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

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mystery! Western Style Home Overlooks the Presidental Palace...

The photograph below, taken by George Lane in 1969,  has me scratching my head....

On the roof of the building that once housed many US Government offices in Taiwan, formally known as the 
"Union Building", sits,  what looks like a typical US style home. 

Just to the bottom left of this photo, resting on the roof of the "Union Building," is a white structure which looks 
just like an American style home complete with a sliding patio door.

An older photo of the "Union Building" taken from the corner driveway of the Ministry of National Defense Building, 
later called the Presidential Palace.   Photo courtesy Taiwan GIO.

A corner shot of the "Union Building"  Next building, US MAAG Taiwan Headquarters in the 1950s.  
Photo courtesy of Taiwan GIO.

Another photo of the "Union Building," straight ahead with two flags.  Old MAAG Taiwan Headquarters building on right side of this photo.  Photo courtesy Alice Winans 1952.

According to records, US Aid (other than military) to Taiwan was curtailed in 1965, and, one would assume the US offices that once resided in the Union Building, became vacant.

Between 1965 and 1969,  Bank of Taiwan moved one of their departments into the "Union Building."

The building has since been taken town, along with the old MAAG Taiwan Headquarters, both buildings are gone today. 

The question remains, why was that white colored home on the roof of the old "Union Building?"  Who occupied it, what was it used for?

Can we solve this mystery?

Your ideas - please leave a Comment below.


Charles said...

Long time reader, first time commenting here. Great blog!

I was an American student in Taiwan in the late 70s, so this was a bit before my time there. But, here's my guess on the mystery house.

Many flat-roof buildings in Taipei during that time had additional structures built on their roof. These "shacks" were often built to look like "ordinary" houses. They were then rented out by whoever owned the roof of the building giving the owner additional rental income. This was also a way to increase living space in an already crowded city.

These rooftop buildings were, of course, illegal and dangerous as they would not stand up well to typhoons! (I had friends who lived in one such rooftop house and they came to stay with me whenever a typhoon came; rattling walls and such scared the jeepers out of them)

Normally, I would say that my guess is wrong as this was a building used by the U.S. government and the U.S. would not be condoning such an unsafe structure; however, if this building was not longer occupied by the U.S. government, perhaps, the "night watchman" and his family built it for their own use, thereby, saving them from paying rent elsewhere.

As I was never in that bulding nor do I know anyone connected with it, this is just a guess on my part; and certainly, others will know more than I do.

Thanks for all you blog about - please keep up the good work - it really is a great trip down memory lane!

Hawkseye said...

These illegal rooftop structures still exist all over the place today as well. I'm not sure if any new ones are ever built nowadays, but the old ones haven't been pulled down. Everybody knows they're there, but the powers that be just turn a blind eye...!

George said...

That is funny. But I never noticed that roof top house in my picture and certainly didn't notice it when I took that picture. Anyone know where I was standing to get that shot?

Marc said...

Well, I live in Taipei now in one of those rooftop structures and it's solid as all the other apartments. I've been in a lot of the add-ons and some of them are more makeshift than others. Some of them are really nice "penthouses".

Great pics on your blog! I was seeking images of the 1957 embassy incident.