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Hemei 和美

Daodong Academy 道東書院

Daodong Academy, Hemei
In the forecourt of Daodong Academy 道東書院, Héměi 和美, founded in 1857.

Dàodōng Academy 道東書院 is one of many Qing dynasty era academies scattered across central and southern Taiwan 台灣. Located in Héměi 和美 in Changhua 彰化, it was built in 1857, the 7th year of the Xianfeng Emperor 咸豐帝 (清咸豐七年), and operated as a private school devoted to classic Chinese literature, philosophy, and ethics, among other subjects. Commonly known to locals as Wéncí 文祠 or Wénmiào 文廟, or “temple of literature”, the academy also venerates Song dynasty scholar Zhū Xī 朱熹 and Kuí Xīng 奎星, the god of examinations.

An Old Home in Rural Hemei 和美老屋

The front of an old home in rural Hemei
A beautiful home hidden in the overgrowth at the side of the highway in rural Hemei.

I went out riding through Héměi 和美 not so long ago, drawn by the allure of a mysterious building that I will write about sometime soon. On the return trip I noticed this old home peeking out of the woods at the side of Zhāngxīn Road 彰新路, better known as highway 139. I don’t stop every time I see the signs of abandonment—for I would never get anywhere at all in rural Taiwan if I did so—but this place seemed worth a look. After pushing through the overgrowth I was impressed by the classical beauty of the stonework and inscriptions on the outside of the building.