Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Typhoon Gloria - 1963

Sarj Bloom has provided photos of Typhoon Gloria on two previous occasions. He's recently been digging through some old negatives and has come up with a few more. As I wrote earlier, Gloria was the largest typhoon ever recorded on Taiwan by 1963, though there have been larger ones since then. He writes:
[In this first shot] my wife and I walked from where we lived up Canal Rd. to see what happened to TDC. Canal Rd. starts at Chung Shan N. Rd. and follows the river down, then bends to the south and joins Nan King E. Rd. We lived right off Canal and a block north of Nan King. As Canal heads North it turns northwest to meet the river. This shot is looking back SW toward Nan King E. Rd. because in the background you can see the back of First Hotel. I'm very sure of this and it makes sense the way the road goes. This is the first day after the typhoon that anyone could get out. On our way we also saw AF General Sanborn walking in civvies, heading the other way. You couldn't miss him; he was a big man.

I really got excited when I scanned this last negative, because at once I said, "Man that is Club 63!" I'm very sure of that because I remember they had just built a pool enclosure of sorts which you can see on the ground. It's been a long time and some things don't register with me, but this one sure did.


Anonymous said...

Interesting to see that Club 69 was originally a one story building. It must have been extended to a second floor some time in the '60s. The area by the pool today is a bar/restaurant and the wall has been knocked through so the restaurant continues outside.

ldeese said...

My wife Joni and I along with out close friends Ron and Rose Amon, our upstairs neighbors and two dogs rode out Typhoon Gloria in a second floor apartment (there was no 3rd floor!) during the 3 days that Gloria ravaged Taipei. The apartment was only some 200 yards from the Chilung River. The river was still within its banks at 6 a.m. the morning of the typhoon but by 8 a.m. it was in our apartment and rising. Joni was 8.5 months pregnant and Rose was a full 9 months. We began the typhoon in our downstair apartment with all our valuables stored in areas several feet off the floor but ended up with nearly 7 feet of water so all that was to no avail. The water was rising so we quickly grabbed up all the food and booze in the house and evacuated to the upstairs apartment. Within hours we'd lost power, water and plumbing -- no toilets working. 2 pregnant women,the couple who rented the apartment, our 2 dogs and only one non-working commode. Men could whiz off the balcony but the women had to suffer through an ever filling commode situation. The afternoon of the 2nd day a neighbor several apartments down crawled across the roof and brought us a table top hibatchi wo that we could cook up any remaining refrigerated food so that it wouldn't spoil so quickly. We managed to eat, drink and laugh at our situation. We were in our early 20s and knew we were invincible -- even as the water crept within 3 steps of our upstairs apartment! On the 3rd day Ron and I waded out, chest high, to higher ground. Had a hot meal of fried rice of all things and eventually brought a couple of pedicabs back to take our wives and dogs to a cheap hotel we'd found that was still dry -- the Lion Hotel on Canal Road. It was old and musty but dry. The next day the Air Force put us up in a 3 or 4 star hotel on Nanking Rd. where we stayed for a month or so while looking for a new place to live. We were working straight swings and trying to get re-settled during the day. The only good thing was the P.X. and Embassy Shop both got flooded and products were on sale cheap. Top shelf booze for a fraction of the original cheap embassy shop price. The P.X. was more of a challenge because people who hadn't suffered flooding lined up early and snatched up most of the better items. It was an interesting and even amusing time, looking back, but, had I known then what I know now (after Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina), I might have been more concerned for our safety. Typhoon Gloria, Taipei Taiwan, Sept. 1963 -- a time that those of us who were there will always remember.

Luther Deese

Daddysgirl said...

I was just a kid when I went through Typhoon Glorida. It was just me and my Mom. We lived on Grass Mountain. The first house on the right up on the hill above the playground. My Dad was gone at the time the storm struck. Rumored to be in Viet Nam. My Mom and I battened down the hatches and, filled the bathtub up with water. It was suggested that my Mom take the car down to the infirmary where it would be safe. My Mom declined in case we had to evacuate she wanted the car at the house. With no lights, no Dad, no running water, we weathered the storm together. My Mom remembered waiting in the very long lines to get the high quality liquor that couldn't be sold. She remember having to soak it in bleach before it could even be opened. What a storm Gloria was.

Theresa said...

Definitely left a mark on my mind. I was 7 at the time, my parents and my sister just arrived here. Dad was in the Army, he was up on the mountain taking care of communications. We were staying in the Green Garden Hotel. Lucky enough to be on the 2nd floor. The first floor was completely under water and creeping up to the second. We had candles stuck in soda cans for light. Worse memory was cockroaches in the bathroom. Freaked us all out.

Ed Harvey said...

I was 12 when Typhoon Gloria hit. We lived in Tienmu and my father was the Administrator of the Naval Hospital which was about 1 mile from our house. The Commander of the Hospital lived on Grass Mountain. My Dad was able to keep in contact with him via phone from our home but he had to drive to the hospital to make sure all was fine. He would then drive home and relay any needs to the Commander. The storm set on the island for 3 days and the destruction was unbelievable. Afterwards we went to Taipei American School to help salvage any books from the library. We then spread them out on our lawn to dry. Those books were used by students for years, covered with mud and who knows what germs. A few days later on the 29th I turned 13, no party, no presents and no pleasant memories. The Naval Exchange was closed and so was the Commissary. We were all on our own, making things work in any way we could. We were a Navy family and we made it work. No help was coming and we knew it. I am still waiting for my FEMA check! (little joke) Imagine that, Americans were resilient and capable of taking care of themselves….what has happen to our nation!