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.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hotels Opening from 1969-1971, Taipei, Taiwan

Toward the end of our tour of duty in August of 1969, several hotels had been built and were just months from opening.

Two others were just breaking ground and would be open for use within the next couple of years.

Photo by R. Lentz; courtesy of

Located south of the King's Hotel at the right of this picture, the Central Hotel with the revolving restaurant on the top floor can easily be seen.

When we took pictures from the restaurant in August of 1969, the hotel was not open but was near the end of construction.

We simply climbed to the top and into the restaurant which was shaped like a flying saucer. We were neither stopped nor questioned.

From that angle, we had an excellent view from which to take some photos. 

Looking north and east off Chung Shan North Road are two hotels which were also being completed in this August 1969 photo.

This vantage point of the Central Hotel restaurant had an excellent angle to view the Hotel New Asia and the Olympic Hotel which are side-by-side.

Also, notice the 3 smaller buildings which are contiguous to the left (north) of the Olympic Hotel.

At the southeast corner of the Chung Shan/Min Chuan intersection, you can see the construction of what would be the Majestic Hotel in just its beginning stages. 

From the same angle as before, the camera was tilted up so that the entire intersection and northerly direction of Chung Shan North (ZhongShan) can be shown.

Also, the picture shows the area of Taipei all the way to the north toward Yangmingshan. I'll bet most of us didn't realize how much of a dogleg right the road took.

On the northeast corner of the intersection, the office of Northwest Orient Airlines can be seen.

The final picture taken from the Central Hotel restaurant was the area directly south. Is that the Ambassador Hotel on the far left side?

Photo by M. Wagner; courtesy of

This is a great picture as very seldom can you get to see the methods of construction in Taipei during that decade.

Not only was the scaffolding used during the building of the Majestic Hotel fashioned from bamboo, but bamboo was used to cover the edifice during and after work was completed.

I was told that the bamboo cover kept the direct rays of the sun from curing the poured concrete too quickly. The covering might remain for months.

Photo by Don Price; courtesy of

Here is the handsome facade of the Majestic Hotel as it appeared sometime during 1970-71.

Notice the columns as they appear at ground level.

The 3 buildings between the Majestic and the Olympic can be seen easily.

Photo by Jim Valkwitch; courtesy of

Another photo of the Majestic Hotel is shown here.

Perhaps a branch of the First Commercial Bank was always part of the building.

Here is the former Majestic Hotel building as it appears today. The entire edifice is now The Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank Limited.

With the 1990 purchase of the Majestic Hotel, the second largest privately owned bank in Taiwan had its Taipei headquarters on Min Chun (MinQuan) East Road.

The ground level columns can be seen as well as the 3 adjacent buildings proceeding south.

The fronts of the old Olympic and New Asia Hotels can also be viewed. 

A night view of the bank and surroundings

A Google Earth Street View is looking northeast on ZhongShan North Road.

The Hotel New Asia is now the K Hotel. The old Olympic Hotel is vacant in this 2006 picture.

The 3 buildings south of the Shanghai Bank building are still standing as well.

Photo by Les Duffin; courtesy of 02/06/2010

As the Majestic Hotel was being built further south on Chung Shan North Road, construction on the Roma Hotel shown here was concurrent.

It stood at the northeast corner of Chung Shan North Road and Min Tsu (Minzu) East Road. This might be a 1972 photo.

The above building which once was the Roma Hotel still stands at the location described.

Taken in 2006, the building's facade shown here is much different than it is today.

It was remodeled for the 2011 floral exhibit and the facade changed as did the interior.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Taipei Hotels In The Late 1960s

Of the hotels listed on the 2 pages you'll see, almost all have been demolished. Most were adequate for that time. A few could even considered outstanding back then.

Many military families stayed at one of the downtown hotels until their housing was ready.

These two pages come from a small booklet that was first printed in 1966 and updated a year later.

All that could be found for some of the hotels mentioned are luggage tags or stickers.

This is the cover of the booklet from which many pages have been scanned.

Page One

Still standing at its original location is the Ambassador Hotel.

Photo courtest of

The Ambassador Hotel today

Photo courtesy of

Hotel China

Bag Tag image courtesy of

The Diamond Hotel has been demolished. This is the present-day picture of the NongAn Street entrance as it appears from across Chung Shan (Zhongshan) North Road.

Notice the Florida Bakery on the right. There is a stoplight here as well.

The blue blob is the former location of the Diamond Hotel.

Photo courtesy of

The First Hotel on Nanking East Road is still operational.

A 3-Star hotel at best, most reviews are negative.

Luggage Tag Image courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

There is no certainty as to when this picture of the Grand Hotel was taken. It was, and still is, quite the show place.

Click on this picture to get a great angle of the Grand Hotel today.

The entrance today is shown using Google Earth Street View.

