Sunday, September 2, 2012

Shanghai Story Walk I (9/2/2012)

Thursday, August 30, 2012
First, another advertisement in the Shanghai Metro:
283 bottles:
And in Tokyo's Narita Airport, Kent found this attention-grabber:

Saturday, September 2, 2012
We received a book of walking tours through Old Shanghai called Shanghai Story Walks by Yvette Ho Madany.
We followed Walk I ("A Time to Dance, A Time to Mourn") in reverse order. This walk takes you through an area that was known as the Chinese Territory from the 1840s until WWII.
We started at the oft visited Jing'an Park, which was built on a former cemetery for foreigners. The book notes that in the back corner of the park, on the left side is a garden called Jing'an Eight Scenic Spots Park, which recreates eight scenic spots from the Three Kingdoms Period (3rd century) to the 13th century. One is the Hudu rampart built during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420 CE) to protect the local people from sea pirates. Another is the Green Cloud Cave that was the residence of Abbot Shouning in the Yuan Dynasty (1208-1225):
Across the street from Jing'an Park is Jiuguang City Plaza:
built over former lane houses.
Having been there, we also bypassed the Jing'an Temple, rebuilt in 1983.
The story here is that prior to 1949, one of the Jing'an Temple abbots had several wives and lived a rather decadent life...
Instead we photographed a couple sculptures in the lane between the temple and Jiuguang City Plaza:
Turning left on Yuyuan road, we came to the corner of Wanhangdu Road and the Bailemen/Paramount Theatre:
Built in 1933 in Art Deco-style as a meeting place for the elite of Shanghai. The place went bankrupt in 1936 and in 1937 was converted to a dance hall with "dancing hostesses." The floors of the dance halls on the 2nd and 3rd floors had springs underneath. One of the star dancers, Chen Manli, was shot three times while chatting with clients. Chen and one of the clients died in the China Red Cross Hospital. Was the shooter a jilted lover, or was there some political motive?
One day, financier Victor Sassoon arrived at the Paramount. When the hostess saw he walked with a limp, she ignored him. Sassoon was angered and left, deciding to build his own dance hall. His Ciro's Night Club soon surpassed the Paramount in popularity.
In 1949 the Paramount was converted into a movie theater. Recently it has changed back into a dance hall, without the hostesses.
Continuing west on Yuyuan Road, we arrived at Lane 395, Yong Quan Fang/Bubbling Well Lane:
Unfortunately photos were not allowed, but the guard did allow us to go down the lane for a look. Quaint well-kept old lane houses painted yellow with gourd vines climbing the walls. These houses were built in the early 1930s, each built for one family. During the Cultural Revolution, many families moved in, sometimes one family per room with sharing kitchens and bathrooms. The Chinese term for this type of living was called "seventy-two lodgers."
The lane of houses was built by the tobacco king, Chen Chuxiang. His workers handed out hand-rolled cigarettes to the Chinese men smoking water pipes, promoting a more convenient form of smoking. The Chen family lived in Nos. 14, 18, and 24. No. 14 was sold, but the Chen descendants still live in No. 18. No. 24 houses military families. No. 24 had a different look, covered with different shades of brown tiles.
The author of the book lived in No.9. The book contains another long story about a resident who lived at No. 4.
The name Bubbling Well has two sources, one was the bubbling well that was located near Jing'an Temple, which was filled in in 1966. The other source was the Chinese proverb that states one will repay a droplet of kindness with a fountain of gratitude.
Across the street from the Bubbling Well Lane, at No. 406 Yuyuan Road, was the former Shanghai Municipal Council's Girls' School. One former student was author Betty Barr who attended as a missionary's daughter. The author of the Shanghai Story Walks book also attended this school, for middle school and part of high school:
At No. 532 Yuyuan Road, we entered a lane where officials of the Kuomintang lived. Now several military families live here. Here were more gourd vines:
The lane at 611 Yuyuan Road appeared newly refurbished:
Kent tries out the public exercise equipment:
The Wenyuan Fang/lane at 608 Yuyuan Road had houses built in 1938 with small gardens:
Yuyuan Road was fashionable in the 1930s because of the Western-influenced architecture. In 1949, the Communists arrived in Shanghai from the west, coming down this road.
Hidden behind walls and a locked gate at No. 699 Yuyuan Road, is the villa of Yan Qingxiang:
Built in 1911, the villa was purchased by Yan's father in 1940. His father was an industrialist who founded a factory in 1902, that made textile machines. Yan inherited the business when he was only 19 years old, and went on to own two factories and five cotton mills. Yan was a supporter of Sun Yat-sen, and a philanthropist who repaired libraries, bridges, and fed the hungry. He visited the wounded survivors of a 1927 massacre, at the China Red Cross Hospital. He attended a world conference on labor issues in Switzerland and suggested changing the practice of 12-hour work days.
In 1949, Yan retired. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) he was locked up in a steel factory. He returned home to find his wife living in one room of the villa. In 1986 at the age of 78 years, he became a board member of the Song Qingling Foundation. Two years later he died. His descendants still live in the villa.
We followed the long wall of the villa on Zhenning Road:
Lane 275 Zhenning Road with a locked gate:
Yuguang Cun at Nos. 255, 265, 276 and 285 Zhenning Road consists of lane houses typical for upper-middle class families:
The author states that the Chinese people like to hang their laundry to dry, partly to save money and partly to allow the sun to kill germs.
