This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grass Mountain Hostel, Taipei,Taiwan

When the Japanese occupied Taiwan from 1895-1945, they built many resorts for their leisure. And they built the hostel in Yangmingshan to last. 

During the American presence it was called the Grass Mountain Hostel. Either way, imagine the many thousands who have used it over the centuries.

The whole complex now has nothing to do with being a place to live and sleep for travelers and service people.

According to the literature, since 1981, it has been known as the Taipei Teachers' In-Service Education Center. It's considered to be in the Beitou (Pei Tou) District of Taipei although it's just off YangMing Road.

There are many people who, through their pictures and individual efforts, have made this post possible. My contribution was to assemble these people's bodies of work and put them in some semblance of order.

The first person to thank is fellow blogger, Don Wiggins of ustdc.blogspot. If he hadn't posted references to the hostel in May 12, 2008 and July 18, 2008, that would have been it. Stev Pitchford is the first person to post photos in 2008.

His permission to use them was crucial. Then, Victor W. Cheng is to thank for contacting Miss Liangcw to gain permission to use her photos from her blog. Of course, a big thanks goes to Miss Liang for taking and posting her pictures. And then, there's Andy Savin, my friend.

With that, then, here is the Grass Mountain Hostel as it was then and now. 
To give some reference to the site, I chose DaHeng Road where our apartment was. About .25 miles north of it, the district and road name change. It's still a steep climb.
To the left is the turnoff which takes you on the back road to Pei Tou. Many GIs were familiar with this route where hotels and hot springs awaited. For those interested, it's now called YangTou Road.

Continuing through the village, we are almost there.
Here is the entrance to the education center.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

This statue stands just outside the entrance.

Photo courtesy of Stev Pitchford

This October, 1959 picture posted May 12, 2008 on ustdc.blogspot shows the hostel as many of us remember it.

Quite alone by itself, it housed many Stratcom Army personnel in 1968-69. The sulphur bath is to the left.
Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

Taken from a similar angle as the previous picture, the main entrance to the education center is shown in October, 2007. The landscaping is not the only thing that changed.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

The entrance was not this inviting in 1968.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

Moss often adds character.

Photo courtesy of liangcw/blog

The windows, eaves, soffit and fascia are well preserved.

Photo courtesy of Stev Pitchford

Here is the hostel in 1959 from another angle.
This photo is from the Yangmingshan National Park collection.  Hopefully this reference link will do. I tried to e-mail them to get permission to use this picture, but was unable to submit my request.

Since It is so similar to the previous picture the hope is that YMSNP will approve of its use on this blog. Otherwise, this picture will come down.

Photo by L. Andrew Savin Jr., August of 1969

Your host of this blog is shown here at the Grass Mountain Hostel's sulphur bath. About two minutes after Andy took this photo, I was under a shower, trying to remove as much of the sulphur smell as possible.

The presence of sulphur in Yangmingshan was so pervasive that it would make the chrome bumpers of our car rust.

With a large parking lot in front  it, the old hostel can be plainly seen. Surrounded by large complex, the building is just part of of a sizable teacher education center. 

1 comment:

  1. John,

    Thanks for the "then" and "now" summary of the Grass Mountain Hostel. The surroundings have changed a lot, but the building retains its character.

    The picture of you in the sulfur pool reminded me that some days it was so hot that after a soak I was so relaxed it was hard to walk. Then other days it was just lukewarm.

    Google Earth shows the swimming pool and basketball court in the park by the hostel are still there. Maybe you could entice your contacts to send you some "now" pictures of that area.