Luggage Tag Image courtesy of

If there was one hotel whose location was known to almost everyone who lived or visited Taipei, it was the King's.

On the southwest corner of the Chung Shan/Min Chuan intersection, it was a place where many folks would meet to begin an evening of entertainment.

This shows you how few of us at that time strayed much from the Chung Shan (Zhongshan) North Road and its intersection with Min Chuan (MinQuan.)

The Mandarin was a luxury hotel for those times. Many formal events were held there. As for many of us at the Grass Mountain outpost, the Mandarin was unknown. 

Photo courtesy of

Located just south of Taipei International, the Mandarin was a conveniently located hotel.

Page Two

Luggage Tag Image courtesy of

Photo by Les Duffin; Courtesy of

The Oasis Hotel was located on the east side of Chung Shan North Road.

It was so close to the Min Chuan intersection, that it was designated as being on Section 2 of Chung Shan.

Everything to the north of this area and south of the Keelung bridge near USTDC was described as located on Section 3 of the road. 

Luggage Tag Image courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The President Hotel was unique. Built in the middle of a commercial area, it was a luxury hotel and very easy to find as it towered over everything near it.

Located near the East Compound, it looked brand new to us arriving in 1968.

Photo courtesy of

As the years went by, the hotel purchased more land around it and the street was widened.

A friend of mine stayed there on a 1986 business trip. Does anyone know when it was demolished?

This is DeHui Street as it looks today. There was no stoplight back then.

You just turned onto DeHui from Chung Shan North Road and hoped for the best.

Finally, this was the exact street and number of the President Hotel.

A large office building stands today at its former location. 

Luggage Tag Image courtesy of

This nightclub page is pictured since four of the eight listed were inside hotels shown here.

Obviously, the author never visited the 77 Club!

Photo courtesy of

Standing at the time, but not included on the hotel page is the Imperial Hotel. It was also off-limits to servicemen on R and R.

At its same location as back then, The Imperial Hotel is rated a 4-star and still stands on the west side of LinSen North Road.

 1973 Taiwan Report; courtesy of Don Wiggins,

This update shows the new hotels that had opened by 1973, but include the most popular ones still in use.

Strangely, the Majestic Mansion Hotel is not mentioned.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The King's Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan

Before we could move into our apartment on Grass Mountain, we needed a place to live. The King's Hotel ended up as our choice since it was close to everything and was reasonably priced. 

Our room had no windows and was probably a partition from a suite. The wall between us and the next room was very thin. Interesting conversations came through that wall.

The Signal Compound was very close and a short taxi ride would take you to it. From there, the bus would take us up and down from the work site.

We stayed there for about 4 days until housing gave the thumbs up for renting.

Everyone seemingly has a picture of the King's on their Taiwan blog or website. Here's mine.

You can almost see the stoplight which was the only one around. On the morning after my wife arrived, a taxi picked me up and proceeded east on Min Chuan Road.

The only problem was that we had the red light and the driver ignored it. The car was smashed in the middle of the intersection by oncoming traffic.

No injuries were incurred, so I hopped into another cab which proceeded east to LinSen North Road where the Signal Compound and the bus awaited.


Here's the King's Hotel as it looked in 2006. It was refurbished and converted into the BEST one-stop-shop for all of a bride's needs.

This is the punch list for repairs to our apartment. It was thorough, but several items were not caught.

A few electrical outlets were dead. There were no fuses or circuit breakers in the electrical panel. So, off came the plate covering the outlet.

Yes, this is a bobby pin.

At the bottom of the outlet were additional screws on each side of the fixture.

On the dead ones, there was a melted piece of solder connecting the 2 screws. One on the hot side and one on neutral.

It was actually quite clever. If the electrical circuit became overheated, the solder melted and the circuit was broken and a fire was avoided.

So, the electricity wasn't flowing. This is where the bobby pin came into play.

I just pryed apart the pin and connected each end to a screw, and the circuit was restored. No meltdown here!

That's the way they stayed for a year. Maybe that's why we were surprised that the apartment complex was still standing in 2010. Probably, someone eventually caught my solution.

From the King's to LinSen North Road was a distance of about .2 miles or 350 yards.

Turning left (north) onto LinSen North Road, the Signal Compound was about .4 miles straight ahead.

This is the intersection of LinSen North and Min Tsu (MinZu) East Roads.

The white building in the background is approximately where the STRATCOM headquarters entrance was.

This picture still amazes me. Anyone who served there knows that Min Tsu East Road was lightly traveled. Just 2 lanes wide, the street traffic was slow moving.

Photo by Ted Baxter; courtesy, 12/04/2010

Of all the pictures I've seen of the Signal Compound, this is one of the few that is recognizable.

The barbershop and Mr. Loo's East Compound Tailors are both seen here.

The arrangement of the main STRATCOM building, motor pool, Navy barracks, Chinese Army barracks and mess hall are really fuzzy in my memory. Later maps don't help.