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.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

West Side Story; Taipei, Taiwan, Late 1960s

Using the west side of Chung Shan North Road, going south, you would eventually come upon a narrow alley which led back to the rear entrance of the Sea Dragon Club.  

Unless you were headed to the group of buildings known as Sugar Daddy Row, there would be little reason to use the west side of Chung Shan to walk to the south.  

However, Fu Shun Street was also on the west side which proved to be quite a great attraction for men on R and R as well as those stationed in and around Taipei.

Photo by Jack Hornbeck; courtesy of taipeiairstation,

This is a clever angle Jack took advantage of while standing on a traffic island and shooting south, toward the King's Hotel, seen in the distance.

There were many access roads which allowed cabs to drop people off and not be concerned about being hit by the heavy traffic.  

Looking at the picture above, Jack was standing almost parallel to the Sea Dragon Club located just about to his right.   

Note the gas station sign and the Ice Cream ad on the building.

Photo by S. Callas,; courtesy of

Taken from the east side of Chung Shan, this photo shows just the minor part of the gas station across the street.

Not only is the area of the old gas station shown in this picture, but new buildings constructed by the Tatung Corporation show the company's expanded presence.

This is the present day view of the gas station site on the west side of Chung Shan.  It is actually good sized area.  

Assuming that the first picture in this post was taken next to the front of the Sea Dragon Club, we see the back of the place as it appeared in 1969.  

This alley was back of the Sea Dragon Club and proceeded south and emptied onto Fu Shun Street.  

To follow Kent Mathieu's adventure to discover the old Sea Dragon site. click HERE.

Continuing Kent's stroll, which includes a new Burger King, click HERE.

Finally, ending up at the corner, click HERE.

Following the alley in the present day, the Tatung Corporation's new buildings dominate the area back of the old alley.  

This path stops at the intersection of Fu Shun Street and Chung Shan North Road. 

Whether this building has been around as long as its sign says is doubtful. However, its bright orange facade serves as  a point of reference.

From the east side of the road looking north, the orange building on the corner can  be  seen. 

From there on south is an uninterrupted string of commercial buildings.

Compare this last Google  Earth picture with the first picture in this post. Can you pick out the old King's Hotel location?


Photo courtesy of Marvin Faulkner

Does anyone else remember a free-standing ice cream parlor on the west side of Chung Shan North Road?  It was sort of set back from the other commercial establishments.  

It had an American name such as Baskin and Robbins or some other chain.  It seemed strange that it would be in the middle of Taipei.  

I am not sure exactly where it was located, but my guess is that it was not too far south of the West Compound.  

I am almost certain that it was not Foremost. Maybe the business was further south. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Bakery, A Bakery, A Bar, A Bar, Taipei Taiwan Late 1960s

There were 2 main paths to the "Golden Intersection" of Miin Chuan East/West Roads and Chung Shan North Road. 

For men on R and R during the Vietnam War, this row of buildings led south to the northeast corner of the above named intersection.  

This was the most heavily followed route since the east side was the more  commercial and interesting side.

The other route was right across Chung Shan on the west side.  It was a very different side when the sun went down.

The Sea Dragon Club was also on the west side, but most of the walkway was rather dark as Tatung Company of Taiwan owned much of the real estate. 
Photo by Jack Hornbeck; courtesy of

For Kent Mathieu, the main attraction in this picture is the American Bakery right on the corner.  Most of us don't remember this bakery, but do recall the Florida Bakery right beside it. Today, the American Bakery is  a 7-Eleven.

The Florida Bakery still exists and has expanded southward.  Looking to the south of the bakeries, we can easily see the OK and Suzie Wong Bars which were landmarks themselves. 

Photo courtesy of Scott Ellinger

A later picture of this corner shows The Florida Bakery and the OK and Suzie Wong Bars south of  the bakery.

It seems innocent enough, but the photo was taken during the day. The Diamond Hotel  was located on Nong An Street.

Photo by Mike Hime; courtesy of

Here is the same intersection at night when the atmosphere  of downtown Taipei changed.

Places you may not have noticed during daytime were brought into focus because of the neon lights.

The bus from Shu Linkou Air Station pulled onto Nong Ann Street and unloaded Airmen by the bakery.

These young men scattered and served as unofficial ambassadors of America. I am told they did a terrific job.

Map from Bill Martin; courtesy of

Most men on R and R in  Taipei were given maps similar to this one to acquaint them with the legitimate bars and their locations.

Other landmarks were indicated in case someone  became disoriented.

This map was used in this posting as it shows the Sea Dragon Club---the R and R center from 1967-1972. 

List from Doug Price; courtesy of taipeiairstation blog and

Here is why we need you men to keep sending pictures and memorabilia from your days in Taiwan

This list was sent to Kent Mathieu in 2014. I believe it was never published before. 

Don''t worry--either TAS blog, or TSA blog will post your contribution and we are here to borrow each others' stuff for publishing.


From Pacific Stars and Stripes, 1969              

 Most of the bars and clubs had business cards. One of the most amusing is HERE   Thanks to T. Yearnshaw for the card, courtesy of

Hotel list from 1973 Taiwan Report; courtesy of Don Wiggins,

Every  now and then, the government would publish a brochure explaining the lifestyle military members and their families might expect in Taiwan.  

Don Wiggins kept a copy of each one of these in his blog.  My understanding is that the 1973 report was the last one published.  

Since the Vietnam War was winding down, the number of servicemen assigned to Taiwan decreased significantly by this date.  

The main hotels recommended for tourists and military families who were waiting for permanent housing are shown above.  

This photo is not current, but nonetheless, the American Bakery is now a 7-Eleven and the Florida Bakery has expanded, which would mean that the OK and Suzie Wong Bars are now just south of the Florida Bakery.

News dispatch courtesy of John Quinn   

So now, we have an exact date as to when flights from Vietnam stopped coming to Taipei. Very seldom do we get exact dates for things of this nature which makes this important.   

Follow Kent Mathieu's walking tour from Starbucks (Northwest Orient building) north to the Florida Bakery.  Notice the old Kings Hotel in the background.  View YouTube HERE