Further south on Zhenning Road, there are modern high-rises typical of the development of Shanghai.
Turning left on Huashan Road, at the corner of Changle Road, there is a large villa:
Supposedly if the garden wall/fence is covered, they are shooting a movie. No movie today:
We arrived at No. 699 Huashan Road, Zhenliu Mansion, aka Celebrities Mansion:
This first-class apartment building was built in 1930 with fireplaces and had separate entrances for the masters and servants. It was designed by Elliott Hazzard. Elliott Hazzard grew up on a rice plantation in South Carolina and attended the Citadel. When he worked with the firm of Stanley White in New York City, he helped design the Lord & Taylor building. In 1920 he signed a two-year contract to work as a city planning consultant with the Chinese government. After the contract ended, he remained in China. He died in 1943 in a Japanese internment camp.
Many playwrights, producers, directors, and actors lived at Zhenliu Mansion because it was close to the Shanghai Theatre Academy. Zhenliu means "a rock beside the brook" and another name for the complex was Brookside Apartments.
One of the tenants was actress Fu Quanxiang who sang Shaoxing Opera. A fan wrote her a thousand love letters before he was allowed to meet her in her apartment in 1955. They fell in love and married.
Another actress, Zhou Xuan, who had a natural affinity for learning songs, lived here. In 1932, when she was 13 years of age, she joined a singing troupe. In 1936 she won a radio competition in Shanghai, becoming the "golden voice" of radio and movie screen. But Zhou had a tragic life; first, being adopted she never found her biological parents. She was divorced, then separated from a lover who would not acknowledge their son. She had a son by another man who was sent to jail. Zhou suffered several breakdowns and died at age 39.
A man who appeared to be a volunteer guard at Zhenliu Mansion motioned us to follow him. He unlocked the building's door and led us through to a large private garden in the back:
Stone-mosaic paths:
It appears that architecturally, this is really the front of the building:
They even had exercise equipment provided by the government!
The mailboxes:
The guard had his own camera and took a few photos!
Next, the Shanghai Theatre Academy at 630 Huashan Road. The original academy building was built in 1903 and it was remodeled in 1999.
It is named after the first president of the academy, Xiong Foxi, who was also a playwright who wrote 27 full-length dramas and 16 one-act plays.
The main theater:
The "New Space" in a 1930s era building:
Newer dorm buildings?
Another theater:
Across the street at Nos. 639-643 is The Children's Art Theatre of China Welfare Institute:
The buildings were designed by Moorhead and Hals for the British Anglican Church Cathedral Girls' School and completed in 1941.
A lamp:
Another building of the China Welfare Institute, which was founded in 1947 by Song Qingling (the widow of Sun Yat-sen):
Continuing on Huashan Road to No. 560, we entered a large garden which was the site of the former German Garden Club, where the German Woman's Club met in the 1930s. Nearby were the German Pharmacy and a German radio station in the area once known as German Corner.
A tree being injected?
The garden now belongs to the Huadong Hospital, favored by government officials:
Nice gazebo:
Passing the Huashan Hospital and its secret garden which we have visited already:
we turned right on Wulumuqi Road and took the driveway at No. 12. Behind the hospital is this red brick building:
Established in 1910, this was the China Red Cross Hospital. It is now used for meetings and hosting VIPs at the Huashan Hospital. Huashan Hospital was the earliest general teaching hospital affiliated with the Number One Shanghai Medical University.
Returning to Huashan Road, I discovered a Blue Nankeen shop at No. 388:
Hmmm, could this be the shop that wasn't at No. 399 Huashan Road?
We continued to No. 370, the Jing'an Hotel:
Built in 1925 in Spanish-style designed by Elliott Hazzard, it was originally called Elias Court Apartments after its owner, a Sephardic Jew who is unnamed in the book, a financier who lived in the 9th floor penthouse. Perhaps Elias David Sassoon.
Later the name was changed to Haig Court Apartments to reflect the name of the street, Avenue Haig, the Old Shanghai name of Huashan Road. The street was named for General Douglas Haig who commanded the British Expeditionary Forces during WWI. The Shanghai Story Walks book tells another story of a "China Hand" named John S Service who lived here.
In 1949 the building was used by the government, and it is now a high-end hotel.
Next door is the Hilton Hotel with a large silver bear outside:
We continued up Huashan Road, crossed the pedestrian overpass at Yan'an Road:
We could peek over at the Marble Mansion, built in 1924 and designed by Graham Brown:
The Marble Mansion is the former Kadoorie Mansion, built for Sir Elly Kadoorie, another Sephardic Jew who arrived in Shanghai in 1880 and worked for the Sassoon family. He later went on his own and made money in the Hong Kong Power and Light Company. Kadoorie and his two sons lived here as they built the family business. In 1938, the Jewish community gathered here to call for support for European Jewish refugees. They were involved in other philanthropic activities such as establishing a pulmonary tuberculosis hospital and Yuecai High School. Elly Kadoorie died in an internment camp during WWII. After the war, his sons returned to the mansion, but then left for Hong Kong. After 1949, the mansion became the Children's Palace under the Song Qingling Foundation.
We had come full circle to complete this walk.
Later in the day we headed to the C-trip offices in Caohejing Hi-Tech Park to purchase airline tickets. On Yishan Road, we passed this modern building which was already undergoing renovation:

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