Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Return to Taiwan Tour 2011 - On the Bus - Day 3 - The Sun Sets

On our last post, we were on the bus, driving out of the Marble Factory.

A short distance down Highway 9, we came across a small museum which was the headquarters of a Farm Co-op of some sort.
There were a number of large displays of old equipment and items used by farmers in days past.

Old Japanese style bicycles on display; how most of the farmers traveled back in the day.    

I recently watched an episode of the TV show, "American Restoration" where someone  brought in an old Japanese bicycle to be restored.  
If my memory serves me right, it cost the man $1,000.00 for the restoration. 

From seed to fruits and vegetables ready for market, the bicycle was the only means of transportation for most farmers.

In later years, many farmers were able to move into newer forms of transportation.

These displays were on the second floor.

A good part of the first floor was a retail store offering bags of every type of preserved fruit and nuts grown on Taiwan. I sampled a number of fruits, they were excellent.  We purchased a few bags for snacks.

Just outside the building, a Carp pond.  These fellows are hungry.

We left the museum and drove south toward Hualien.

The photo of this sign didn't turn out well. 

Here are the words on the sign. (Emphasis below is mine)

The "Pine Garden", built between 1943 and 1944, used to be the office of the "Naval  Administration".  That site, the neighboring "Broadcast Bureau" (built on May 1, 1944, current  site of Broadcasting Corporation of China, [BCC], Hualien Station) and the "Coastal Broadcasting Station" (Long Distance Telecommunications Bureau), were recognized as significant features on Meilun Mountains, along with dense pinewoods.  The Pine Garden was a recreational retreat for ranking military officials during the Japanese rule.  It was said that the site was where the Japanese air fighters were stationed beside South Airport or Peinu Airport, ready for their suicide assignments.  South Airport is close to Kuanghua Industrial Zone and Pulp Mill today.

In the later stages of WWII, the Japanese government took this site as a key military command center.  This was because it was in the estuary of Meilun Creek, overlooking the entire Meilun Creek estuary, Hualien Harbor and the Pacific.  While at the site, they could easily dominate the boats of the sea and airplanes landing and taking off at South Airport.

This site was taken over by the Republic of China government in the wake of the end of WWII under the charge of the Headquarters of the Army in 1947.  Subsequently, it was the vacation resort of the American armed forces until the United States quit.  It was taken over by National Property Bureau in 1977 and was put under management by the Vocational Advisory Commission for Retired Servicemen of the Cabinet in the ensuing year. In 1996, the Vocational Advisory Commission for Retired Servicemen once considered selling the site for"hotel construction" but tailed because of a protest from the local community people.  On July13, 2000, Hualien County Government officially classified it a "Special Historic Attraction Zone".  On December 20, 2001, it was officially recognized as one of "Taiwan Top 100 Historic Charms".

Two interesting points:

Used as an "R&R" retreat for Japanese Pilots before their suicide assignments.

After the war, used as a "vacation resort" for the US Military.

I've not run across anything to substantiate either point....  

It's close to dusk, this photo, looks south, southwest.  

A small run of the Meilun Creek can be seen along the stone wall above.

Looking toward the Pacific. 

Back in the day, Pine Hill would have clearly overlooked all of this area. 

 A closer look toward the red harbor light and the Meilun Creek as it empties into the Pacific.

This photo taken just to right of the photo above.  A cargo ship is leaving the port.

You can understand why the Japanese liked this position overlooking Hualien.

It's just about dark, you can see the lights of Hualien's downtown area in the background.

It's time to head back to our hotel.

What a day!  The grandeur of Taroko, the beauty of the mountains, our Aborigine food lunch, the Marble Factory, the museum and finally, the old Pine Garden, which is running over with history.  

A wonderful day.

 As we walk out to our bus, a last photo of the Pine Garden Barracks.

So much history here, but little, if any, saved.  
Tomorrow, we head southward into more of the beautiful country side of Taiwan.

See you tomorrow.

Photos used throughout these posts of our, Return to Taiwan Trip, were furnished by Ted and Ann, Gene and Twan and myself.  



titojohn said...

Kent, Again great pictures and descriptions. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Used as an "R&R" retreat for Japanese Pilots before their suicide assignments. This was were they had their comfort women and Jappanese sake before their kamikaze flights.

After the war, used as a "vacation resort" for the US Military. Their is not any documentation of this ever happening. I think if the Viet-nam war would have continued there were plans to make this a R & R loction.