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 15, 2010

Our Yangmingshan Apartment, Taipei, Taiwan, 1968-69

There was fresh air, lower heat and humidity, cool winters and views that were sometimes astounding.

Having an apartment within the Grass Mountain community was a treat. There weren't that many of them available.

We latched onto a broker who showed us ours and the deal was approved by the housing authority in the West Compound.

We moved into the place in August of 1968, and left in August of 1969.

Sometimes a good picture is accidentally taken. Given that our camera was a fixed-lense Kodak, this picture still looks good. Here you see the DaHeng Road community in Yangmingshan.

Taken from the main road going to the Grass Mountain work site, this photo is one of my favorites. Our apartment building is the one that is the third one from the far left end.

With the help of Google Earth, this is the best picture that could be gotten from the new road. The DaHeng Road community is still visible.

Most of the good views were in the 1960s, when the roads were shaky and the peril was greater.

Guess which apartment was ours?

LTC Scott Ellinger took the time to shoot this photo in 2011. Our old apartment is the black one on the third floor with the closed-in balcony.

LTC Ellinger also used a little photo magic to place then and now pictures side-by-side.

Here is the view from our balcony at the end of DaHeng Road, looking toward the main road.

Back in 1968-69, many military families lived here as well as diplomats and the staff from AFNT after it relocated to Yangmingshan. 

A gate protects DaHeng Road today. 
Our old apartment is not in view. 

Mr. Chen again provides an excellent photo of the DaHeng Road community. The apartment would be to the left of this picture.

There weren't too many multi-story buildings here during our tour of duty.

It took some doing when first trying to find the place. Our lease read "Ta Heng Road." Fooling around with the spelling finally got this view.

Frankly we were surprised that the apartments were still standing. The electrical, water, plumbing and sewage methods were pretty basic.

The Landis Resort is just north of the entrance to DaHeng.

Initially, the incorrect apartment building was circled.

We then found some other pictures which confirmed the exact building.

There is a huge drop-off behind the apartment complex. A large ceramic pipe was used to gather all the water and sewage coming from the complex and deposit it over and down the hill.

The light green house across from us had a huge circular concrete drive with a fountain in the middle and a well-manicured golf hole.

To give you some perspective of where we lived  relative to the Yangmingshan community, look about .5 miles north to the former Grass Mountain Hostel.

Just .3 miles south of us is the main entrance to the Chinese Culture University.

Back in 1968, it was the Chinese Culture College, and it was a relatively small commuter school. The buses ran on time.

Again, there is a straight line from DaHeng Road to the Grass Mountain work site. The line is .7 miles long.

To drive this distance would be about 1.5 miles


  1. John,
    Sorry I haven't been able to take a picture of the location of the Grass Mountain facility yet. (I live in Taiwan but not in Taipei.) A 1969 satellite photo of Yangmingshan is recently posted in Don's USTDC blog.
    In the red square area of the satellite photo,
    I believe the red circle is your apt and the yellow circle is the Grass Mountain facility in the following image?

  2. 25.13818,121.558764

    John, this is the lat/long for Taipei Signal Station. The buildings are all there.

    Scott Ellinger

  3. According to Scott's coordidate, I circled the location in purple in the 1969 satellite photo.
    And the following image is from Google Maps.
    So the buildings are still standing there after all these years?

  4. Victor,
    Yes,our apartment is the one circled in red. One of the previous pictures showed the third floor location on DaHeng Road. Any chance you could send to me JPEGs of the Taipei Teacher Education In-service Complex? It is the old Grass Mountain Hostel. I have seen it on your website, but can't download. John

  5. Victor,
    How can I reach you on your website? John

  6. John,
    I believe you were referring to the photos you saw on Don's website? FYI.
    And I've sent you a mail. -Victor

  7. The Threads and Chains continue. There have been reunions on the facebook group Yangmingshan US Military Housing Come Back to Grass Mountain 陽明山美軍眷舍群回到草山 (YUSMH), and now I plan to put together an album for former US residents of the DaHeng Road Residential Area (two current members of the YUSMH group also lived there). Thank you John!

  8. Rory-----------
    It was a very multi-cultural and interesting complex. It was a stroke of luck that we had the apartment.-

  9. I lived in #4, Lane 9, DaHeng Rd from June 67 to June 69, while a soph and junior at TAS. My dad was with a DOD procurement agent and my mom was secretary to Vice Adm Chew and BG DesPortes. LTC Bill Mee and his wife Marta lived in those apts at the same time and were great friends of my folks (and me). Warm memories of that time and place!