates otherwise.  All opposing views are welcome in the comments section.
I believe the next picture is facing outward from inside the west compound entrance toward Chung Shan North Road.
This picture was taken outside the MAAG compound entrance, where crews appear to be pumping water out of the compound.  Note the building slightly to the left in the distance.  It appears in the next photo as well.

This photo was taken further inside the gate, probably about where the chapel eventually stood to the left.  If you look straight ahead, you'll recognize that same cement sign that has shown up in many photographs of the west compound on this blog.  I believe the building to the left of that sign was the hospital in those days.


Victor said...

No exact dates on the photos. Yet according one of the serial photos, the flooding was caused by a typhoon. "When the Military Assistance and Advisory Group compound was flooded by a typhoon, ROC citizens and troops lent a hand."

Most likely it's Typhoon Nina, which hit Taiwan on Aug 16, 1953 and caused major flooding in northern and central Taiwan.

sarj said...

If in the first photo that is the Story House and the location has never changed then it seems to me that if this was indeed the west compound the cameraman had to be on the north end of the site looking NE. That would make sense? I still think maybe it was taken in the extreme north part of the East compound close to TDC and looking slightly NW towards the bridge. ??? Maybe the Story House was moved at one time? Anyway it's interesting.

George said...

I believe all photos were taken in the West Compound except for photo #1. As Sarg mentions, it seems likely that it was taken closer to the Story House facing northwest and somewhere just behind where the FASD Hostels were later built in the East Compound.

Don said...


As I mentioned to Sarj and Stev yesterday, I think what we need is a time machine so we can all go back to 1953 and look around to see where everything was located.

Maybe you could design one for us! ;-)


Scott said...

Gents, (Don W.)

I will order the MAAG Compound photo from GIO. AIT Cultural Section can get them. It is the birth our of presence in Taiwan. Plus, I will have it developed and put in the hallways of AIT's military section.


sarj said...

Man the first picture is still a mystery to me. The more I look at it the more I notice that it appears to be really close, to close to be taken from either compound. The only compound that could qualify would be the TDC compound, but it would have to have been larger at one time to be that close to the Story house. The mystery continues. Maybe someone from 1953 could tell us how the compounds were back then.