residents of Taichung will be able to recall the days when
the Central District was the busiest part of the city.
Taichung City Hall>Taichung
City Transportation Bureau Office>Testing
Center(Min Sheng Road)>Taichung
City Police 1st Precinct Headquarters (intersection
of Min Sheng Road and San Min Road)>Taichung
City Council Building (intersection of Min Chuan
Road and San Min Road) >
entrance to Second Market>
2, Lane 116, San Min Road, section 2 (Historic Wang
Home) > Dr. Ho's
Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic>
Hao Hua Theater >
Taichung Park lake pavilion
then, San Min Road and Min Chuan Road vied for the title
of "Taichung's First Street" and Tzu You Road
was the city's economic and recreational center with Taichung
Park, Changhua Bank and Cooperative Bank (originally Taichung
State Library). In fact, many essential goods and services--such
as food, clothing, housing and transportation--could all
be found within a one-kilometer radius of the train station.
This was the commercial heart of the city and the birth
place of Taichung's economy.
a stretch of historic buildings along Tzu You and San
Min roads is the best place to catch a glimpse of Taichung's
past. Even after a century of change these old buildings
and roads retain their unique charm. Led by Professor
Lai Chih-chang, this author and a group of people equally
fond of this area began a walking tour from Taichung State
Hall (now the Taichung City Hall), to delve into the history
of this city we call home.
the end of the Ching Dynasty, Taiwan's governor-general,
Liu Min-chuan, put a great deal of effort into the planning
and development of Taichung City, designing it as the
first and only city in Taiwan with an octagonal layout.
to Professor Lai, the Testing Center was used to administer
tests for government officials during that period and
was the only testing facility in Taiwan. However, rather
than being tested together in one large room, the candidates
were each led to a little cubicle to take the exam in
isolation, while the proctor patrolled from an elevated
catwalk of sorts, peering down from above. At one time,
there were more than 100 such cubicles, but now only seven
remain in an alley off of Min Sheng Road. These are open
to the public, so all can come and imagine for themselves
the ordeal of a Ching Dynasty civil service exam.
the time of Japanese occupation (1895-1945), Taichung
became one of the first planned cities in Taiwan. According
to Professor Lai's own research, the initial development
of the city followed the model of a Japanese city. With
the streets laid out in the even grid of a chessboard,
and the Lu Chuan and Liu Chuan rivers flowing through,
Taichung gained the nickname "Little Kyoto".
Second Market is one of the few markets that still retains
some of its original buildings. Its other distinctive
feature is that each of its entrances connects diagonally
with another entrance, creating six paths that criss-cross.
Unfortunately, many of the entryways were damaged or destroyed
by fire so that, today, the original bricks can only be
found beside a few of the entrances, lonely reminders
of the storied past of this market.
City has developed rapidly in the past 20 years. New construction
and cultural influences from abroad have combined to transform
the city. Nevertheless, the history of this place remains
a fascinating study. So, whether just visiting or have
lived here a while, take the time to see some of the city's
historical sites. The more you know about Taichung, the
deeper you will learn to love it.
Many thanks to Mr. Lai Chih-chang (Professor, Applied
Arts, Fu Jen University) and Mr. Wei Chih-hung (Walking