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, 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


  1. John,

    Thanks for the article. I have visited most, if not all of the establishments mentioned. I had an apartment about 2 blocks east of the American and Florida bakeries during my 63-64 tour. At that time, the Sea Dragon Club was known as the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Club. The FRA is an organization for Navy enlisted personnel similar to the American Legion. My recollection is that the FRA Club was closed due issues with having to pay Taiwan tax because of the new Status of Forces agreement between the US and Republic of China governments. Previously, the FRA Club was exempt. However, the closing was at an opportune time for the military authorities to establish the Vietnam R&R center at that location, and become the Sea Dragon Club.

    You mentioned that the Tatung company was a Japanese company. I believe Tatung was owned by a Taiwanese family since its beginning.

    I really appreciate your articles about the "good old days" in Taipei.

    As it has been over 50 years since the events I am recalling here, don't hold me to 100 per cent accuracy.


    John Quinn

  2. John, I count on you, Kent, Don, Dawgflight, and Victor Cheng to keep the blog within the boundaries of truth! We all have fading memories and need more guys to send pictures and memories. John