On the Edge of the Changhua Railway Village 彰化台鐵宿舍村

An abandoned apartment block near the entrance to the old railway workers’ village.

Featured here are a handful of photos and some notes from an incomplete exploration of the Changhua Railway Village 彰化台鐵宿舍村 (pinyin: Táitiě Sùshè Cūn) just across the street from the amazing Changhua Roundhouse 彰化扇形車庫 in . While living there in the winter of 2014–2015 I made several lazy attempts to gain access to the more interesting and historic parts of the old village without success (mainly due to all the wild dogs around). The only part of the village I was able to explore were some of the newer residential buildings on the edge of the block—which have much less aesthetic and historic value. That being said, since I’ve recently been filling in some archival content from my time in Changhua’s capital I decided to share these photos as well. This is not a full exploration by any means—so if I ever get around to seeing the rest of the old village I’ll be sure to update this post.

In Search of Salt on the Outskirts of Lukang

A mysterious brick building on the outskirts of Lukang.

Several months ago, after researching and writing a piece about the Qingkunshen Fan-Shaped Saltern 青鯤鯓扇形鹽田 of , I ventured out to in search of the Lukang Saltworks 鹿港鹽場, a saltern that shut down in the 1960s. Whereas there are several good resources outlining the history of I found nothing similar for anything north of the Zhuóshuǐ River 濁水溪, the traditional dividing line between north and south . Turning to Google Maps I browsed satellite imagery for evidence of salt evaporation ponds (here is a historic photo of one of Lukang’s salt fields to give you an idea of what I was looking for). I soon noticed a street by the name of Yánchéng Lane 鹽埕巷, literally “Salt Yard Lane”, as well as several sites with grid-like structures obscured by overgrowth. When the opportunity arose to borrow a scooter in the area I jumped at the chance to put this cartographic sleuthing to the test. Was there any chance I’d find some relic of an industry that vanished half a century ago?

Traces of an Army Maintenance Depot

A distinctive logo on the gateway to a former army logistics maintenance depot near Taipei 101.

is now one of the most expensive and upscale parts of but it hasn’t always been that way. Decades ago it was an undesirable area on the edge of the city with a significant military-industrial presence, traces of which still remain if you know where to look. The open expanse of parks and parking lots around the intersection of Xìn’ān Street 信安街 and Wúxìng Street 吳興街 immediately to the west of Taipei Medical University 臺北醫學大學 is one such trace.

The Remains of Dawu Theater 大武戲院

Looks like an abandoned warehouse but this is actually the former Dawu Theater.

I stumbled upon the remains of Dawu Theater 大武戲院 while on a bicycle tour of southern Taiwan in 2015. Located in the small coastal settlement of , , it was in operation from 1969 to 1983. Taitung was home to 36 theaters in the cinematic heyday of the 1960s and 70s, all of which are now abandoned or destroyed. Hardly anything remains after three decades of exposure that would identify Dawu Theater apart from a small sign in the antechamber.

Have You Seen Him

A series of stickers referencing the events of the Sunflower Student Movement.

Today I wandered by the former American embassy, now the Spot Taipei Film House 光點台北電影院 in , and noticed this series of stickers on the electrical transformers across the lane. In bold lettering it says: HAVE YOU SEEN HIM. I wondered what it meant—and it seems I’m not the only one. Turns out the man in the photograph was one of the police officers involved in evicting people from the Executive Yuan 行政院 in the early mornings hours of March 24th, 2014, during the Sunflower Student Movement. He was caught on camera beating protesters and, when student leaders demanded the police identify the officer, they initially claimed to not know his name or whereabouts. Later it was revealed that the officer was not even relieved of duty in the aftermath of that violent night.

Jiangling New Village 江陵新村

Into the rewilding lands beyond the busy city streets.

Jiānglíng New Village 江陵新村 was one of more than 800 military dependents’ village in before its ultimate destruction in mid-2015. It was formerly located not far from the confluence of Jingmei River 景美溪 and Xindian River 新店溪 just outside city limits in the northern part of . Immediately to the south is an active military base of some kind—and the historic Jingmei Prison can be found on the opposite side of the nearest major intersection.

Daily Needs in the Next World

An unusual form of joss paper in a small shrine in Taichung.

Spend any amount of time in and you’ll invariably see people burning ghost money, more generally known as joss paper in English and zhǐqián 紙錢 in Chinese. Pictured here is a particular kind of joss paper known as jīngyī 經衣, which features iconographic representations of the everyday goods spirits are likely to use in their daily lives. This batch is emblazoned with clothing, hats, shoes, combs, mirrors, scissors, cigarettes, matches, and various modes of transportation among other things I can’t reliably identify. The idea here is that you can burn this paper and these goods will be sent to the next world—and ghosts lingering in the area, their material needs met, will be more kindly disposed to the living. Ironically, burning joss paper is not exactly good for anyone’s health , nor is it environmentally-friendly to say the least.

A Vintage Barber in Hsinchu

An old school barber shop in the back alleys of Hsinchu.

Yesterday I went wandering around to capture more of its old school charm. Along the way I snapped a quick photo of a vintage barber shop around the corner from the historic Hsinchu Zhǎnghé Temple 新竹長和宮 that proved to be surprisingly popular. Located at 26 Àiwén Street 愛文街26號, this is Wényǎ Barber Shop 文雅理髮店 (with Wenya meaning “elegant” or “refined”) and Míngzhū Beauty Salon 明珠美容院 (“pearl”). The building itself is rather odd, sandwiched between traditional courtyard homes and newly built residences, looking very much like a place out of time. The man inside the shop is even reading a newspaper!

Peering Into A Sports Center in Hsinchu City

A distant view of the formerly sheltered bleachers at the Hsinchu City Public Activity Center.

Today I made a brief stop in while returning from to my current abode in . One of my targets for this little stopover was the former Hsinchu City Public Activity Center 新竹市民眾活動中心, something I only found out about because I’ve been following the Taiwan Ruins Research 台灣廢墟研究 group. Somebody (and I regret not taking note of whom) posted several photos from within the old activity center in recent weeks, noting that the city was finally starting to do something about this old space, which has spent at least the better part of the last decade acting as a “temporary” parking lot.

Taichung First Credit Union 台中第一信用合作社

In front of the abandoned Taichung First Credit Union.

Taichung First Credit Union 台中第一信用合作社 is a post-war bank located in . According to this blog it was abandoned in 2001. Last week I went to go take a quick look while surveying the many historic buildings in the area. There were construction workers setting up in front and there were no other points of entry so I did not gain access. Even so, from a quick look inside the place appears to have been cleared out—and they might even be preparing to renovate the building for one reason or another.